Retailers, Producers Find Growth in Cooperation

May 06, 2002

According to executives at a consumer goods conference in Barcelona last week, a lack of cooperation is a frequent obstacle to supply chain improvements needed to meet the profit expectations of investors, reports Bloomberg. Empty shelves alone cost European companies about $3.6 billion a year says Roland Berger Strategy Consultants.

Carrefour SA and Gillette Co. found ways to increase sales of dental-care products by as much as 80 percent at test stores, according to Pierre Kissel, a category manager at Carrefour. Europe’s biggest retailer unconventionally asked the maker of Oral B dental products for advice to boost sales of toothpaste and toothbrushes last year. “You really can achieve growth through close cooperation,’ says Mr. Kissel in an ECR conference speech.

By working more closely with suppliers, Marks & Spencer Plc cut the time to get fresh produce from the field to stores to a single day, says Chief Executive Officer Luc Vandevelde, who co-chaired the conference. “Much of the progress has been driven by the manufacturers,’ he says in a speech. “Retailers have not contributed enough.”

Moderator Comment: What are the opportunities and
limitations of retailer and manufacturer collaboration from a business perspective?
What is the up/downside from the consumer vantage?

Okay, we’re jaded. We admit it. Still we can’t help but
think of The Godfather every time we hear the words partnering or collaboration.
Keep your friends close. Keep your enemies closer. [George
Anderson – Moderator

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