With a key focus on the grocery industry, it has become widely accepted by numerous companies across a number of regions, that Efficient Consumer Response (ECR) has become a key catalyst for supply chain reform (Szymankiewicz, 1997). ECR drives forward a number of efficiency initiatives with an aim to re-engineer existing supply chains in the industry in the following areas: product development, product replenishment, store assortment and promotion. These aforementioned initiatives are enabled by a number of programs and supporting technologies, with a strong focus on e-commerce technologies, which have an ultimate goal of integration for all stakeholders within a supply chain. It can therefore be said, that the definitive objective of ECR is to restructure a supply chain in order to allow products be brought effortlessly and continuously from origin to end point, as a result of timely, precise and paperless information flowing both upstream and downstream (Kurt Salmon Associates, 1993). It is important to note that since ECR is an e-commerce enabled inter-organisational system, supply chain partnerships play a critical role in achieving the outlined objectives of ECR (Martin, 1994). ECR is primarily aligned to strategic alliances in the distribution channels, of in this instance the grocery industry, to increase the performance of the supply chain. The success of ECR is a consumer focused distribution approach in which the production is entirely managed by the consumer POS activities. Reacting quickly to consumer needs has recently been a major concern for any retailer regardless of industry, but especially in grocery retail business. Consumer satisfaction is paramount to consolidate competitiveness in retail operations. This approach of responding to consumer demand necessitates continuous replenishment of products at point of sale without keeping avoidable inventories in the supply channel. Moreover, transparency, co-operation, and co-ordination among...
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