Supply Chain Projects in Grocery Sector

A&P upgrades processes, systems to speed information flow; Wild Oats preps supply chain for growth

Tempe, AZ — March 28, 2003 — With margins in the grocery sector as slim as ever, major food retailers are continuing to implement new technologies and processes to streamline their supply chains.

The latest examples: A&P has completed an initiative to develop a state-of-the-art supply chain and business process infrastructure, and Wild Oats Markets has implemented a supply chain management solution to facilitate the retailer's further growth.

Founded in 1859, the Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Company (otherwise known as A&P) was one of the nation's first supermarket chains and today is one of North America's 10 largest, operating approximately 690 stores.

A&P recently undertook an initiative to upgrade its processes and business systems related to the flow of information and products between A&P-operated offices, distribution centers and stores, and between the company and its suppliers. The company worked with solution providers IBM and Retek on the project.

"We now have in place the critical platform that will enable us to manage our entire grocery business with state-of-the-art category management tools and systems," said John Metzger, senior vice president and chief information officer of A&P. "We are now positioned to leverage our scale, lower operating costs, and enhance store product assortments throughout our U.S. and Canadian operation."

Retek says its solution provides data warehousing capacity for category management and other grocery-specific functionality, allowing retailers to provide consumers with the right product, at the right place and time, in the right quantities and at the right price.
IBM provided business transformation and integration services, as well as infrastructure technology, for the implementation.

Metzger said that A&P would be counting on the providers' solutions to help the company manage its business to greater levels of detail and improve its category management capability.

Wild Oats Preps Supply Chain for Growth

Meanwhile, natural foods retailer Wild Oats Markets has tapped procurement and warehouse management applications from provider OMI for the company's internal purchasing and logistics functions.

Wild Oats currently operates 102 natural foods stores in 25 states and British Columbia, Canada. The company is set to install OMI's BICEPS/PROMPT procurement applications within its headquarter facility in Boulder, Colo., and the TRICEPS Warehouse Management application in the company's four regional distribution centers.

The chain is actively building a new enterprisewide supply chain management suite, including order management, replenishment and advanced warehouse management. In its selection of OMI, Wild Oats will engage IBM's Global Services division as an implementation partner to work with OMI's installation team with the goals of improving inventory management and, ultimately, increasing savings and overall market position.

OMI says that BICEPS/PROMPT applications provide advanced purchasing and inventory management functionality, with specialized capabilities for the grocery industry. The TRICEPS Warehouse Management application offers capabilities intended to help grocery chains, wholesalers and other large consumer package goods distributors to improve their productivity through paperless inventory management from the point of receipt until final shipment.

Combined with labor management capabilities, the TRICEPS installation at Wild Oats will provide real-time information to help track warehouse inventory levels, reduce warehouse labor handling charges, trim inventory costs and manage store orders more efficiently.

"Wild Oats rapid growth prompted the need for centralized purchasing with tightly managed control and visibility across our retail stores and distribution centers," said John Lauderbach, vice president of technology and logistics for Wild Oats. "OMI's suite of supply chain products will provide us with the integrated tools needed to address our rapid growth."