On its own admission, the chain's previous organisation during the festive season was disparate; orders were erratic and stores were not involved, forecasts were poor and there was high wastage. Mark Aylwin, Safeway's supply operations director, says it turned things around by collaborating more with stores, depots and suppliers about what they wanted at Christmas.
The detailed information from stores improved the planning process and the information flow to suppliers.
Aylwin says: "It's almost mission impossible to get Christmas right but we're now doing it a lot better. We capture store feedback on key lines which means they think of Christmas all the time, rather than just at the last minute. We get supplier feedback on whether they can cope with the volume. We also halved wastage."
Suppliers will be kept informed on road and depot congestion.