Sainsbury’s Taps Wesupply for Supply Chain Visibility
April 21, 2009 Alex Woodie
Sainsbury’s, one of England’s biggest grocery store chains, hopes to gain better visibility into its inventory and supply chain operations as the result of a new solution from Wesupply. The solution, which is being implemented at Sainsbury’s by IBM, will allow Sainsbury’s to monitor the status of orders across its entire network, and drive more efficiency into its supplier network.
Sainsbury’s is currently the U.K.’s third largest chain of grocery stores, and operates more than 785 “hypermarkets,” supermarkets, and convenience stores. The company has survived a series of takeover bids, and today enjoys revenue on the order of £20 million per year (or about $29 billion at current exchange rates).
Like all big retail operations, Sainsbury’s relies on a network of suppliers to deliver goods. In Sainsbury’s case, the company users about 4,000 suppliers to replenish its stores, the biggest of which can carry up to 30,000 different products. Keeping track of all these products is a tough job, and profit margins are dependent upon making sure there isn’t too much or too little product at each store.
That’s where Wesupply comes in. The company sells a supply chain optimization solution that it says can keep track of orders and inventory levels in an operation the size of Sainsbury’s. The software runs on IBM System i hardware, and is delivered as a software as a service (SaaS) product.
As part of the deal, IBM Global Services will implement the Wesupply solution at Sainsbury’s, manage its operation, and handle the enrollment of Sainsbury’s suppliers into the new system. Sainsbury’s picked Wesupply and IBM after a review of alternative supply chains solutions, says Tim Goalen, director of supply chain operations for Sainsbury’s.
“To support our continued growth, we were looking to enhance our collaboration with suppliers without a significant increase in cost, while continuing to introduce greater intelligence into our supply chain,” Goalen stated in a press release.
The new supply chain optimization solution will use Inovis‘ value added network (VAN), Inovisworks. The fact that Inovisworks was already heavily used by Sainsbury’s suppliers will work in Sainsbury’s favor, says John Redfern, managing director of Inovis in Europe.
“With the deployment of Inovisworks, Sainsbury’s is able to offer a full range of communication methods to its suppliers without impacting the current trading community due to the system’s flexibility and the sheer number of suppliers who were already using Inovisworks. In the end, it is this smooth collaboration which will enhance the experience that Sainsbury’s customers receive from the retailer,” Redfern said in a press release.
Wesupply, which was founded in 1999, is headquartered in Maidenhead, U.K., and has offices in France and the US.