Waitrose is to reduce warehouse inventory while improving availability in stores with the introduction of a warehouse replenishment system from Aldata.

As well as replenishment, modules will be implemented to better manage promotions in Waitrose’s supply chain as it increases price-led offers, and for capacity planning.

The system is likely to be tested for all product categories in one of the grocer’s six warehouses in the third quarter of next year, before quickly being rolled out to the rest in 2011.

Waitrose head of supply chain Liz Gemmill said the systems overhaul was essential as the retailer readies itself for the future and could be expanded. She said: “The modularity of the system gives us clear options for extending its use across the whole supply chain when the time is right for Waitrose.”

Waitrose uses a combined warehouse replenishment and warehouse management system at present. The legacy system will be retained for its warehouse management functions for the moment.

Aldata UK managing director Mark Croxton said the replacement system is needed for replenishment to cope with Waitrose’s quickly growing volumes and its increasingly complex supply chain.

The Aldata system will give a combined view of demand from the grocer’s stores, online operation and new formats such as at Welcome Break service stations.

Waitrose will be able to better manage the supply of the significant proportion of its range that is fresh, at the same time as meeting its commitment to reduce transport-related CO2 emissions.