Efficient Consumer Response (ECR) is a joint trade and industry body working towards making the grocery sector as a whole more responsive to consumer demand and promote the removal of unnecessary costs from the supply chain.
The ECR movement beginning in the mid-nineties was characterized by the emergence of new principles of collaborative management along the supply chain. It was understood that companies can serve consumers better, faster and at less cost by working together with trading partners. The dramatic advances in information technology, growing competition, global business structures and consumer demand focused on better choice, service convenience, quality, freshness and safety, made it apparent that a fundamental reconsideration of the most effective way of delivering the right products to consumers at the right price was much needed. Non-standardized operational practices and the rigid separation of the traditional roles of manufacturer and retailer threatened to block the supply chain unnecessarily and failed to exploit the synergies that came from powerful new information technologies and planning tools. In other words, ECR allows companies to seek a competitive advantage by demonstrating their superior ability in working together with trading partners to add value to the consumer.
There are four focus areas under ECR: Demand management, Supply management, Enablers and Integrators, which are intended to be addressed as an integrated set. These form the basis of the ECR Global Scorecard.
To better serve the consumer, ECR has set out to invert the traditional model and break down non-productive barriers. The impacts have been extensive and continue to resonate across industry.