Headquartered in Cape Town, Woolworths is one of South Africa’s leading retailers, with annual revenues of $3.6 billion. The company has more than 400 stores in Africa, selling food, home, clothing and beauty products; 95 percent of these products are sold under Woolworths’ private brand labels.

Woolworths aims to grow into a large, one-stop destination for multiple food products while retaining its original vision of delighting customers with a difference. Part of that commitment involves providing superior-quality food products that deliver freshness and flavor.  Its more than 8,000 long-life and perishable food products have shelf lives varying from a few hours to 12 months. The majority of the products are produced under Woolworths’ private label. Hence, the company maintains a robust set of hygiene and food safety guidelines, as well as best practices and protocols, as the benchmark for suppliers involved in producing the private-label products.

“Our vision was to have a single, overarching sustainable food quality system to earn customer trust,” says Tracy Vogt, Woolworths technical manager.

“We are constantly faced with global food safety challenges including food scarcity, foodborne illnesses, unintentional contamination and intentional adulteration. Other trends we monitor are customer health and nutrition, lifestyle diseases and food security issues that stem from global climate change and population growth.”

Woolworths looked for a way to establish an integrated program for managing quality and safety across its supply chain. After evaluating several software solutions, the company selected MetricStream software to streamline, automate and integrate supplier quality and safety management, supplier audits and policy and document management and reporting. Used by 600 people across the enterprise and supplier base, the software facilitates cross-functional collaboration while also providing real-time supplier reports and insights that aid in problem solving, strengthen supplier management and enable fast, effective decision-making.

Some problem areas the software fixed include: monitoring more than 500 suppliers for food quality/safety performance; monitoring potential hazards and safety risks; removing the paper trail for supplier and product quality information; and simplifying data complexities created by a multitude of suppliers, compliance requirements, risks, and quality and safety elements.

Woolworths implemented MetricStream’s Supplier Quality Management Solution to integrate, streamline and automate various quality and safety processes. It also improves the speed at which hygiene and housekeeping audits are reported and concluded, and reduces the amount of time for issues to be highlighted and addressed. A web-based interface offers a single point of reference for managing food quality and safety across the supply chain. The system ties together all audit data and communications across internal food technologists, secondary and tertiary suppliers, stores, auditors and the head office.

For more information: Shankar Bhaskaran, +44 79428 53532, shankar@metricstream.com.