Tuesday 24 June 2014

GSCOP in practice - Inaugural Groceries Code Adjudicator Conference

A view from the third row, for those who may have missed a trick by not attending…

Given the relatively low media profile and perceived supplier-retailer apathy re. matters GSCOP since its inauguration in 2009, it was good to participate in a revelatory catch-up at the GCA conference yesterday.

The first surprise was the fact that with upwards of 200 delegates, this inaugural conference occupied the main ‘IGD’ hall at the QE11 Conference Centre, Westminster.

The audience comprised a unique mix of supplier and retailer Code Compliance Officers, trade associations, legal practices, governmental and senior sales, not only from the UK, but equivalent groupings from Canada, Australia, New Zealand, The Netherlands, Ireland, Czech Republic and Norway.

In other words, a high level of interest in these first steps in optimising supplier-retailer relationships in one of the world’s most competitive markets, possibly serving as a template for adaptation abroad.

People came prepared to talk and share experiences and concerns, as evidenced by audience reaction to presentations from a combination of the GCA, British Brands Group, Code Compliance Officers from Tesco and Morrisons, emphasising the scope and opportunities of applying GSCOP in practice followed by an active Q&A session from an increasingly participative audience.

YouGov then presented the findings from the GCA-commissioned research to explore the views, experiences, attitudes, and expectations of suppliers in relation to the Code.

..and therein lay the second surprise... In an industry known for its low key, non-participative response to matters GSCOP, there were 574 responses to the survey – of which 528 were from a mix of direct and indirect suppliers, a ‘robust sample for this type of population’, to quote YouGov. Full details are available here
Christine Tacon presented the GCA Annual report summarising progress to date especially the agreement by major retailers to limit post–audit-recovery to three years, instead of the statutory six years allowed in UK law. This single step should reduce significantly the time, frustration and friction of trying to ‘re-negotiate’ promotional agreements six years in arrears.

The afternoon was devoted to a mix of four very interactive workshops dealing with Enforcement, Genesis of the Code, Success evaluation - survey follow-up  and Trade Associations discussions of supplier issues under the Code.

Details of most sessions are available here

On balance, a good-faith and successful series of initial steps aimed at building a productive basis for improved supplier-retailer relationships, evidenced by the animated discussions with new contacts during the breaks.

It could be now said that we have arrived at the end of the beginning for GSCOP, roll on next year’s conference…

Nice one, Christine….  

No comments: