Range & Space update

Mike Brown

As part of Retail Business Transformation, we’re introducing exciting new technology which will allow us to improve the way we space, range and merchandise our stores.

Our new JDA system consists of five key ‘modules’:

  • Floor Planning – software making it easier for us to plan the space and layout of our stores
  • Planogram Generator – the ability, where required, to produce store specific planograms to reflect differences in range, facings based on store specific sales or specific equipment types
  • Open Access – a new system to share and store planograms and floor plans with our stores and FRTS
  • Channel Clustering – allows us to interrogate up to two years of product level sales data to identify similarly performing stores, by category, to better target our ranges
  • Assortment Optimiser / Generator – this application provides a positive step change in our ability to manage our range, get the right products in the right stores, and communicate accurate depth of distribution much earlier than we do today.

We’ve already implemented some aspects of the new JDA system – last year, we introduced JDA Floor Planning to our colleagues in the space team, and in April we completed the conversion of all of our stores onto JDA Floor Planning. Sean Williams is our Floor Planning Manager and this sums up his experience.

We have been using Floor Planning now since November. Whilst it’s been a steep learning curve for the Floor Planning team, it’s been worth it. We can more accurately manage store category space and layouts and have much faster access to data which was previously inaccessible. For example, we were able to tell Heineken when their products were ranged behind glass chiller doors so we could send POS materials designed specifically to sit on glass doors. We never had this ability before and we would have needed to open every CAD plan for every store to manually check

My RBT project team are working really hard to deliver the rest of the modules for 1 October. There’s still a lot to do (testing, testing, testing), but we’re making significant progress to the plan.

We’ve worked with colleagues from Commercial, Customer and Supply Chain teams to amend our ranging processes incorporating the needs of NISA and our GSCOP obligations as well as our new JDA modules. On the subject of process it was great to see improvements in process compliance reported at Range Governance this week, with most trading areas achieving in excess of 90%. It’s vital that this upward trend continues as we implement the JDA applications in October and the SAP applications in 2019.

We are now moving into the training phase, ensuring colleagues across the business are trained and feeling confident ahead of the JDA launch.

Right now we are also recruiting to fill exciting new roles to use some of the applications from users of Planogram Generator in the merchandising team to users of Assortment Optimiser in the customer planning team.

If I had to pick one application, I think the Assortment Optimiser ranging tool is the one with the potential to make the most difference to our business. I caught up with James Occleston, our Bacon and Sausage buyer this morning and we were discussing how difficult it is to manage well over 130 regional and local products within the current GSM System. In future we won’t be restricted to blunt product swaps to manage these ranges, and we’ll get the entire range in one screen (rather than 3 currently) with true performance based local ranging decisions with accurate depth of distribution impacts.

James has the opportunity to make use of JDA in a 3* Range Event in P7 next year, though Soft Drinks is the first 3* Range Event to land using the new tools in P4 next year and were looking forward to working with Glyn and the team on that category also.

Mark Pettigrew

There are a number of significant benefits of the new JDA system, with an £18.6m improvement in profitability by 2020 through improved ranging capability being the biggest one.

In line with our Fuel for Growth ambition, these new JDA systems should also save the businesses a significant amount of money in the long run with, for example, £3.2m saved in reduced waste by 2020.

We can’t do any of this alone though. We might be plugging in some great new systems which will enable us to improve the way we range and merchandise our stores, but it’s our colleagues who’ll really make the difference. To help support our colleagues before, during and after the change in system, we’ve created in depth and engaging training plan which has been built with input from our colleagues. We’ve already run our very first JDA training session in the Auditorium earlier this month, and we’ve had positive feedback about the session already.

We’ve got more sessions planned in the diary in a variety of different formats to suit both Angel Square based and store based colleagues. We’re all really excited to land the rest of the first RBT deployment in October.

Find out more about JDA and RBT in our Comms Cascade – available via your Change Champions or on our RBT intranet page (internal colleagues only).