Tesco has deployed a global sourcing platform to manage a drive to double the annual amount of goods it sources overseas from £1bn to £2bn within two years.
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The retailer has replaced manual processes with systems from Eqos, which it chose after seeing how US electrical retailer Best Buy used the technology to manage an increase in the value of goods it procured from China from £27.2m to £651.6m a year.
Tesco is using Eqos' Global Sourcing, Supplier Quality Management and Critical Path Management applications. They run on SQL Server 2000 and are hosted at MCI's secure datacentre at King's Cross in London.
The systems will integrate with Tesco's enterprise resource planning applications and Retek retail management software.
Global Sourcing enables Tesco's buyers to manage the supply of goods, and Supplier Quality Management and Critical Path Management enable them to check product quality and receive alerts when delays occur.
John Hoerner, Tesco's chief executive of clothing, said, "It will also support better cost negotiations and provide us with additional flexibility to be more responsive to our customers, especially in fast-changing product areas."
Because buyers have better visibility of the supply chain, they can either reduce lead times or use the faster turnaround to postpone buying decisions until they have a better idea of which fashions will be most popular.
Mark McDonnell, Eqos' marketing and business development director, said, "The real driver is that the current manual systems are inhibiting Tesco's growth."