Retailer Coop Sweden has today announced it is going live with a Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) portal from retail technology provider, Trace One to help increase its private label product development and become more competitive within this market. The online portal also helps the retailer meet strict government requirements around product ingredients, safety and ethical sourcing. The solution not only helps speed up the product development process, but also enhances working relationships with suppliers.
Thomas Säll, CIO at Coop Sweden commented: “Expanding our own label ranges and improving brand perceptions is a key business objective for us this year. To match the competition, we want to increase our private label products from 17 per cent to 25 per cent. Not only will this increase our margins but, it also gives us the opportunity to innovate with our products and bring something new to the market. To meet this requirement and reach a target of 800 SKUs this year, we needed a solution that was more robust than the in-house tool we used previously. We chose the Trace One PLM solution is it was the best and most comprehensive tool available for private label development and we were also impressed with the people at the company, which is key for us to maintain a good working relationship.”
Currently 25 employees use the system in-house including the quality department, product developers and retail buyers, along with 130 suppliers, which are due to rise to 150 suppliers this year. To help with this, the tool is able to source the top and most credible suppliers to work with, as it stores all audit details and certifications gained from each supplier for the retailer to access. As many of the suppliers already use the portal with other retailers, the complex collaboration process during product development is simplified. The system also helps the retailer meet government legislation as all details and product specifications are kept on one online database. This means the retailer can easily prove compliance when questioned on anything from food ingredients, quality and safety to environmental issues and ethical sourcing of materials.
By storing all product specifications and accurately recording what stages each project is at online, all parties involved are able to log in to the system in real-time to monitor progress and make or accept any changes. Suppliers can also meet validation rules which are set by the retailer to sign off products in quicker time. This saves endless communication between parties via traditional means such as phone or email, which often wastes time and resource. The retailer can also focus on more strategic tasks, as the portal automatically tracks and follows up with suppliers on matters such as critical inspections, audits and certificate renewals.
“By using the PLM portal from Trace One, we hope to increase our overall efficiencies with private label development by 30 per cent. The portal will provide improved workflow, so that the entire product lifecycle can be managed from start to finish, giving us better control over the private label side of the business as a whole.”
Amina West, Vice President, Northern Europe at Trace One concluded: “Coop Sweden currently occupies around 21 per cent of the grocery market, so we are delighted to be working with one of the leading retailers in Scandinavia. We hope to help the company meet and exceed its goals of becoming a leader in the private label market, as we recognise the real business value this can bring. Through this partnership we aim to increase our presence in the Scandinavian market, where private label is emerging as a key driver for retailers at the moment.”