In a document outlining its financial results for the year to 1 April 2023, Marks and Spencer (M&S) Group has identified the modernisation of its supply chain as a key part of its strategy to deliver long-term growth.
One aspect of this strategy included the acquisition of logistics company Gist in July last year.
The group’s total capital expenditure on its supply chain amounted to £36.8 million for the year ending 1 April 2023, an increase of £8.2 million (28.6%) compared with the previous year.
M&S is investing in technology to ‘increase retail efficiency and reduce energy costs’. It describes the process as a ‘multi-year programme’, part of which involves investment in automation at its warehouse in Bradford.
For its Clothing & Home business, it intends to make systems upgrades to ‘create greater visibility, improve replenishment, and reduce excess stock commitment and storage’. It also plans to invest in automation and new warehouse capacity to support its omni-channel services and ‘improve availability and speed up delivery and returns’.
Furthermore, M&S will reassess its procurement processes through consolidation, reducing the number of suppliers it uses for fabric and clothing.
With regards to its Food business, priorities include modernising its transport network and implementing a new forecasting, ordering, and allocation system with a vision towards reducing wastage.
With the financial year having come to an end, retailers and logistics companies alike are finalising their strategies to maintain and improve supply chains for the year ahead. For example, Wincanton’s year-end results highlight some of the challenges that supply chains have faced and may well continue to face in the coming 12 months.
Inflation and supply issues, largely impacted by global crises like Russia’s war on Ukraine and the long-term effects of the pandemic, are unlikely to go away any time soon so it is important that firms plan ahead to keep supply chains operating efficiently.