The Groceries (Supply Chain Practices) Market Investigation Order 2009 (the “Order”) has been in force since 4 February 2010.
The Order implemented the Groceries Supply Code of Practice (the “Code”) which applies to certain grocery retailers, including Asda, and governs our dealings with grocery supplier partners.
Every year we submit an annual compliance report to the Competition and Markets Authority (the “CMA”) and the Groceries Code Adjudicator (the “GCA”) to detail our compliance with the Code, any alleged breaches of the Code and any disputes with suppliers.
We delivered our ninth report, covering the period from 1 January 2019 to 31 December 2019, to the CMA and the GCA on 30 April 2020.
We were encouraged by the results of the GCA’s 2019 Annual Supplier Survey. Supplier partners placed us second amongst the twelve retailers covered by the Code for conducting trading relationships fairly, in good faith and without duress, and fifth in the overall assessment of retailer compliance with the Code.
During 2019 we have taken a number of additional steps to promote Code compliance. We appointed our Chief Ethics and Compliance Officer, Tim Belser, as Asda’s Code Compliance Officer (“CCO”). Tim leads a team dedicated to ensuring the right compliance framework is in place to oversee ongoing adherence with the Code. Further steps we have introduced include:
- Increased transparency of GSCOP related metrics at the most senior levels of the organisation. This helps ensure that the message and overall strategy from Asda Senior Leadership is consistent with GSCOP principles.
- Improvements to Asda’s forecasting processes, including updates to the forecasting critical path in order to drive efficiencies in the planning for orders process, a ways of working framework to support a consistent approach to arriving at a forecasting decision and monitoring tools to improve accuracy and analysis.
- New guidance to support collaborative supplier engagement before formally communicating a delist decision. This has been supplemented by additional monitoring controls.
- Enhanced controls around the management of disputed post-payment audit claims, to promote closer supplier engagement and the amicable resolution of these claims.
To support our aspirations for continuous improvement, we rolled out a suite of new training modules designed to support a number of our business areas.
A total of 579 colleagues received GSCOP training in 2019. This included the launch of a new and improved e-learning module specifically designed for our buyers, which has been updated to reflect current internal processes. We also delivered an instructor-led training module to buying colleagues, which addressed the highest risk issues highlighted by category from the results of the 2019 Supplier Survey. Additionally, we have provided a series of bespoke instructor-led training sessions to non-buying colleagues; including to the Supply, Logistics, Quality and Technical, Merchandising and Finance teams.
We received twenty-nine alleged breaches in 2019. Of these, twenty-seven have been successfully resolved within the reporting period. Of the remaining two, one has been successfully resolved in early 2020. Asda is working collaboratively with the supplier to reach a mutually agreeable resolution for the only ongoing issue raised in 2019.
We did not see any issues raised as disputes, as defined by the Order, during 2019.
We value the inter-dependent relationship that we have established with our supplier partners. Our Code Compliance Officer encourages open and honest feedback with respect to how we are adhering to the Code.
Supplier partners are encouraged to contact Tim Belser, the Code Compliance Officer, at firstname.lastname@example.org, should they have any GSCOP concerns so that the issue can be addressed as a priority.
Date: 30 April 2020