The Co-operative has boosted product availability to 97.5% and reduced stockholding through the implementation of new software, according to press reports.
Ordering and ranging centralised
As a result of the implementation of Project SMART (Store Merchandising and Replenishment Transformation), product ranges and orders for more than 2,800 stores around the country are now centrally controlled from The Co-operative's head office in Manchester. This has streamlined the store replenishment process, helped drive sales and reduced stock holding and waste.
Seasonal variations, promotions, weather forecasts, local and national events are taken into account within SMART's forecasting calculations. This provides greater reliability in predicted and final order quantities, helping each store to ensure the right balance of stock availability, and stockholding, thereby helping to reduce waste. This reliability has led to product availability reaching 97.5%, according to the retailer.
Among the SMART system's other benefits is that it can provide much greater consistency in product ranges across stores. At the same time, however, head office and store staff can work together to ensure the the product ranges carried in individual stores are appropriately tailored to local customer needs.
Potential £1m a month in extra sales
Sean Toal, chief operating officer and acting chief executive, The Co-operative Food, said: “SMART is a world-class retail infrastructure, which could boost sales by more than £1m a month. It also enables food store teams to focus on their customers by vastly reducing the time they spend on stock management.”
Mark Hale, supply chain director and CIO for The Co-operative Food, said: “We have undertaken a massive overhaul of our store replenishment system by introducing SMART, which has resulted in a vastly improved process, better discipline and increased availability in our stores.
“Other systems exist that can automatically order stock as it runs low – but no other solution can factor in store layout, promotions, weather, events and changing customer profile to the stock management system.”