Sainsbury’s has further extended its lead in supplier collaboration by investing in a new solution, which generates an “electronic tap on the shoulder” to alert both Sainsbury’s and its suppliers when a potential problem arises, along with a management process to help resolve the issue. Jointly specified by Sainsbury’s and a group of key suppliers and developed by Eqos and Accenture the new Alerts and Resolution Management solution enhances Sainsbury’s existing B2B system “Delivering Through Innovation” and is intended ultimately for all 2000 plus suppliers. This move underlines the importance Sainsbury’s places on managing supplier relationships in improving profits and gaining competitive edge.
“Working closely with suppliers is a business imperative,” says Diane Carter, Supply Chain Operations Director, Sainsbury Supermarkets Ltd. “We believe this new investment will help us work with them more effectively, irrespective of their size, and enable us to be more responsive to customer demand through jointly identifying problems earlier and being able to proactively manage issues through to resolution.”
According to Neville Roberts, partner, Accenture retail industry practice, “The breakdown in processes between retailers and suppliers may lead to up to 20% of products being unavailable at point-of-sale, while more than $1 trillion is held worldwide in surplus stock.” he says. “Sainsbury’s is one of the few companies that has not only recognised this situation but is among the first retailers worldwide to include supplier collaboration as part of an overall business strategy.
“Since January 1998 Sainsbury’s has been working with Eqos on Collaborative Planning and Event Management solutions for the fast-moving and critical areas of new product introduction and promotions. The new investment extends the use of Eqos’ technology to take Sainsbury’s supplier collaboration to the next level.”
Based on Eqos’ modular Workbenches, the new integrated solutions manage the progress and performance of all products, not just the more problematic categories such as new products and promotions, giving Sainsbury’s a more intelligent, proactive system that not only flags up problems but focuses all parties on resolving them.
Product performance data is integrated with exception reports and alerts flagging up anomalies, which depending on the need and scale, are managed either as a collaborative or an informational alert. A collaborative alert jointly prompts Sainsbury’s and its suppliers with issues which are then introduced into a resolution management cycle. This enables users to agree on how the problem will be resolved and by what deadline. An informational alert contacts an individual either in Sainsbury’s or a supplier who wants to be informed when a particular threshold is reached or breached. Combined, these enable both companies to get to a problem more quickly and to resolve it in a more structured and proactive way. Suppliers are also able to download information on a range of performance metrics including their sales, stock levels and range and a further benefit is that these solutions extend and enhance Sainsbury’s investment in existing ERP systems.
"Sainsbury’s has been extremely proactive attacking old ways of working and this implementation will further advance our trading relationship with advantages for both parties" says Chris Tyas, Supply Chain Director for Nestle. "We have achieved a lot through collaborative working in recent years, with significant benefits to both parties. In particular, we have seen improved availability, better sales and better stock management leading to fresher product for the consumer and less stock write downs".
“As the collaborative supply chain becomes the new battleground for competitive advantage, Sainsbury’s has a distinct lead,” confirms Mike Quinn, chief executive officer, Eqos “We are pleased to be able to help the company keep innovating by providing the tools and the solutions that allow the continuous goal of improving customer service, profitability and supplier relationships.”
The Sainsbury’s deal is a result of a significant relationship between Accenture and Eqos, formed to target businesses throughout Europe, the Middle East and Africa. The co-marketing and deployment of solutions will use Eqos’ proven technology, based on Microsoft’s .NET framework as the delivery platform.
Notes to Editors:
Eqos delivers flexible, proven solutions for Supplier Relationship Management over the Internet. Eqos helps its customers achieve rapid return on investment from modular, integrated solutions built with change in mind, to significantly advance supply chain effectiveness. Founded in 1997, Eqos is headquartered in the UK with offices in the US. Eqos' Collaborator technology platform is recommended worldwide as a Microsoft preferred platform for collaborative working. More information can be found at http://www.eqos.com
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