Leading retailer’s strategic overhaul of eco-fee processes | HCLTech

Leading retailer’s strategic overhaul of eco-fee processes

Streamlining eco-fee management for a leading Canadian retail company
3 min read
3 min read

Our client is a leading retail company that has been at the helm of providing an extensive range of products and services for over 90 years in Canada. Since its inception, they have expanded into a family of companies that encompasses various sectors, including retail, sports and financial services committed to quality and sustainability.

To comply with provincial laws, finance recovery and recycling programs for regulated products at the end of their life cycle, our client participated in the Eco-fee program. The fee is remitted to non-profit organizations that manage the recovery and recycling efforts.

They were previously utilizing a vendor to manage their eco-fees by hosting the solution on their cloud. The vendor was acquired by another company that decided to discontinue hosting the Eco-Fee program. Consequently, our client wanted to develop an innovative eco-fee management solution that would provide efficiency, simplify the eco-fee collection, processing and reporting processes and increase transparency.

The Challenge

Technology limitations and financial risks

As the contract with the existing eco-fee management vendor was nearing expiration and a stringent 12-month deadline looming, several hurdles emerged.

Our client faced the challenge of identifying the “right” design too early in the cone of uncertainty, which was pressured by project deadlines and attempting to force certainty by freezing requirements and design.

There were no provisions to access the business logic or obtain a proper database backup from the previous vendor. There were no detailed business requirements to ensure a seamless transition and the potential financial impacts due to the inability to calculate eco-fees for new SKUs posed substantial concerns.

To handle these challenges and safeguard the uninterrupted generation of eco-fees, the necessity of innovative approaches was clear. Additionally, this eco-fee management program was part of a larger initiative by the Canadian government aiming to reduce the carbon footprint. Eco-fees were charged on various regulated products such as tires, oils, plastics and electronic waste, which needed to be properly recycled according to Canadian regulations.


The Objective

Enhanced eco-fee management powered by cloud capabilities

The client aimed to embrace technological advancements for the efficient management of eco-fees, with goals revolving around accuracy, compliance and future scalability:

  1. Develop a cloud-hosted solution aligned with the nuances of existing rules and scenarios, ensuring the accurate calculation of eco-fees
  2. Cover comprehensive aspects of eco-fee management, including daily and monthly feed processing, Material Type Unit (MUT) classification and real-time program-level fee changes
  3. Implement a solution ensuring data integrity and flexibility through cloud storage and Slowly Changing Dimensions (SCD) models

The overarching goal was to enhance eco-fee management while sustaining environmental obligations and accountability toward customers and the broader community.

Leading retailer’s strategic overhaul of eco-fee processes

The Solution

Thoughtful implementation of cloud for intelligent operations

To lead our client towards a successful transformation journey, HCLTech charted a collaborative course, engaging with their business analysts, architects and other key stakeholders.

HCLTech had been involved in an ongoing journey with the client that dated back to 2013.

The search for a solution and initial discussions between the client and HCLTech began in April 2022. The approach was characterized by a deep dive into the existing systems, detailed analysis and innovative solutions:

  • Initial assessment: Collaborations with stakeholders provided a clear understanding of the current system and indispensable insights into necessary system modifications
  • Data quality verification: Analyzing historical data led to the identification of data quality issues, which were promptly communicated to the client for resolution
  • Development of Azure Data Factory pipelines: These pipelines facilitated accurate data loading into cloud storage, ensuring a robust foundation for eco-fee calculation and reporting
  • Comprehensive scenario coverage: Discovery and incorporation of new business scenarios ensured the comprehensive calculation of PFRs, mitigating any potential omissions post-launch
  • Extensive testing: Rigorous regression testing and a parallel pilot ensured fee accuracy and customer impact was meticulously assessed, ensuring an equitable charge scenario
  • Automation and self-reliance: Automation of the program and MUT file processes empowered the business teams to manage data modifications independently

Scope of work

The solution encompassed a wide range of activities, from developing Power BI reports for enhanced business insights to establishing a seamless data flow for product, vendor, steward and shipment files into . Noteworthy tasks included:

  • Managing eco-fees for all CTR products in one single place
  • Providing efficient functionality and management of the CTR Eco-Fee Program
  • Ensuring secure and transparent (single sign-on) user authentication
  • Enabling efficient and secure transfer of eco-fee files (program, vendor, steward, shipment, MUT and PFR files) while ensuring the transfer cadence
  • Providing migration of legacy eco-fee data to secure data storage
  • Implementing efficient and high-performing programming logic for processing eco-fee files
  • PFR generation for current and future requirements
  • Steward Obligation Process development
  • Ensuring secure and large data storage for storing and managing eco-fee files
  • Comprehensive QA and DevOps initiatives

The Impact

Speedy implementation driving accurate and automated results

Through their partnership with HCLTech, our client accessed a transformative solution that not only met, but exceeded their initial objectives, yielding compelling results:

  1. Rapid deployment: The agility of HCLTech's method enabled the entire solution to be developed and launched within an impressive timeframe of 7 months, well before the 12-month deadline
  2. Accuracy in eco-fee calculation: The solution ensures precision in eco-fee assessment, averting the risk of overcharging or undercharging customers
  3. Empowerment through automation: The automation of critical processes granted the client unprecedented control over their eco-fee management system, fostering efficiency and adaptability
  4. Future-readiness: With a robust, cloud-based system in place, the client is well-positioned to adapt to future regulatory changes and expanding product lines

The eco-fee management solution set an industry benchmark for sustainable business practices across sectors.

HCLTech, in partnership with our client, continues to support the project, actively monitoring data loads and incorporating any regulatory changes into December 2024. The client has not only adapted to a new era of eco-fee management, but also established a benchmark for sustainable business practices across industries.