Morrisons is the fourth largest supermarket chain in the UK, with 500 stores nationwide that stock thousands of varied products. Ensuring the efficient logistics and distribution of products from suppliers to stores is key to ensuring customers’ needs are met, as well as mitigating wider issues such as waste minimisation and reducing carbon emissions.

This challenge will focus on how to optimise the flow of products from suppliers through depots to the stores. The flow of products begins with forecasted sales data, which is the predicted quantity of sales for products on a specific day. Based on this forecast, products flow from suppliers to distribution depots and finally to stores.

Morrisons provided the challenge team with sales forecast data for a 28 day horizon, alongside the start of day stock position for day 0. The challenge is to confirm, for each day in the next 28 days, how much of each product Morrisons should order from the depot and how much they should send out to each of the three stores. This consists of simultaneously ensuring that there is enough stock in store to meet forecasted demand, while minimising the amount of food waste and delivery mileage that may result from Morrisons’ supply chain operations. The overall cost function for optimisation is therefore to minimise the cost of wasted goods and the cost of transportation, subject to a variety of assumptions and logistical constraints.

Citation information

Data Study Group team. (2022, April 27). Data Study Group Final Report: Morrisons. Zenodo. https://doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.6498140

Additional information

PIs: Josie McCulloch, Maxwell Barton