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Effective Collaboration on Food Waste & Markdowns: What Does it Take?

Effective Collaboration on Food Waste & Markdowns: What Does it Take?

Much has been said and written on the value of collaboration yet there remains a large gap between the vision and collaboration being a regular way of working for the industry. This research seeks to underline the value of collaboration while at the same time explaining why it is so hard to deliver in practice, examples could be the presence of competing internal incentives and the challenges of data sharing. More importantly, this research introduces a new framework that seeks to define what it takes to collaborate well.

This framework, developed by practitioners from retailer and producer organisations, plus academic and subject matter experts, is made up of three consecutive phases:

1: The Strategic Foundation – Are you ready to collaborate?

2: Partner Selection – Who do you want to collaborate with and on what product categories?

3: Collaboration Set Up and Execution – How should you organise and execute collaborative projects?

This report focuses primarily on the first stage, the Strategic Foundation, and is made up of 13 identified aspects of collaboration that the group concluded can explain the extent to which organisations are ready for collaboration. These aspects aggregate up to five sub-dimensions and in turn, to two higher level dimensions.

The first of these two higher level dimensions is the Strategic Fit of food waste and collaboration to the C-Suite agenda. The second is Capability Readiness, and the extent to which there is multi-disciplinary thinking, people with the right amount of dedication and the availability of and willingness to share data, at the right level of detail and granularity, between organisations, to inform decision making.  

The report introduces a new self-assessment tool to help organisations, inspired by International Standard for Collaborative Working (ISO 44001 Collaborative Business Relationship Management Systems), it can help organisations assess their own and their potential partners readiness to collaborate.

The responses from 48 retailers and suppliers to the online self-assessment tool were analysed and the full results shared in this report. The two key conclusions from this analysis are that 1) Capability readiness does indeed follow strategic intent. Said another way, when the respondents reported that the C-Suite of their organisations had prioritised food waste & markdowns, embraced an end to end approach and saw collaboration as a lever for improvement, they were more likely to report a higher level of capability readiness. And 2) That the availability of data remains mostly topic or project specific and the ability to share data between organisations is mostly a manual process and only somewhat automated, potentially limiting the ability to collaborate with others.

Retailer and supplier organisations are encouraged to use the self-assessment Excel-based tool to initiate discussions on collaboration internally and with their partners, and to identify the extent to which their respective organisations have in place a strong strategic foundation for collaboration. 

The tool is freely available to any organisation, however the limitations of this website means that it will need to be sent via email, please email info@ecr-shrink-group.com. Additionally, an online survey in the Survey Monkey format is also available to share upon request

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