Morrisons: We'll need better compliance from suppliers

By Elaine Watson

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Supply chain Logistics Supply chain management

Morrisons: We'll need better compliance from suppliers
Morrisons has reduced its cost per case by 13% since 2006 and slashed its pick error rate by 66% over the past year as part of a project to propel its ageing supply chain into the 21st century.

But it has also called on suppliers to work with it on boosting compliance as it moves to the next stage of a project it claims is the “biggest single piece of IT transformation to hit our industry in the last 10 years”.

Speaking at the IGD supply chain summit in London last week, Morrisons’ logistics director Neal Austin said Morrisons would have “better forecasts, more information, and more visibility” ​in its supply chain in future.

But it would also need the support of suppliers on its journey: “We will have more conversations and questions in future about compliance.

“In the past, we haven’t been as rigorous on this as some of our competitors, but that’s going to change.”

Legacy systems

Morrisons had always had good availability and a responsive supply chain given its high level of vertical integration, said Austin.

However, its logistics operation had been inefficient owing to a reliance on paper-based systems, a lack of capacity in the south, legacy systems and added complexities owing to the integration of Safeway.

But these issues were all being addressed through a series of radical measures that would help Morrisons regain the initiative.

The first was building new capacity in the south: a new distribution centre in Sittingbourne, Kent, which has been up and running for a year; and a new depot in Bridgwater, Somerset, that will become operational late next year.

Systems overhaul

The second was a £300m programme – dubbed ‘Evolve' - to revamp its IT infrastructure and supply chain systems.

As part of the project Morrisons has already introduced a new electronic point of sale (EPoS) system in 100 stores, and is introducing new software covering merchandising and in-store applications, financial, HR/payroll and manufacturing.

But it is also replacing all of its planning, forecasting and warehouse management systems, added Austin. “We’re going from four different warehouse management systems to one.

“We’ve also converted all of our ambient and frozen picking operations from a paper-based system to a voice picking system in 11 months, which has led to a 66% reduction in error rates and had a big impact on availability. The next step is to roll this out to fresh.”

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Posted by man,

I worked there for a little while, Sittingbourne RDC is rubbish. It is known in the town as the sweat shop. I would never work there again.

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working in sittingbourne rdc

Posted by yhyh,

I work in the Sittingbourne RDC with voice picking. The system is fairly good but I think that the 15 (too many) team leaders use it as a bullying tool. Worst job and company I have ever worked for. Ambient nights are bad. Too many team leaders with nothing to do and very poor layout of warehouse plus high pick rate. Morrisons has a lot to learn.

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