Source: Waitrose

Waitrose’s availability is currently at ‘record levels’ after sporadic availability issues during 2023

Waitrose is piloting a new stock management technology aimed at improving availability in its stores.

The high-end supermarket was plagued by a series of high-profile availability issues during the first half of 2023, partly as a result of glitches caused by the implementation of a new ERP system. Now that most of the upgrade has been completed, Waitrose’s availability is currently at “record levels”, according to the supermarket.

As part of the next stage of the work, Waitrose is trialling a new inventory management solution developed by Trust Retail. The software has been implemented in a small number of select stores, with a full rollout planned during 2025.

The new system would give store partners “near real-time” updates on stock levels, “freeing up time” enabling them to spend more time with serving customers, Waitrose said.

Waitrose has not confirmed which features will be used during the trial, but the technology has the capability of automatically sending out pick requests if stock levels get too low.

The overall ambition was to “have the right stock in the right place at the right time”, Waitrose said.

“I am delighted to have the opportunity to further improve our already high levels of availability by giving our partners a real-time view of the stock on their shelves,” said Waitrose supply chain director Alison Maffin.

“We look forward to leveraging Trust’s technology to take our inventory management capabilities to the next level.”

Trust Retail is the retail division of London-based Trust Payments. It has previously worked with the likes of Holland & Barrett, Bestway-owned Well Pharmacy and the East of England Co-op.

“It’s fantastic to see that Waitrose has chosen the Trust Retail Inventory Management solution to replace its legacy technology and we are delighted to be able to be a key partner in delivering a modern solution that will boost growth for Waitrose,” said Trust Retail MD Mike Dotson. 

The trial comes as Waitrose kicks off the next stage of an ongoing upgrade of its core systems. Following JLP’s return to profit in March, Waitrose executive director James Bailey pledged to invest £1bn over the next four years into the grocer’s stores and supply chain.

This includes plans to open the first new Waitrose stores for a decade as well as further investments in technology, including AI.