Asda is driving its availability with a more holistic mind-set, Chris West, the retailer’s VP commercial operations, told delegates at Wednesday’s IGD Supply Chain Summit.
West said that harnessing people and technology through collaboration can minimise complexity, while at the same time driving availability in an environment with an “immense amount of market uncertainty,” and huge competition.
He added that Asda wants to be more collaborative and reliable, not just internally, but with its suppliers. First the retailer looks at the stability of supply, if it isn’t there, it will work together with the supplier to ensure the basics are correct. The second stage is to look at how to optimise that relationship, questioning whether the relationship is getting the best value. The final stage, which only a few suppliers have gone through this stage, is the value added part – which looks at where the efficiencies and bad points are, and to then decide how to change the business plan to improve it.
“We need to be sharp about what to do in future,” he said. “ We need to always be moving forward, or we will be left behind.”
West also said that the company wants to create a new culture, pick high impact technology, take training further, produce more fact-based data and adopt a shop-centric mind-set to influence stakeholders in the retail environment.
The commercial operations expert said that, since January, even where staff physically sit in the office has a strategy. In the centre sits the trader, and around them subject matter experts.
ECR mentoring scheme expands
Sara Young from high-end supermarket chain Waitrose spoke about the ECR mentoring programme which is expanding next year.
The programme sees senior professionals and ‘rising stars’ that are retailers, manufacturers, wholesalers and foodservice companies work with each other – enabling those taking part in the scheme to understand different sectors and companies.
Young said that one benefit of the scheme is that it takes place outside of the organisation, so mentors and mentees are not judged, and are able to discuss the challenges they face openly