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Waitrose invests in behind-the-scenes technology

UK supermarket Waitrose has re-engineered its existing client application software suite that is deployed to the devices it uses for storeroom and inventory management.

Working alongside IT consultancy BJSS, the grocer has upgraded the tools it uses for a range of activities, including inventory, shelf and waste management, price reductions of perishable goods and product transfers.

Looking to boost efficiency as part of the continued expansion of Waitrose's overall supply chain operations and store network, BJSS has introduced a continuous integration environment and automated test framework. 

Charles Webb, Waitrose head of IT delivery, remarked: "I am very impressed with BJSS's approach and the speed which the team demonstrated results.

"BJSS worked with us to introduce a more efficient delivery process enabling us to confidently deploy changes across all our stores in a fraction of the time and with greatly improved quality."

BJSS counts Asda, Kingfisher Group, Marks & Spencer and Tesco among its retail client base.

In a full-year results announcement, released last month, Waitrose said the improvement of its IT capability and strengthening of it supply chain has been a key focus over the last 12 months.

Behind-the-scenes investment included construction starting on a new National Distribution Centre in Milton Keynes, which is due to open in summer 2015, and will handle 25,000 longer-life ambient products.

During the year Waitrose opened 13 new core branches, including eight that were acquired from the Co-operative Group, and a further 20 convenience shops. The launch costs associated with this opening programme – and the IT infrastructure investment – were said to have impacted bottom-line results, with operating profit dropping 23.4% to £237.4 million.

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