Maplewave Inventory Management - Telkom

Telkom South Africa store front


In 2010, Telkom evolved from being a single fixed-line operator to being a mobile telecom company when they were awarded the fourth mobile operator license in the South African market. As a legacy single fixed-line operator, Telkom initiated a retail transformation project to improve customer experience and drive retail store profitability. Their previous retail experience suffered from long transaction times, poor stock availability, and low customer satisfaction.


Telkom is a wireline and wireless telecommunications provider in South Africa, operating in more than 38 countries across the African continent. Telkom is a semi-privatized, 39% state-owned company.

Pain Points

The rapid deployment of mobile services left Telkom burdened with two billing and customer management solutions, and a generic Point Of Sale (POS) solution. The retail footprint included 80 owned and operated stores, and over 40 dealer stores.

This legacy infrastructure caused many problems:

  • There was no visibility to serialized inventory.
  • There was no integration to the billing and customer management solutions.
  • The retail stores’ POS did not provide any integration to the customer management and billing solutions, which resulted in long transaction times.
  • Serial numbers could not be tracked, which aggravated a poor inventory situation, particularly regarding stock rotation and losses.
  • The lack of integration to the customer management and billing solutions resulted in inconsistent updates of the install base, meaning vital marketing and customer management information could not be accessed.
  • Stores were over stocked on the wrong items – and out of stock on the right items.


Navigating the multiple, complex billing architecture was the main challenge. Maplewave overcame this with a lean and agile methodology of deployment and testing, and the launch was a great success.

The Solution

Maplewave was contracted to deploy many parts of their platform to solve the pressing challenges.

Maplewave’s Inventory Management solution complimented our POS solution to provide stronger inventory management through improved visibility and the enforced recording of serial numbers with the retail ecosystem.

The Inventory Management solution also provided integration to the distribution warehouse environment, which shortened the time to create replenishment purchase orders for the retail stores. This ensured the right stock was always in the right store, at the right time.


  • Released working capital in excess of $5M back to the balance sheet in year 1.
  • Aged inventory fell from 270 days to <60 days within 6 months.
  • Improved stock availability – 90% of the inventory in 90% of the stores, 100% of the time.
  • Increased accessory attach rates.
  • Improved NPS scores across the entire estate.
  • More accurate replenishment - based on sell-out and not store management ‘guess work’.
  • Improved visibility of what is in the store and in-transit to the store has assisted the stores in managing customer expectations.
  • Improved data mining has provided insight into top stock items sold in each store or region, the busiest day per store or region, and top salesperson by store or region.

Long-Term Impact

The implementation of Maplewave’s Inventory Management and POS solutions also had long-term positive impacts on Telkom’s mobile line of business and was key to driving Telkom’s success in this area.

In a 2018 article, Sipho Maseko, Telkom Group CEO, was quoted as saying “Our mobile business is now a key driver of growth in the group".

Reported impacts included:

  • 47.2% growth in mobile service revenue.
  • 30% growth in subscribers (almost 4 million more than the previous year).
  • Overall consumer revenue growth of 5.9%, driven by mobile service revenue.


This inventory management-driven retail transformation focused Telkom’s IT solutions, business processes, and entire distribution chain to drive fast and successful results that delivered true ROI.

Many retailers continue to struggle with unintegrated legacy systems, which causes the customer experience to suffer, and stock movement to be costly and inefficient. The core systems that power a store need to be fast, intuitive, and easy to use. No matter how complex the environment is, Maplewave makes transformations possible.

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