Marks & Spencer (M&S) has gone into partnership with the pan-European technology company Zetes in an effort to transform its fresh food supply chain.
M&S hopes that Zetes’ supply chain visibility platform, Zetes Olympus, will help the retail giant achieve greater collaboration with its food suppliers. The platform should allow performance insights to be accessed in real time across the supply chain, with alerts on any potential disruptions to availability. M&S will then be able to take preventative action or initiate backup plans in order to meet its commitments.
The platform will connect M&S to all of its logistics providers as well as suppliers, enhancing supply chain visibility and facilitating further improvements.
The partnership comes as Marks & Spencer prepares to open several new food-only stores around the UK. M&S’s food business has out-performed its struggling clothing lines in recent years, though strong competition and changes in customer behaviour have slowed expansion in this department too.
The company had previously announced its intention to open 200 new Simply Food stores by 2019, but the schedule has since been slowed down. In 2016 the closure of 30 UK stores was announced, with a further 45 either being downsized or converted into food-only outlets.
Last year, the chain set out a five-year turnaround plan to improve its ailing fortunes by slashing £340m from its annual running costs – a cost reduction of around 10%. A previous multi-billion pound investment in the company’s supply chain still left M&S admitting that it urgently needed to modernise its procurement process to make it faster and more cost-effective, particularly in terms of warehousing and IT.
Syd Reid, Marks & Spencer’s Supply Chain Director, said that it was crucial for the company to have complete supply chain visibility, so that they could be immediately alerted of any unexpected events and ensure that customers could get their favourite M&S food products, “no matter what”.
Steve has over 28 years of success as CPO, MD and Procurement BPO leader in a range of industries. Steve is COO at Odesma, responsible for Odesma’s delivery capability & infrastructure.