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How Co-op's category management strategy is evolving

Co-op is looking to change its category management processes as it continues to get a firmer grip on its supply chain operations.

The group’s Co-op Food division has chosen JDA Software’s solutions to centrally manage its range across 2,500 stores. This includes upgrades to space planning, floor planning and category knowledge base tools. 

JDA and its partners Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) and Deloitte, worked alongside Co-op to bring the project to life. Following the work, Co-op Food said it can now automate planograms to meet the needs of local stores, thanks to better information flows related to shopper behaviours per store.

Michael Fletcher, retail chief commercial officer at The Co-op, remarked: “The first phase of our business transformation will set the stage for our advanced, sophisticated retail supply chain strategy that will drive increased consumer experience and choice through improved availability and better decisions.”

He added: “With a goal of always delivering what our members and customers want, and getting closer to their needs, our powerful JDA Category Management solution footprint enables us to anticipate shopper demands with agility and speed.” 

A presentation from Mike Brown, business change lead for format, range and space, is on the agenda for JDA FocusConnect 2018, the technology vendor's annual user conference and company showcase running in Barcelona between 6-8 November 2018.

Johan Reventberg, president for the EMEA region at JDA, said: “Maintaining competitive edge and anticipating shopper demands is more important than ever, and meeting those demands the first time is absolutely critical for retailers today.

"We’re pleased to enable such a critical piece of The Co-op's retail business transformation by underpinning it with our best-in-class category management solutions that will give them the right balance of right item, right store, right time, with the efficiency and agility they need in a challenging and dynamic retail sector.”

Co-op – the bigger picture

Co-op Food is seeing an ongoing digitisation of its business, and is looking to use new technology across its supply chain.

It is closing in on completing the implementation of Manhattan Associates' 2015-version warehouse management system at 12 of its depots, a whirlwind project that has been conducted at pace over the last few years and modernised what was an out-of-date part of its tech stack.

The depots serve around 4,000 stores and the upgrades needed to take place in short time windows to ensure supply to shops was not affected, as reported in Essential Retail’s interview with the retailer’s solutions specialist Barry Morgan in 2017.

Last month, it was announced that Co-op Food and its suppliers are using new software that aims to provide a shared view on supplier service level, stock availability, and lost sales.

SKUtrak Collaborator provides key metrics around collaborative planning, forecasting and replenishment. The introduction of the technology is born out of its partnership with Atheon Analytics, which was announced in 2018 following the Grocery Code Adjudicator’s investigation into claims the retailer’s broke the industry code of practice.

Earlier this week, meanwhile, The Co-op announced it has agreed terms for a new £45 million distribution depot which will support the retailer’s ambitions for continued growth across London, the south and south-east.

Expected to open in early 2022, the 661,000 sq ft depot which will be located just off the A1 at Bedfordshire’s Symmetry Park in Biggleswade should create up to 1,200 jobs.

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