Waitrose’s ordering system to underpin massive expansion

By Rod Addy

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Supply chain Supply chain management

Waitrose’s ordering system to underpin massive expansion
Waitrose is working with supply chain systems firm Aldata Solutions to roll out an ordering system across all its food categories.

Aldata Gold has already been implemented in its frozen food category and is part of a wider supply chain systems programme designed to undergird planned UK expansion.

"Waitrose has come out with statements regarding doubling the size of the business over the next three years,"​ said Aldata md Mark Croxton. "It has come up with areas of the supply chain that need to be upgraded and has identified areas [to develop] ahead of capacity coming through.

"The view was the [previous] structure could not scale up to handle the increase in size of the business. It was a question of scalability."

Waitrose is building closer relationships with suppliers on promotions and general ordering and has established a forecasting system that guarantees high availability by pinpointing the optimum ordering time.

Liz Gemmill, head of supply chain operations at Waitrose said the initiative had halved the time taken to review orders. "Results so far have been very encouraging, with most orders being left unchanged and we are achieving an excellent balance between high availability and low inventory levels."

Aldata began the inventory management project early last year. "We went live in late 2010 and there were a few pilots around that date,"​ said Croxton. "We have now rolled this out to all frozen products, taking on 75 suppliers that are receiving orders from Waitrose through the system.

"We're hoping to have the first pilot for the ambient category in June. We'll then look at rolling this out to 2,000 suppliers between June and November, with the aim of having all ambient suppliers on board by Christmas."

The final category to be integrated into the system would be fresh, said Croxton. Aldata hopes to have all Waitrose grocery suppliers using the system by early 2012.

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