Tesco has improved the availability of some of its key brands by as much as a third, thanks to a new supply chain initiative.

Dubbed Tesco Connect, the online service allows suppliers access to up-to-the-minute forecasts of sales figures, anticipated future order sizes and the projected volume of truck deliveries to its distribution centres.

Since the pilot was launched in December, 30 companies, including Nestlé, Mars and Unilever, have signed up. A further 40 suppliers joined as the service went live this week and Tesco now hopes to roll it out to its entire supplier base.

“I would like to see this rolled out eventually to all our suppliers,” said Tesco supply chain director Tony Mitchell. “This is massively liberating for them and it’s enabled them to cut shortages by as much as a third. It’s tackling the big issues they have raised with us, which is improving the information they have in advance of orders.”

Tesco Connect currently gives data to its suppliers three weeks in advance but Mitchell said it was expanding that to seven weeks.

“This is about working with suppliers,” he added. “The idea is that as soon as we know about a promotion the suppliers will get the information they need.

“Previously the only way suppliers could get access to this detailed information was by sending specific teams to work with us.”

According to the most recent figures from The Grocer 33 shopping survey, Tesco’s availability stands at 94.8% putting it in fourth place behind Morrisons, Sainsbury’s and Asda.