Woolworths tackles supply-chain ICT

A heavily technology-based restructuring program at Woolworths is expected to yield AU$4.9 billion in savings by the end of this financial year, with supply-chain improvements the current focus, according to the retailer.

A heavily technology-based restructuring program at Woolworths is expected to yield AU$4.9 billion in savings by the end of this financial year, with supply-chain improvements the current focus, according to the retailer.

In a presentation posted on the Australian Stock Exchange Web site this morning, Woolworths chief executive officer Roger Corbett said "significant" progress had been made on the supply-chain component of the seven-year old Project Refresh program.

"The technology required to support our new supply chain is critical to its success and was complex in its construction," Corbett said. "We have now passed the high-risk part of our IT application development and are now applying the systems throughout our company with far better than expected results".

The technology and systems would play a key role in helping Woolworths get the most of its recent business acquisitions, he said.

The chief executive officer added that the retailer had finished implementing the Stocksmart forecast based replenishment system in its distribution centres and rolling out the AutostockR store forecast based replenishment system to its stores.

Woolworths was starting to utilise the advantages provided by these systems "and more will follow as we roll out our new point of sale technology during 2006," he said.

The technology implementation is underpinning a rationalisation program which is seeing the number of supermarket distribution centres cut from 31 to nine regional centres and two national distribution centres.

Woolworths said AU$1.3 billion of the savings from Project Refresh were expected to be achieved during the current financial year.

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