Waitrose wants to strengthen relations with suppliers, with buyers becoming “relationship managers” said John Foley, head of buying for fruit, vegetables and horticulture.
He told 50 suppliers at a conference that he was adamant the way forward was by strengthening relationships, embracing a raft of areas such as category planning and technology. “We do not want to lose suppliers. We want them to respond to make both our businesses more secure.”
Over the past year, sophisticated monitoring systems have been put in place with category leaders and the effects had already been felt over Christmas with produce sales up substantially.
More fruit and vegetables were also being sold though the Ocado home shopping operation which he said was “really beginning to motor”.
Additionally, supplier workshops had already shown there was the potential to strip several million pounds from distribution costs.