GK advances digital strategy to achieve more growth

Following its historic 2020 financial performance, the GraceKennedy Financial Group (GKFG) is moving to increase its digital strategy across all business segments starting this year.

Group Chief Executive Officer Don Wehby, during an investor briefing on Monday said that the digital transformation model to be adopted by GK will help to significantly improve efficiencies across the group. He said that through the company’s engagement of top global digital transformation consultants, McKinsey and Company, the group was advancing plans to unleash a raft of digital efficiencies.

“We’re going to focus on the financial services division first in terms of our priority for 2021. Key Insurance is gearing up likewise GK General Insurance (GKGI) and the bank [First Global)] which is also to roll out a number of products in conjunction with our Western Union business.

“We’re going through the exercise line by line with McKinsey to see how we can extract value and improve the business processes having digitised platforms,” Wehby stated.

Indicating that digital remittances were already up by some 400 per cent since the pandemic along with a 500 per cent increase in digital sales in the US, Wehby said that digital services were already making significant contributions to the group’s top line growth.

In what was a record-breaking year for the 99 year old food and financial services conglomerate, revenues grew to $115 billion, up 12 per cent or $12.3 billion in 2020 over the prior year. Net profits also increased by 34.5 per cent amounting to $1.8 billion for the year. With more than half of this growth attributed to sharp increases in the food division locally and internationally, Wehby further spoke to some additional plans to advance growth in this area.

“We’re now in the final stages of putting HiLo, our supermarkets in Jamaica, on an e-commerce platform and we expect to roll that out before our AGM in May of this year.

“We have a number of exciting projects at GK in terms of digital transformation and we have a number of products in the sandbox at the Bank of Jamaica (BOJ) which hopefully will be rolled out shortly,” he said, noting also that a process to establish digital factories through a number of solutions including stored value cards were currently being worked on.

The company, which has within the last five years already invested some US$23.8 million in the area of technology and infrastructure, said that greater development in this area remains atop its key focus for this year. With about 60 per cent of its staff now working remotely, the company has also invested heavily in providing the necassary infrastructure needed to support the process.