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Co-op putting supply chain collaboration tool to use

Convenience retailer 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.

Use of SKUtrak Collaborator provides key metrics around collaborative planning, forecasting and replenishment (CPFR), and is the result of Co-op looking to take a more collaborative approach to analysing trading performance with suppliers.

The tool is the first of a series of upcoming product announcements that are expected to further help improve collaboration, forecasting and replenishment between Co-op and its suppliers. It is born out of the retailer’s partnership with Atheon Analytics, which was announced earlier this year following the start of a Grocery Code Adjudicator investigation into claims the retailer’s broke the industry code of practice.

The move to change its supply chain practices came after the retailer admitted in the spring it had “fallen short” in its treatment of suppliers. The Groceries Code Adjudicator is investigating the business over claims it broke supply code rules in 2016-2017 and is looking into claims the retailer removed suppliers’ products from stores and introduced charges without reasonable notice.

With the new software implementation, daily sales, service and supply chain insight can be accessed by the retailer and its entire grocery supplier base. 

Paul Howarth, senior analyst at Co-op, remarked: "Collaborator gives us a chance to be open and transparent with our suppliers, and vice-versa.

“The result is faster and more efficient meetings, improved service levels, and ultimately increased sales for both of us."

Lee Robertshaw, head of supply chain at Co-op, added: "Collaboration with suppliers is key to our aim of 'working better together' for our customers.

“Atheon has created SKUtrak Collaborator in conjunction with us to improve the quality, frequency, and effectiveness of the regular CPFR sessions. By working from a common source of trusted data through SKUtrak, we can ensure both parties remain on the same page, allowing for alignment when reviewing performance.”

Atheon and Co-op’s multi-year collaboration started on 2 July 2018, providing grocery suppliers with a single visual reporting and analysis hub for trading performance across the UK.

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