Technology applications in the supply chain and other key areas have helped British retailer Sainsbury's keep the tills ringing throughout the recession. From fitting stores with self-scanning technology to replacing its warehouse and supply systems, the supermarket giant is busy revamping technologies.
It seems to be feeling the benefit: recently, Sainsbury's announced total sales in the first half of the year, excluding fuel, were up 7.1 percent over the corresponding period in 2008 and its weekly transactions now exceed 18.5 million, up some 4 percent year on year.
One of the ways the retailer has helped bolster its bottom line is by implementing a new system called real-time supply, which ensures its stores are stocked with products. Information on store sales is fed straight from the till into the real-time supply system, allowing Sainsbury's warehouse staff to see exactly which stores need to be resupplied with which products.
As a result, stock availability has improved significantly. "We have made huge progress over the last five years," said trading director Mike Coupe at a roundtable event organized by supply chain standards organization GS1.
In-store, Sainsbury's is also in the middle of rolling out extra systems to allow shoppers to scan their own shopping. Self-scan systems will be fitted at 17 existing and 30 new shops this year.
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