Tuesday, 17 September 2013

Free range humble pie supply chains at Tesco

It's unbelievable, given the horsemeat debacle, that Tesco have now another food supply chain mess. Recall the rhetoric and assurances of lessons learnt and that customers could have confidence in UK food supply chains. We even had Government Minister's trying to sort out the mess. You may have believed the processes had been corrected and risk management and effective contract management put in place.

Yet Tesco have found themselves in another iteration of the same mess. This time supposedly Red Tractor British pork chops were found to lack the appropriate supply chain management performance. The Red Tractor label is supposed to provide an assurance of safety, hygiene and animal welfare - that mark of assurance has now been compromised by Tesco. Tesco didn't even appear aware that 'British' pork chops were actually Dutch!

'Mislabelling' seems to have become a euphemism for fraud, incompetence and inadequate supply chain management, oh yes, and over-pricing!

The key lesson here is that the response to the horsemeat crisis was not effective - it failed to address what are likely to have been systemic weakness which all point to ineffective change. Clearly the response to horsemeat has not been effective.

The lesson for us all is that procurement risk management and contract management are not 'one offs' -they need to be embedded in culture. To me that is the latest Tesco lesson. To me that's the question which all those responsible for procurement now need to test in their own organisations.

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