Letter to The Grocer, October 2018
As reported last week in The Grocer ‘Women in Agribusiness Award’ the USA appear to have recognised Christine Tacon, The Grocery Code Adjudicator’s, impact on the UK Grocery retailers more fully than some of our own institutions….
As a representative of all chilled suppliers, I chair the Drop and Drive Claims Workgroup; we have been a direct beneficiary of Christine’s support to promote our campaign to eliminate unsubstantiated deductions as part of her drive to reduce delays in payments, and have seen these fall by up to 90% for those engaging in the Good Faith Receiving programmes available.
The GCA’s remit is currently under review with a number of additional retailers who sell more than £1bn in ‘Grocery’ products likely to be included, and therefore required to operate according to Christine’s established interpretation of the Grocery Code.
The definition of ‘Grocery’ is itself apparently open to interpretation and I understand the CMA is still trying to assess what sources of data are eligible to help determine whether a retailer should be included in the expanded remit. The ‘blurred line’ applies to those retailers who offer a range of products that include those found in the established grocery retailers, but whose sales are not included within the current definition of ‘grocery’ sales as captured by market research reports.
One such retailer which has avoided inclusion to date is Amazon. As a consumer, its excellent customer service and range of products is clearly extremely attractive and a significant proportion of its £2bn sales in 2017/18 must surely fall into this broader definition of grocery. As a supply chain consultant working with manufacturers and retailers, I have yet to encounter an organisation that appears to be in breach of so many elements of the Grocery Code, and so reluctant to communicate, let alone work with, its suppliers to correct its own data errors that appear to be the root-cause of many of their trading conformance breaches, which they so liberally fine suppliers for, without opportunity for redress.
We have seen how effective Christine has been with the 10 retailers who are working diligently to conform to the Grocery Code. It would be remiss if suppliers missed the opportunity to write to the CMA sharing the evidence of their sales to Amazon consumers (both directly and indirectly) in the UK, so that the CMA are made aware of the true sales of ‘grocery’ products through its platform. Only then can they be bound to the same standards that the rest of the retailers are now adopting, because it is the ‘right thing to do’ ethically and commercially.
I urge you to pick up your pens and contact the CMA immediately, as this opportunity may not present itself again for another few years, by which time it could be too late.
CEO Simply Supply Chain