Tesco and Ocado adopt Alkemics supply chain collaboration platform

By Katy Askew contact

- Last updated on GMT

© iStock
© iStock
UK retailers Tesco and Ocado are embracing the supply chain collaboration platform developed by French tech group Alkemics in order to strengthen their omnichannel strategies.

The platform was established in the UK through a partnership with standards body GS1 UK as part of productDNA, which aims to help suppliers and retailers share and manage product information.

The tech development facilitates data collection, standardisation and sharing between brands and retailers of product information and images.

Following a pilot phase this spring, Tesco decided to invite its suppliers to join the initiative in order to meet the challenges of product data management, the French tech developer revealed. Likewise, Alkemics said, Ocado is preparing to ask “several thousand British brands and producers to collaborate”.

"The rapid adoption of Tesco and Ocado reinforces our ability to quickly and simply ship an entire industry on the platform, which is now international,”​ said Antoine Durieux, co-founder and CEO of Alkemics.

The Alkemics platform aims to advance the e-commerce strategy of UK retailers. Beyond managing the process of referencing and enriching data for e-commerce uses, they also use the solution to perform quality control, the group revealed.

"Welcoming Tesco and Ocado in the Alkemics network is a strong and very positive sign for the retail industry. To optimise the execution of processes and serve their omnichannel ambitions, these distributors use our solution centrally in a single platform that then allows a broadcast on all channels,”​ Durieux explained.

Strengthening trust in data

George Wright, fresh food commercial director at Tesco, said that the initiative will strengthen trust in product data, providing “greater confidence”​ in the product data retailers receive and reducing the amount of inaccurate data.

Ocado director of supply chain and planning, Mark Watson, said that it will also speed the process. "Distributors and retailers spend too much time researching, verifying and correcting product data. productDNA provides a unique catalogue of product data that we all have access to and trust. This means we can focus on what's really important to our businesses, innovating and improving the customer experience."

Streamlined process for suppliers

Alkemics’ supply chain technology also has benefits for food manufacturers, who are able to use it to synchronise their data collection process with the information provided to their retail customers.

Bonduelle, the French vegetable processor, currently utilises this data synchronisation process for 584 products across two of its brands by combining data from its product information management (PIM) system with the Alkemics platform.

According to Bonduelle, providing customers with accurate product information begins with data collection by communicating with suppliers to accurately identify all ingredients. “This is not easy, as we request a great deal of information about various different ingredient categories in order to meet the group’s requirements, beyond the French and European regulationsm,”​ Sabine Level, Quality Coordinator for Bonduelle Europe, revealed.

Once the information has been collected, it is still necessary to ensure that consumers receive accurate product data.

“The validation process for our product data sheets includes four different stages with four separate teams,”​ explained Sabrina Lenne, Commerce & Marketing Manager in Bonduelle’s IT systems department. “The Supply teams create the product page. The Quality department collects and verifies the data, notably data related to INCO regulations. The Marketing department then enriches the content, notably by adding packaging visuals. Finally, the trade team makes the decision to launch file exports.”

Product information is centralised in the PIM system and Alkemics data platform is then able to synch this information with retailer websites.

Lenne concluded: “There are numerous benefits: with Alkemics, we don’t need to manage flows for each retailer, which saves us time on data processing and ensures that updates to our data are consistent. Moreover, our communications are centralized. In terms of everyday use, the platform’s built-in chat is proving to be an effective way to address targeted comments on our products.”

Having established its tech in France, Alkemics is now eyeing international growth. The reaction of the UK retail sector stands as proof of the global potential,” Durieux said. “As leaders in the UK, Tesco and Ocado are a strong guarantee for us to continue to deploy our platform internationally.”

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