In 2006, Morrisons assigned Crimsonwing to create an online application known as Morrisons Supplier Database (MSD). MSD is a collaborative supply chain solution that enables retailers and their suppliers to exchange information about the supply chain. The technology used is mainly based on Oracle including Oracle Portal and Peoplesoft, amongst others, which were all heavily customised to suit Morrisons’ requirements.
Founded in 1899 in Bradford by William Morrison, the Morrisons company has gone from strength to strength becoming the UK’s fourth largest and rapidly growing supermarket chain. With over 120,000 staff employed in stores, factories and regional distribution centres, today’s Morrisons is a far cry from the original egg and butter stall of Bradford market.
background & requirements
Crimsonwing have worked with Morrisons for many years, having previously worked with Safeway. Crimsonwing are involved in the development and support of a number of systems within different business areas using a wide range of legacy and leading-edge technologies.
Since the take-over of the Safeway chain in 2003, Morrisons began to represent a significantly greater proportion of most of their suppliers’ business than ever before. The concept of an information exchange is well accepted within the UK supermarket sector – it allows retailers to share applications and information with their suppliers enabling the latter to improve their service to the retailer. Morrisons identified the need to reduce uncertainty for its suppliers and to enable them to provide better service levels and respond to problems that might occur within the supply chain. Both parties had to be able to work off the same base of information to enable constructive collaboration.
MSD is a collaborative supply chain solution that enables retailers and their suppliers to exchange information about the supply chain. The insight this provides about the operation of the supply chain beyond their own organisational boundaries enables them to improve their planning and respond more effectively to problems and consumer demands. Effective collaboration generates an increase in sales through improved service levels, a reduction of inventories and also a reduction in operational costs.
John Lomas, Morrisons Supplier Information Manager commented: “The development of MSD took place during an extremely busy time for the Morrisons Business, as it converted the Safeway store estate and consolidated the Distribution and Head Office functions. Much of the success of the project was due to the hard work and support given to the Morrisons Team by the Crimsonwing project manager in the UK and the support team in Malta.“
The development of the whole application was handled by IT specialists at Crimsonwing. A Project Manager was based on-site at Morrisons head office in Bradford, coordinating all parties involved, which included Morrisons’ IT and Trading departments, BT as the Hosting Providers and IBM. Joe V Scerri, Crimsonwing’s Project Manager for MSD commented: “This was a very challenging project and one which has been delivered through a strong cross functional project team working together, often beyond the call of duty. It is thus very rewarding to note how stable the application has been since it went live, and moreover that it is delivering the expected results to the business”.
MSD continues to be a major initiative within Morrisons and has represented a significant commitment in resource through development, implementation and ongoing infrastructure costs. MSD is delivering benefits to both Morrisons and its suppliers through greater collaborative contact and planning.
Since its launch in June 2006, MSD has been extremely successful. Strategically, the benefits are that both parties work off the same base of information, enabling constructive collaboration.
It also provides a basis for changes to the supply chain processes to improve efficiency and service, as well as providing a base for the potential transfer of process responsibility between parties. Martyn Jones, Senior Trading Director Morrisons commented: “MSD has delivered benefits to the Trading and Supply Chain teams. We will look to build on this and develop both its use with our supplier base and its functionality over the coming year. This development will include the provision of information via MSD and the use of MSD as a communication platform.“
MSD has been rolled out to more than 400 suppliers. The response has been both encouraging and positive. Numerous suppliers have commended the system for its ease of use and acknowledged that the sharing of data has proved instrumental in improving the working relationship between them and their trading team. Indeed, many claim that the application has improved the overall relationship between Morrisons and their suppliers thereby allowing for better supply chain planning.
Stewart Runeckles for NAM Premier Foods said: “In the short period of time that we have been using the MSD system, we have found it to be invaluable in the way we can now monitor sales and stock levels of our product range. From the sales side we can now track daily promotional performance and from the stock details we can use this to further improve our forecast accuracy and in turn assist our manufacturing sites to produce the right products at the right time. This has been a huge step forward in the way that we work with Morrisons and there are undoubtedly more benefits to come from using the system.”