Online development cuts Sainsbury's costs by a third

Sainsbury's aims to reduce by one third the time it takes to get a new product on to its supermarket shelves, by moving the...

Sainsbury's aims to reduce by one third the time it takes to get a new product on to its supermarket shelves, by moving the entire product development process to the Internet.

The supermarket giant, which developed or enhanced 3,000 different product lines last year, said moving the process online will help to eliminate the complexity that means creating a new range can take up to 12 months.

The development process involves a large number of people, including chefs, a concept developer, manufacturers, buyers, technologists, nutritionists, marketeers, a design studio, artwork and reproduction houses, product safety and legal experts.

"With so many different people involved it is difficult to get the right information to the right people," said John Padgett, general manager for business-to-business development at Sainsbury's.

"The Web-based system means that people can have simultaneous access to project information and each task is sent to the right person with a schedule ensuring that tasks are completed on time."

The development package, known as Productvine, will be hosted by GlobalNet Xchange, the business-to-business online exchange of which Sainsbury's was a founder member.

Each development project will have its own password to allow users access to information relevant to their part of the process.

Productvine has automatic checks built in, so for example if an ingredient is changed by the chef an e-mail is sent to the designers alerting them to the need to change the information on the packaging.

Sainsbury's already uses the GlobalNetXchange for collaboration, forecasting, procurement and replenishment purposes.

"Product development is the second stage and the next step will be electronic catalogues," said Padgett.

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