Suppliers are still struggling to get to grips with the ‘dependencies’ required to supply Sainsbury’s new automated depots, the company has revealed.

However, the problems were not insurmountable and Sainsbury remained convinced that plans to replace 21 small depots with a handful of huge, automated facilities will pay off, said supply chain director Martin White.

“Overall, our plans are on course and we are also making considerable progress on tackling availability issues on a number of fronts.

“But compliance [at the new depots] is a challenge. We have been working with suppliers for more than 18 months on this. The problem is there is no silver bullet - the issues seem to vary according to supplier.”

Dependencies include electronic advanced shipping notes, accurate traded unit codes, Udex registration, strict pallet standards, adherence to strict delivery windows and labels with serial shipping container codes.

For more details see this week’s copy of The Grocer magazine.