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Overview of the Coles Group Ltd

Discuss about the Supply Chain Management for Coles Group Ltd.

In present business world, supply chain management (SCM) is considered as one of the most essential elements of running business competently in the global market. It is crucial for satisfying customers and making the business profitable. Effective SCM is crucial for rapid growth of multinational organisations. Without an efficient SCM, companies may face issues in sourcing, environmental concerns that can affect the bottom line and business strategy significantly. Therefore, considering SCM as the most important corporate discipline, the present study focuses on logistic management or SCM of Coles group ltd. The company is Australian based and operates several retail stores. The company ranks second among the retail chains. The company has an effective supply chain management that helped them to improve their customer service considerably across the world. Further, this study analyses the link between the business activities of Coles and LB5230 theories. In addition, it also evaluates the sustainability of the value chain of the company.

Coles group ltd. is operating retail stores in Australia and providing international food products, health products, household products and business products. This company is also offering its product through online sites. The company was acquired by the western Australian public company known as wesfarmers but the ownership was transferred to the Coles group in the year 2007. The company opened its first variety store in Melbourne in 1914. The company head office is constructed in Melbourne, which consists of multi building and large-scale multi level facility. The company comes in second rank as the world’s largest retailer. The company is national service retailer of supermarket owning more than 770 stores and supermarkets throughout Australia. The Coles group has a rich history in Australia with its first retail store in the Melbourne since 1914. The aim of the company is to provide the people of Australia the shop which they can trust by delivering products and services. The company has about 101,000 staff and numerous outlets nationally. The Coles group also operates online supermarket by enabling the customers to login from anywhere and anytime in order to order grocery products and services. The company delivers its products by having good control over the supply chain management in temperature-controlled vans in the particular time period across the Australia (, 2016).

According to (Olson and Wu, 2011, p. 401) Australia has the most efficient supermarket supply chain of the world. The retail revolution needs a supply chain alteration that can identify the contemporary variable and unpredictable demands of customers and the shortage of scalability of old systems. The company has succeeded in getting fame with its improved supply chain management. As stated by (Stank et al. 2011, p. 940) Coles group is having the most organised supply chain of the grocery and other health and business products. The company focused on changing their approach regarding SCM and adopted the required changes and controls for making their supply chain effective. The effectiveness of this development can be accessed through their profitability. The company has developed an organised retail supply chain that has facilitated them to supply efficiently to their customers to gain customer satisfaction. The company maintains online supply chain portal for SCM that helps in supporting efficient working relationship between the company and the suppliers. This helps in providing better communication and coordination in order to drive efficiency throughout the supply chain. The portal is providing the suppliers with the information so that they can assess the performance on a daily basis in order to identify the opportunities for improvements in the value chain.

Logistic or Supply Chain Management from the Source to the Customer

Coles group ltd. is concerned with maintaining the effectiveness of their supply chain. The company has set up their supply chain management system in a manner to ensure that all their supplier centres can fulfill the requirement of all their retail supermarkets. The company managed to focus on the core competent environment by becoming much more flexible in the supply chain management. The company eliminated the levels of middle management and empowered their employees so that they can provide effective services to their customers in their own ways (Carter and Liane Easton, 2011, p. 46). The company ensures to maintain the supply chain in order to improve the collaboration and trust between the chain partners ultimately improving the visibility of its inventory and the supply chain movement. Coles group ensures that it relies on efficient supply chain networks to maintain its position in the competitive retail chain market and in the economy network.

As opined by (Yi et al. 2011, p. 271) in Australia, the approaches toward supply chain management for grocery retailer is regarded as one of the most effective supply chain management system and therefore, the approach is highly copied by the other retailers around the world to survive in the global market. The company tries to work closely with its suppliers in order to take appropriate measures regarding the regular improvement to have discussions with the chain management about the threats and opportunities and to assess the areas where the necessary improvements are required.

Coles group maintains a very good supply chain management by delivering goods and services to the customer in a specified time. The company ensures that the customers are provided with quality product and services without compromising any factor responsible in the supply chain management. The company operates its logistic operations by putting in operation two centres for receiving, dispatch and processing of the goods and merchandise and some other grocery items for supermarkets. The purpose is to streamline the delivery of products to the outlets and supermarkets in order to reduce the supplier cost. The company maintains a smooth flow of merchandise to the retail outlets and the supermarkets in order to avoid problems the company maintains a good communication between the buyer in not less than three working days to the date of delivery or the dispatch date for the store orders. The company carries out logistic management tasks very efficiently. Coles group ltd. has warehouse and distribution centres of the retail in order to keep the retail stock aligned with the customer demands. The efficient inventory management system helps the company to identify what products and goods amount is needed to be held and also the location to meet the changes in the customer demands.

As stated by (Hugos, 2011, p. 67) the company has improved its efficiency in the logistic operations by collaborating with the suppliers closely in order to maximize the   supply chain as a  whole.  Coles group has gained fame in very short period like other retailers it has opted for in store picking operations and home delivery options. The company improves its supply chain from the moment the product is leaving the manufacturer warehouse by maintaining a source tagging in order to keep track of the inventory and the stock levels by having an increased awareness of the location and volume of the merchandise which is available at at all the supply chain channels. Monczka et al. (2015, p. 79) opined that this helps the company to keep its inventory management and the supply chain informed at all the operational levels to perform better and to make better business decisions. The warehouse stock and inventory levels are  monitored on a regular basis to detect out of stock situation. The tagged products in the warehouse also guide the pickers of the exact location making faster delivery and better customer satisfaction (Christopher, 2016, p. 78). The supply chain team can determine what amount of product is required in order to prevent short falling and the information about the products shipment. Scott et al. (2011, p. 67) stated that this helps in minimizing and avoiding delays in the delivery of products to the customers. Coles group believes in the creation of better retail experience for its customers. The company has tried to expand its confectionery by providing temperature controlled warehouses with careful handling of the products (Waters, 2011, p. 56).The cole’s focus is on the storage and timely distribution rather than on its transportation. The retail clients of the company are the national distributors so the goods come from all suppliers to the warehouse of the Coles group ltd. where the goods are picked and packaging is done so that it can be done to the customers and to the retail outlets within Australia. The company follows effective business to business e commerce which is an essential part of the Coles supply chain management and the distribution management which acts as a fundamental way to interact and exchange with the suppliers in timely and accurate manner (,2016).

Hazen, et al. (2011, p.375) mentioned that the LB5230 theory contains of managing strategies resources and operations during marketing and strategic planning. This course contains of Australian perspective under the broad umbrella of global goods and services with a particular focus of china and emerging role in global commerce. The company has the ability to sell their products in America, European countries, Asia pacific Australia etc. However, they need to know the business and to change the strategy as per requirement for global scenario. Melnyk et al. (2012, p.37) mentioned that the World Bank recently ranked Singapore as the number one logistic hub among 155 country. Business houses making their own business head quarter over there. Supply chain management is based on the principle that practically helps to reach on every person's hand. The concept of value chain can be described as a high level model of how business receive raw materials as input. It adds more value to the supply chain management (Tang and Musa 2011, p.30).

Thun and Hoenig, (2011, p.247) stated that Coles Group Ltd adds value to their supply chain management system by hiring people around the world in their supply chain management business. This business runs because of the strategy and marketing technique of Coles Group Ltd. The course helps the students to make a career in business and related professions. This also helps the student to apply critical thinking to address issues in business. It employ technical and non-technical skills like numeracy, quick decision making etc for the students for professional practice in business. In 1980s this company was with Myer Ltd and then it was named as Coles Myer Ltd. Later the Coles bought the whole share from the stakeholders and became the Coles Group Ltd. Then they started the global business in supply chain management. It was a very profitable business and they soon started open their branches all over the Australia. That helps the company to grow up very soon. After that, they started hiring people for their management change. Later they added some value in their supply chain management business. In 2001, Coles planned to hire John Fletcher as chief executive. He planned to reengineer the business system to make it bigger. However, that actually helped the company to get the business on a rise. That is how the cole became one of the best company in supply chain management (Cao and Zhang, 2011, p.170).

Lambert et al. (2012, p.10)Sustainable value chain has significant impact on food system through enhancing economic sustainability by creating added some values social sustainability by fascinating more equitable distribution of added value among stakeholders and environmental sustainability by reducing ecological footprints throughout the value chain management. Aimed on policy making and project designing and the field of practicing, the value chain always creates some value to it's potential field. Sustainable value chain management is used in Coles Group Ltd too. The steps in order to follow the process are:

Product planning and design - Project planned and designed are done on this step. All the supply chain business of Coles Group Ltd is planned from here. This is the first step of the project. All the business strategy are made on this step. The main goal of the strategy making is to give the best product to the customer in cheap value (Ageron, et al. 2012, p.170).

Project development - Project is being developed on this step. All the raw sources are brought on this phase in count and make the development done by the managers. This is the 2nd step of the supply chain management. Coles Group Ltd must choose a supplier to deliver the goods and services they need to create their product. Therefore, supply chain managers need to set a pricing, delivery and payment process with the suppliers and create metric to improve the relationship with the suppliers (Liu et al. 2012, p.606).

Making the project - All the planning are implemented here by the high level experienced managers. Raw materials are then turn into sellable products. The product is manufactured, tested, packaged and scheduled for delivery.  Managers are to schedule the activities to do on this step. These steps are the most metric-intensive portion of the supply chain. On this step managers do measure the production output and workers activities.

Return - The final step of the supply chain management is known as return. As the name suggest, during this stage, customer may defective products. The company will also address customer's question in this stage. Coles Group Ltd also addresses questions in this stage. This can be a problematic part of the supply chain management (Liu et al. 2012, p.606).

Coles Group Ltd runs their business on 3 types of planning:

Strategic - At this level, Coles Group Ltd is looking for high level strategic planning and decision making to make more profit out of the business.

Tactical - Tactical decision focus on adopting measures that will produce cost benefits such as using industry best practices and developing warehouse strategies for the company.

Operational - Coles Group Ltd makes operational decision on the business to get the most profit out of any situation.

According to the recent news, it has been viewed that, the WWF and Coles Sustainable Seafood Partnership was finished in December 2014. Expanding on the achievement of this association, WWF and Coles have started another system to enhance Coles' more extensive natural execution in new ways.

Cao and Zhang, (2011, p.169) mentioned that as an aftereffect of the WWF and Coles Sustainable Seafood Partnership, and Coles' more extensive Responsibly Sourced fish program, Coles has made noteworthy change to its fish offer, including expanding the quantity of MSC-and ASC-ensured fish items over its reach. Coles is the primary national grocery store in Australia to present named MSC-and ASC-ensured fish in its shop to join the offer in its canned and solidified extent.

Thun and Hoenig, (2011, p.248) stated that Coles remains a signatory to the WWF Global Sustainable Seafood Charter, focusing on proceeding with work with WWF to defend significant marine eco-frameworks, guarantee the long time suitability of fish supplies, and to specially source and advance MSC-and ASC-confirmed items.


From the study presented, it can be concluded that the Coles Group ltd. has effective supply chain management in the retail market. The well-managed process ensures that the suppliers of the needed quality are available at the right time, location and cost. The company has the most organised and better supply chain management ensuring better marketplace and customer satisfaction. The effective supply chain management involves joint collaboration with the partners, customers and the suppliers. The SCM involves the integration of these tasks in order to improve the information flow in the management. The achievement of sustainable competition with high quality product and services involving lesser costs is the ultimate objective of Coles group.

Reference list

Hugos, M.H., (2011). Essentials of supply chain management (Vol. 62). John Wiley & Sons.

Christopher, M., (2016). Logistics & supply chain management. Pearson Higher Ed.

Waters, D., (2011). Supply chain risk management: vulnerability and resilience in logistics. Kogan Page Publishers.

Monczka, R.M., Handfield, R.B., Giunipero, L.C. and Patterson, J.L., (2015).Purchasing and supply chain management. Cengage Learning.

Scott, C., Lundgren, H. and Thompson, P., (2011). Guide to supply chain management. Springer Science & Business Media.

Carter, C.R. and Liane Easton, P., (2011). Sustainable supply chain management: evolution and future directions. International journal of physical distribution & logistics management, 41(1), pp.46-62.

Yi, C.Y., Ngai, E.W.T. and Moon, K.L., (2011). Supply chain flexibility in an uncertain environment: exploratory findings from five case studies. Supply Chain Management: An International Journal, 16(4), pp.271-283.

Olson, D.L. and Wu, D., (2011). Risk management models for supply chain: a scenario analysis of outsourcing to China. Supply Chain Management: An International Journal, 16(6), pp.401-408.

Stank, T.P., Paul Dittmann, J. and Autry, C.W., (2011). The new supply chain agenda: a synopsis and directions for future research. International Journal of Physical Distribution & Logistics Management, 41(10), pp.940-955.

Hazen, B.T., Cegielski, C. and Hanna, J.B., (2011). Diffusion of green supply chain management: Examining perceived quality of green reverse logistics.The International Journal of Logistics Management, 22(3), pp.373-389.

Melnyk, S.A., Page, T.J., Wu, S.J. and Burns, L.A., (2012). Would you mind completing this survey: Assessing the state of survey research in supply chain management. Journal of Purchasing and Supply Management, 18(1), pp.35-45.

Tang, O. and Musa, S.N., (2011). Identifying risk issues and research advancements in supply chain risk management. International journal of production economics, 133(1), pp.25-34.

Thun, J.H. and Hoenig, D., (2011). An empirical analysis of supply chain risk management in the German automotive industry. International Journal of Production Economics, 131(1), pp.242-249.

Cao, M. and Zhang, Q., (2011). Supply chain collaboration: Impact on collaborative advantage and firm performance. Journal of Operations Management, 29(3), pp.163-180.

Lambert, D.M., Cooper, M.C. and Pagh, J.D., (2012). Supply chain management: implementation issues and research opportunities. The international journal of logistics management, 9(2), pp.1-20.

Ageron, B., Gunasekaran, A. and Spalanzani, A., (2012). Sustainable supply management: An empirical study. International Journal of Production Economics, 140(1), pp.168-182.

Liu, Z.L., Anderson, T.D. and Cruz, J.M., (2012). Consumer environmental awareness and competition in two-stage supply chains. European Journal of Operational Research, 218(3), pp.602-613.

Websites,(2016), Supply Chain Analysis [Available from: accessed on 04-07-2016], (2016), Coles Supermarket [Available from: accessed on 04-07-2016]

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