M&S improves supply chain visibility and collaboration


UK-based retailer Marks and Spencer (M&S) has selected supply chain technology company Zetes to help transform visibility and fulfilment across its fresh food supply chain. Thanks to the ZetesOlympus supply chain visibility platform, the retailer will gain access to real-time fulfilment performance insights across its fresh food supply chain. The platform will help M&S foresee any possible disruptions to availability, via real-time alerts, so that the company can take fast preventative action to maintain its fresh food fulfilment standards. The platform, which connects M&S to all its logistics providers, will also encourage greater collaboration across the supply chain.

Syd Reid, Supply Chain Director at M&S, commented: “It is crucial for us to have complete visibility of our supply chain and be immediately alerted when unexpected events occur. That way, we can be agile and react at pace to ensure that our customers can get their favourite M&S food products when they want them, no matter what.”

Making M&S Special

The news of this partnership with Zetes can be seen as part of the retailer’s transformation programme for the business, which was set out in November 2017, concentrating on Restoring the Basics, Shaping the Future and Making M&S Special. Under this transformation programme, M&S has so far announced a slowdown in the Simply Food store opening programme, an acceleration of the UK store estate programme, and the sale and franchise of its retail business in Hong Kong and Macau.

Technology Transformation

Furthermore, in January this year, the retailer announced a new Technology Transformation Programme based on a five-year plan for changes to its logistics network as it move towards adopting a single-tier Clothing & Home distribution network. These plans include transforming an existing 46,000m2 (former Tesco) site at Welham Green in Hertfordshire into a new mechanized Clothing & Home distribution centre (DC) serving 150 stores in the southeast of England. The DC will be operated by a third-party logistics supplier and will employ over 500 people. Additionally, M&S will cease operations at its Neasden, North London, distribution centre and transfer the work to other sites in the M&S network. Gordon Mowat, Director of Clothing & Home Supply Chain & Logistics, said: “M&S is changing and we are transforming our stores and supply chain to better serve our customers. The new site in Welham will deliver better service and availability for our customers and enable us to become a faster, more agile, lower-cost retailer.”