Site-Profile was a supply chain management system, embodying and exploring many of the general principles that underpin our systems. Developed from 2001 – and building on work and experience in the organic food industry – consisted of various modules.

Waitrose Logo

These represented a subset of NIP’s general solution focus and capabilities at the time, and were initially-configured for the retail food industry, with Waitrose as a lead user. However, these could have been readily-used by other food retailers or, indeed, any supply chain:

  • Interactive questionnaires for assessing relationships between distributors and suppliers, and agreeing actions on both sides to enhance these relationships
  • The building and maintenance of directories
  • Recording, monitoring and improving compliance with operational and Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) requirements Facilitating communication and so driving continuous improvement by, for example, shared worksheets, distributed documents, etc
  • Working with existing systems and processes was a good example of how NIP’s applications can fully realise the twin aims of rigorous standard enforcement and achieving new, value-adding connectivity between participants in a process – in this case, a supply chain.

It also showed how general principles and functionality could be bounded and focussed on specific industries and specific business challenges – in this case, any company or industry examining resourcing, CSR, traceability, collaboration, auditing or communication issues.

As lead users of, for example, Waitrose focussed on both CSR and operational supply chain issues, with one major initiative being the annual complete assessment of the supply chain’s compliance with the Waitrose Responsible Sourcing code of practice:

  • First tier suppliers filled in an interactive questionnaire (written by Bureau Veritas) about themselves and one for each of the sites they sourced from
  • There was the option of delegating responsibility for this task – via the system – to these sites
  • The ninety questions covered areas such as working conditions, health & safety, wages, hours, facilities, environment, animal welfare, legislative compliance and child labour
  • Non-compliances were automatically flagged-up and documented, and targets set and agreed for compliance, all within the system

Other Site-Profile modules that Waitrose introduced included HACCPs, dissemination of documents and statistics, relationship information, a supplier directory with ratings and planning worksheets.

Site Profile demonstrates the scope and potential of online supply chain management. It has enabled Waitrose to more effectively communicate standards to its suppliers and more accurately identify and address areas of concern.

John Foley, Head of Fruit and Vegetable Buying within Waitrose

Waitrose benefited from aggregate reporting on all of the modules they used, enabling them and – where appropriate – third parties (such as Bureau Veritas) to analyse data, develop strategy and pinpoint areas of concern that could be instantly communicated to suppliers.