In July 2018, the Co-op partnered with Atheon Analytics and their multi-retailer SKUtrak® service. The Co-op now shares all its daily ‘Flow-of-Goods’ data with suppliers through SKUtrak including sales value; supplier (inbound) service; and availability. It also provides daily email alerts for key performance indicators such as supplier service level and short deliveries to depot; and availability (below target). In addition, suppliers can choose to access deeper analytics at SKU level for the biggest drivers of stockholding, service levels, availability and waste.
Alex Rowell, Head of Convenience at Carlsberg UK Ltd, is responsible for Co-op and Carlsberg’s wider convenience channel. Speaking of his use of SKUtrak, he comments, “Currently I’m using SKUtrak for Co-op, and I do so on a daily basis. When you take a look back at the data we had access to before versus now, there’s no comparison. It’s completely changed the way I work, for the better. It is incredible to think that I can see in-depth daily data when previously I was struggling to get any kind of sales data.”
“I use it daily to check sales and stock holding and I can also see if there are potential issues about to arise. Additionally, if there’s any further interrogation required I’m able to use the sales performance, value sales, units and rate of sales to do so. SKUtrak has everything I need for meetings whether they’re commercial or with supply chain managers. We’re also beginning to explore the use of Forecast data through SKUtrak, which will help us even further.”
Since using SKUtrak Carlsberg has seen significant value by being able to improve availability across a number of its SKU’s. “We had an issue in September, following the hotter than expected summer where stock levels had fallen. Equipped with the data from SKUtrak I was able to drop a note to the Co-op supply chain team and subsequently they made a significant order of around 2000 hectare litres, £400,000 in terms of sales. Ultimately, if we didn’t have the data we wouldn’t have had the visibility and we may not have got those extra sales,” Rowell adds.
“Previously we’d receive manually generated reports sporadically and the data was inconsistent. Now, everyone is using aligned systems so if I’m emailing to say we’ve got availability issues we’re all singing from the same hymn sheet. I don’t know how else we’d work with the Co-op without it. What’s more, is that I now have the ability to represent the data visually. It really helps as I can easily demonstrate what is happening and I’ve got the confidence that my counterparts at the retailer are going to agree with the data being shown because we’re all aligned.” He concludes.
Transforming the Retailer-Supplier-Consumer Relationship
The UK’s grocery supply chain is under increasing scrutiny. With a focus on regulatory guidance from the GCA around improving collaborative decision-making, there is growing recognition that traditional retailer-supplier relationships need to evolve. By making the data freely available to all of its suppliers through SKUtrak, Co-op is putting the information into the hands of its suppliers to truly drive more collaborative, better decision-making.