Situation and requirement

This business is a group of independent retailers with more than 1,500 food retail outlets. It has embarked upon a review of its operational efficiency.

In this respect, the Organisation management’s goal was to provide the Sales department with a diagnosis of the Supply function, which is managed by the company’s four regional branches.

The aim was to qualify the Supply processes based on:

  • The relevance of the tasks
  • Productivity
  • The harmonisation of working methods

The diagnosis had to include quantitative elements such as standard efficiency so that the future organisation could be calibrated on objective criteria.

The scope of the study encompassed three main sectors grocery/liquids/home and personal care; fresh products; and general merchandise. It had to cover seven processes: product mix cycle, permanent/promotional consumer goods, just-in-time costs, stocked flow costs, general merchandise prospecting, parallel home and personal care purchasing, and export.

MLA was called on to run a diagnosis of the chain's Supply function.

Customer benefits
  • An objective and shared vision of the potential for improving the Supply function’s operational efficiency
  • Developing efficiency standards based on best practices in the company and the profession as a whole, to harmonise working methods in each region
  • Widespread mobilisation of stakeholders in Supply boosted support for the project
  • Willingness to embark on a process of continuous improvement to improve performance and working conditions
Our approach

A two-step participatory approach:

Informal discussions based on a set of cards: around forty individual interviews with purchasers on the following principle:

• The interviewee goes through fifty or so cards featuring subjects of concern for the company and the Supply function, then selects the cards they wish to keep
• Unstructured dialogue about each card selected
• Quantifying the cards selected by everyone and prioritising the sticking points

Guided interviews about the purchaser's task list: twenty or so interviews were conducted, enabling us to quantify the time spent on each task and to qualify the tasks according to their added value.

Quantitative study: quantifying the purchasers’ productivity by region and by sector of activity enabling us to identify the potential for improvement by aligning each one with the best ratios.

Twelve interactive workshops bringing together key players in the Supply function: After mapping the processes and creating a portfolio of improvement levers, we were able to develop a target to be shared by the hundred or so players in the Supply sector and the resources required to implement it.

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