CHG-MERIDIAN supports PENNY with growth plans in Italy

Customized IT financing and services – flexible, scalable, sustainable

CHG-MERIDIAN supports PENNY in managing its wide range of assets with a comprehensive package of services and products that comprise leasing and Enterprise Mobility Solutions, all on a guaranteed carbon-neutral basis.


PENNY, a REWE Group company, has been active in the large-scale distribution sector in Italy for close to 30 years. Currently, the discount supermarket chain operates more than 400 branches in the country, coordinated from its Italian headquarters in Cernusco sul Naviglio. This location is also the hub from which all of PENNY’s IT assets in Italy are managed. The 10,000 or so devices range from servers and laptops to smartphones and store tills – a very complex equipment fleet to manage. CHG-MERIDIAN supports PENNY with a comprehensive package of services and products that comprise leasing and Enterprise Mobility Solutions, all on a guaranteed carbon-neutral basis. 

To optimize operations, the responsible managers at PENNY Italy opted for the virtualization of servers and clients right from the start. But beyond the regular IT infrastructure management and maintenance, technology upgrades are a major challenge too, not least in financial terms. “Even changing just one type of device can have huge budget implications,” says Marco Ruffinoni, CIO of PENNY Italy. “For example, replacing a server worth €2,000 in all of our stores would add up to a total investment of more than €800,000.”  

The operating lease model – an ideal choice for IT requirements

CHG-MERIDIAN’s operating lease model helps PENNY to satisfy all of its procurement and upgrade needs. At the same time, the company is not exposed to the risk of assets losing value and does not need to tie up significant capital in long-term IT investments. Unlike conventional finance leases, operating leases are geared to short-term use of lease assets. “This makes the model well suited to the typically short usage cycles of IT assets and allows us to manage our infrastructure flexibly,” explains Marco Ruffinoni. “We can extend the lease if we feel that a technology upgrade is not yet required, or bring the upgrade forward if necessary.” Custom requirements can be implemented in a tailored manner, and suppliers and service providers can be integrated as needed. Prices and contracts can be negotiated individually, making the operating lease model a very transparent financing model.  

Full service: sophisticated technology management at lower costs

The flexibility and economic transparency offered by CHG-MERIDIAN’s solution gave PENNY confidence that it had found the right partner and laid the foundations for long-term collaboration. PENNY’s management team recognized that using CHG-MERIDIAN’s services could potentially unlock huge cost savings, for example in procurement and in the management of IT equipment and mobile devices. “Simply delivering equipment to its 400 branches and collecting equipment from them always constituted a mammoth task for the company,” explains Marco Napoletano, the CHG-MERIDIAN account manager responsible for this customer relationship in Italy. “That’s why we added Enterprise Mobility Solutions to the leasing package, which have realized cost savings of up to 25 percent for the customer.” CHG-MERIDIAN’s Enterprise Mobility Solutions comprise the procurement and insurance of all devices, including smartphones, laptops, and tablets, as well as their delivery to customer premises or home addresses, the collection of devices at the end of their usage period, and secure data erasure by means of the eraSURE process. 

Recently, CHG-MERIDIAN procured a total of 1,200 new mobile devices, which were configured and delivered to employees working from home and to supermarket branches across Italy. In order to cover all services, CHG-MERIDIAN tailored the Enterprise Mobility Solution for mobile device management to a set of customer-specific requirements profiles. A multi-tiered service desk is the central point of contact for all support matters and ensures that damaged or defective assets are replaced swiftly. 

The technology and service management system tesma helps the customer to keep an overview of their devices at all times. The software tool automatically collates all commercial and technical data and makes it easy to manage equipment across all phases of the device lifecycle, from planning and rollout to the return of devices and data erasure. At the same time, it supports intelligent financial control for sound decision-making and simplifies reporting processes. “For instance, tesma facilitates cost center accounting, which ensures maximum contractual transparency at cost-center and single-asset level,” explains Marco Ruffinoni.  

Marco Ruffinoni, CIO of Penny Italy
"CHG-MERIDIAN is the right choice for us because it can guarantee a degree of flexibility that none of the other competitors were able to offer. Our choice of partner was therefore based not solely on financial viability – although this was a relevant factor – but also on commercial transparency."
Marco Ruffinoni, CIO bei PENNY Italia

Sustainable in every respect

Over the course of the partnership, sustainability has become increasingly relevant to the supermarket chain. Consumers are paying ever closer attention to what stance companies are taking with regard to sustainable business practices. Against this backdrop, Marco Ruffinoni firmly believes that sustainability is becoming a unique selling proposition in the market: “We are very proud that PENNY conducts all phases of its operating leases on a net-zero emissions basis thanks to carbonZER0.” Under CHG-MERIDIAN’s green financing solution, the carbon emissions generated during the production, transportation, use phase, and end-of-life phase of leased IT assets are offset through contributions to certified climate change mitigation projects. As proof of the carbon emissions saved, PENNY receives a certificate that can be viewed digitally in tesma along with information on which assets are carbon-neutral. This helps to improve the environmental profile of the balance sheet, for which tax breaks are available in Italy.  

The two companies also have sustainable growth plans for their business partnership, which has flourished steadily over the past seven years. “Over time, we have handed over management responsibility for more and more types of device to CHG-MERIDIAN and we intend to further deepen our collaboration in the foreseeable future,” says Marco Ruffinoni, delighted. “Most recently, we included laptops in the service package and we have several projects in the pipeline for this year that will focus on IT infrastructure.” 

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