Those are the headline results of our latest survey of senior executives sitting on our reader panel, almost half of whom felt SRP projects were being pushed through without adequate consultation or collaboration. Tesco, in particular, was criticised for the way it has issued suppliers with ‘do this or face delisting’ ultimatums.
Most suppliers were also concerned about the on-cost of introducing new packs in relatively short timescales - with no guarantees that this investment would be offset by incremental sales.
“Generally, SRP has been done in collaboration but the goal posts keep moving,” said one supplier. “Our customers’ commercial teams are reluctant, at this stage, to accept or discuss the increased costs, while admitting they realise there are cost implications.”
Even worse, suppliers felt there was a danger that they could end up developing different packs for different customers.
One supplier said: “The biggest challenge is getting the industry signed up to one solution so that these additional costs can be minimised.”
However, almost all of those quizzed recognised that, if done properly, SRP could bring benefits such as improved availability and, with shelf-ready cases, clearer presentation that would make shelves easier for consumers to navigate.
“Branded manufacturers have to get on with it as SRP brings many benefits to us, not least of which is guaranteed shelf space and improved availability,” said another supplier.
“The downside is for own-label products where manufacturers are being forced to adhere to a retailer timetable at no increased cost, even though margins are already slim and in some cases non-existent.”