Supply chain professionals from across the UK heard about two RELEX success stories on Thursday as they gathered for RELEX’s annual London Forum.
Around seventy delegates from a wide range of leading British and international companies gathered at the Finnish Ambassador’s residence for presentations by Andrew Rafferty of Britain’s leading regional supermarket, Booths, and Magnus Sigurd of Nordic DIY and homeware retailer Jula.
Andrew Rafferty, Booths’ eCommerce and IT Director, described the project to implement RELEX systems across the company’s 29 supermarkets and distribution centre.
He explained that many of the challenges arose from Booths carrying a wide assortment of products comparable to that of other supermarket chains but operating on a smaller scale. This, together with the need to improve management of promotions and the handling of fresh and chilled items, led Booths to search for a solution.
Rafferty said that shrinkage from food ranges in cabinets, which accounted for around 20% of Booths overall shrinkage, had been cut by almost a fifth.
“The results, they were good, we were really happy. It is a substantial saving across the board,” Rafferty said. He explained that while some of the gains had resulted from a change in operations and company culture, “I can say hand on heart we wouldn’t have got anywhere near that without the RELEX solution.”
Jula’s Purchasing Manager Magnus Sigurd explored how the company had used RELEX systems to improve inventory management and demand forecasting across its retail operations in Sweden, Norway and Poland.
Jula faces particular challenges in dealing with suppliers where lead times can be as much as 200 days. “We had a real challenge but with RELEX we have really done so much – we do it step by step and we get a lot of support,” Sigurd said.
Both Rafferty and Sigurd then took part in a panel Q&A chaired by leading supply chain consultant and RELEX non-executive director Andrew Blatherwick. They were joined by RELEX UK MD Tommi Ylinen and RELEX customer Mushtaque Ahmed, COO of JJ Food Service Ltd.
Questions from the floor focused on practical issues such as the use of RELEX systems to ease business expansion and forecast new-store performance. Another question explored integration with existing ERP software, something that the panel explained had already happened with some 25 other systems and had proved remarkably straight forward.