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Woolworths revamps supply chain

Woolworths is planning its largest investment in supply chain management systems to date as it looks to improve stock levels and...

Woolworths is planning its largest investment in supply chain management systems to date as it looks to improve stock levels and optimise network efficiency, the high-street retailer has revealed.

The company, which has 800 stores across the UK, said that over the next few months it would roll out supply chain optimisation software from supplier Manugistics to support its integrated planning and replenishment (IPR) initiative.

Woolworths hoped the Manugistics software, which was trialled in December, will allow it to create more accurate sales forecasts down to the store and stock keeping unit level, improving the way supply meets demand, leading to lower inventory costs.

The software will help the retailer to set optimal inventory levels and decide appropriate product mix and storage capacity across its fulfilment network, said David McInnes, supply chain director at Woolworths.

This will allow the company to evaluate appropriate seasonal pre-builds and optimal lane volumes to improve customer service during Christmas and other peak periods, he said.

Scalability and performance on high volumes were key issues for Woolworths, McInnes said. “The combined team from Woolworths, Manugistics and IBM (which provided consultancy) have worked together to optimise the performance of the software for extremely large volumes.

“During December, a full volume benchmark was successfully completed, providing confidence that full business rollout can be achieved over the next few months.”

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