Senior directors at Tesco and Unilever are set to co-chair a new advisory group comprising retailers and suppliers operating in the UK grocery sector, as the industry looks to find ways of working more closely together to foster wider supply chain efficiencies.

George Wright, commercial director for strategy & operations at Tesco, and Richard Sadler, customer director at Unilever UK & Ireland, will share chairmanship of The Retail Grocery Advisory Board, which will be facilitated by supply chain standards group GS1 UK.

The key objective of the board is to provide industry-wide solutions that will help contribute to a better customer experience while delivering efficiencies throughout the supply chain. Other organisations on the board are listed as: Asda, Boots, Coca Cola Enterprises, Co-op Group, Dairy Crest, Kellogg's, Mondelēz International, Morrisons, Müller UK & Ireland, Nestlé, Ocado, PepsiCo, P&G, Sainsbury's and Waitrose.

According to the most recent Kantar data, together these companies make up nearly 80% of the entire UK retail grocery market.

Board members will look to identify where they can work collaboratively to address some of the challenges and pain points that the retail grocery sector faces today, including how to deal with the infrastructure challenges caused by the growth in online and mobile shopping.

Tesco's Wright said: "I'm pleased to be part of the new Retail Grocery Advisory Board and I look forward to working with other retailers and brands to better understand and deal with the industry-wide issues we're all facing today.

"Retail today is hugely complex and competitive, but our aim is to work together to find solutions that will bring greater efficiencies to the industry and also inspire the rest of the industry to collaborate further."

Unilever's Sadler added that the board will aim to tackle "some of UK's most challenging data quality standards issues and lead the industry in developing solutions that support the increasing demands of customers".

"We'll focus on identifying the key areas that retailers and brands can work together on – such as how to accelerate change, increase sustainability, reduce waste and achieve mutual productivity," he explained.

The two projects the board will focus on straight away are the GS1-UK-led initiatives Digital DNA and Perfect Order which, respectively, aim to address the industry-wide issue of data quality and improve the process of inbound logistics.

Perfect Order was launched almost one year to the day, and today's creation of the advisory board is the first significant step following that announcement, which came with the objective of saving the consumer goods industry several million pounds in operating costs. Essential Retail understands that a further update on the progress of the scheme is due at the end of the summer.

Members of the board include Karen Whitworth, business unit director for non-food grocery at Sainsbury's, Ross Eggleton, logistics & supply chain director at Morrisons, and Mark Watson, director of planning & supply chain at Ocado.

Gary Lynch, CEO at GS1 UK, commented: "We're proud to bring together so many retailers and brands from the retail grocery sector.

"This shows that industry collaboration in the right areas is more important than ever before."

Click below for more information: