German grocery retailer Bünting AG and retail planning experts RELEX Solutions were named 2018’s Retail Partnership of the Year (In-Store) at the 2018 Retail Systems Awards.

The award recognised the close collaboration which was forged between the two companies when they set out to overhaul Bünting’s supply chain operations with the aim of reducing spoilage and optimizing every aspect of its supply chain.

Bünting is a major presence across North West Germany, running 225 supermarkets under the Combi, Jibi and Famila brands. With 14,000 employees and a turnover of over €1Bn, it’s a substantial operation.

RELEX brought to the project both its unified retail planning technology and wide-ranging supply chain expertise gained from working with grocers and other retailers across Europe and North America.

The award recognised the fact that the project produced remarkable results, especially cuts in fleet costs and CO2 emission of 27%, and spoilage of nearly a quarter (23.9%). The reduction in fleet overheads was achieved by adapting the RELEX system to Bünting’s needs and optimizing the delivery frequency.

At the same time inventory was cut by over 17% while availability was pushed to over 98%. More efficient organization of staff time is also saving Bünting almost €1M p.a.

“To receive this award for our partnership with RELEX and especially our efforts in realising a customer’s needs responsive Supply Chain is a great honour. We look forward to our continued relationship and ongoing outstanding results. Our teams are doing great by being ambitious and innovative” says Helge-Christian Eilers, managing director at Bünting SCM / Logistik GmbH & Co. KG. (Bünting’s Supply Chain service).

“It’s clear that this working relationship has worked out,” commented the judges. “There’s a cultural fit that’s made the technological and practical aspects run smoothly – and the very strong results speak for themselves.”

RELEX Co-Founder and CEO Mikko Kärkkäinen agrees. “I’m thrilled that the Bünting & RELEX partnership has been recognised,” Kärkkäinen says. “Partnering with customers is what RELEX is all about. It’s no coincidence that the RELEX and Bünting teams forged a close bond. They constantly inspired one another to push back the boundaries of what was possible and together they achieved impressive results.”

“If there’s a lesson here for other businesses it’s that supply chain is a key battleground for modern retailers. It’s not just an opportunity to become more efficient but also to innovate and create competitive advantage that customers will appreciate first-hand.”

RELEX & Bünting won the award against fierce competition from some of the best known names in UK business including Cafè Nero, Debenhams, Lakeland, Natwest, O2 and Wallis.

About Bünting Group
The Bünting Group has more than 14,000 employees and is one of the largest and leading employer and training enterprises in the northwest of Germany. Their secret to success: Commercial skills and a dynamic development, that allowed Bünting to constantly grow and bring the company forward. The Bünting Group operates nationwide from their headquarters in Leer and their new administrative building in Nortmoor as well as from Oldenburg. The holding group J. Bünting Einkauf und Logistik Dienstleistungs GmbH & Co. KG is responsible for the strategic alignment and central management of all their subsidiaries. Including a tea retailer, six trading companies (to which Combi, Famila and Jibi belong) two service companies, a foundation and a tea museum.

More information: www.buenting.de