The job of improving the Waitrose supply chain will be handed over to Mark Williamson next week.

The head of buying for bakery, grocery and wines for Waitrose will succeed Tony Solomons as supply chain director, with responsibility for managing the entire distribution network.

He will oversee sales forecasting, ordering of goods, warehouse, distribution and the logistics infrastructure, as well as looking after Waitrose's four distribution centres in Bracknell, Bardon, Brinklow and Aylesford.

"We have ambitious plans to expand Waitrose, and our supply chain strategy will be critical in delivering this," said Williamson.

Charlie Mayfield, chairman of the John Lewis Partnership, added: "I am delighted to announce Mark's appointment to this post. His experience of working with suppliers will be crucial to ensure our supply chain continues to support the growth of the business."

Williamson joined the Waitrose team as head of grocery buying in June

2004 from the Thresher Group, where he was trading director. His portfolio at Waitrose was widened to include wines, beers, spirits and bakery in 2005.

He has also held several senior buying roles at Sainsbury's, including trading director and procurement director. He spent his early career at Tesco.

Under Solomons, Waitrose had placed greater focus on the supply chain, and made improvements to boost availability, including installing new technology to help improve demand planning and forecasting.

It now takes variables such as events and holidays into consideration when working out sales forecasts, rather then relying solely on the past history of each product.

Solomons left the post in January to take on marketing responsibilities at Waitrose as its first customer development director. ?