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Crimsonwing helps Morrisons launch a collaborative online supply chain application for supermarket suppliers

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Introduction
UK retailing giant Morrisons has just recently launched an online application known as MSD (Morrisons Supplier Database).  This was developed in Malta by a team from Crimsonwing’s solution centre.  The concept of a supplier exchange is well accepted within the UK supermarket sector – it allows retailers to share applications and information with suppliers, hence improving their customer service.

Founded in 1899 by William Morrison, the 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.

How MSD came to be
Since the take-over of the Safeway chain, Morrisons began to represent a significantly greater proportion of most of their supplier’s business than before.  The introduction of MSD has helped reduce the uncertainty for Morrisons’ suppliers enabling them to provide better service levels and respond to problems that might occur within the supply chain.

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 organizational 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.

Aspects of the Morrisons Supplier Database
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 over the last twelve months.  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."

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 Crimson Wing project manager in the UK and the support team in Malta.

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.”
 
Developing MSD
Development of the new application was handled by the Crimsonwing team who spent about 6 months working on the new system.  A Project Manager was based onsite at Morrisons head office in Bradford, co-coordinating all parties involved which also 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's delivering to the business, the expected results”.

The results
So far, MSD has been rolled out to 200 suppliers and these are increasing week by week. The response has been both encouraging and positive. Numerous suppliers have commended the system for its ease of use as its intuition and the sharing of data has proved instrumental in improving the working relationship between their trading teams. 
Stewart Runeckles for NAM Premier Foods has this to say: “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.”

Many claim that the application has improved the relationship between Morrisons and suppliers thereby allowing for better planning.  The application also caters for the sudden growth in the Morrisons chain and key to this is the regular availability of goods. 

Ends.

Notes to Editors:

About Crimsonwing
Founded in 1996 Crimsonwing’s customer solutions have won many awards including Solution Provider of the Year and National Business Awards.  Crimsonwing provides value-for-money software development services to help customers derive business benefits from information technology. The solutions developed by Crimsonwing are predominantly companies’ electronic interfaces to the outside world and the e-business functions within the systems that impact the whole company’s business cycle.  Clients include IDIS, Ideal Hardware, Safeway, Morrisons, Sunlight and Williams Lea amongst others.  Crimsonwing is an ISO9001 certified company with headquarters in Leatherhead, UK, offices in the Netherlands and a solution centre in Malta.  For more information visit www.crimsonwing.com

About Morrisons
Morrisons is the UK’s 4th largest supermarket with an 11.8% market share. Quality, value and unbeatable service are experienced by nine million customers every week throughout Morrisons network of over 360 stores. The company currently employs more than 120,000 people in its stores, factories, distribution centres and head office functions.