The Co-op is set to extend the roll out of its new IT systems to all stores in the next few weeks, as it looks to improve customer experience and supply chain collaboration.
Described as a “transformational” IT programme, the three new systems look to improve planning and allocation of space in stores, increase availability, reduce waste and foster better communication across the supply chain.
By consolidating 30 legacy systems into three, Co-op said it would be better equipped to adapt to changing market conditions, and support the growth of the business.
After a 217 pilot trial, the latest phase of the project will see the capability rolled out to over 2,600 Co-op stores.
It’s expected to take until next summer to finish migrating categories over to the new platform, which by then will include over 19,200 products and more than 1,100 suppliers.
The programme saw Co-op introduce JDA supply chain software and ranging tools back in 2018, with the aim of building a more precise picture of local customer behaviour so it can tailor its store layouts and better anticipate demand.
This was followed by the introduction of SAP technology to improve ranging, stock holding, availability, and more accurate forecasting information and, concluded with the introduction of a new cloud-based supplier collaboration portal, Co-op Connect.
“The first phases of our work provided the foundation for an advanced retail supply chain strategy designed to drive increased consumer experience and choice through improved availability and faster, better, retail decision making. We see our relationship with suppliers as a partnership approach, and this investment enables Co-op to deepen those relationships,” Co-op retail business transformation programme director Andy Phelps said.
“We have worked closely with our supplier network to gather feedback and test the system, and their input has been invaluable in developing the technology we are now in a position to deploy. The improved data, transparency and collaboration facilitates the anticipation of shopper needs, providing a robust mechanism with which to respond with agility, accuracy and speed – enabling Co-op to provide what our customers want conveniently, when and where they need it,” Phelps added.