VCA Strategy Manager

Job Type Business Change and Improvement
Location Bracknell Campus
Partnership Level 6
Closing Date 30/01/2023
Vacancy Type Permanent
Salary £55,400.00 - £80,500.00
Salary Frequency Annual
Hours of Work 35 hours per week


We want all of our Partners to have a good work-life balance and we support flexible working. This might mean flexible or compressed hours, job sharing or shorter hour contracts, where it is possible to do so. Please discuss this further with the hiring manager during your interview.


Working in Partnership for a happier world – our shared Purpose that guides us in everything we do and inspires 3 important principles; happier people, happier business, happier world. The John Lewis Partnership is a truly unique business, one that seeks to make a positive difference to the lives of everyone.

What’s the role about?

Working in Partnership for a happier world - our shared Purpose that guides us in everything we do and inspires 3 important principles; happier people, happier business, happier world. The John Lewis Partnership is a truly unique business, one that seeks to make a positive difference to the lives of everyone.

We have an exciting opportunity to join a new team at Waitrose, responsible for delivering material reductions in cost of goods. The ambition of the team is high, and measured directly by our impact on the P&L - each team member will be expected to identify millions of pounds of savings a year if we are to meet our goals.

We are looking for curious, passionate and analytical people with excellent communication and influencing skills. You don’t need to have any experience in buying or the food retail industry to be successful in this role - we’re looking for skills and behaviours, not particular backgrounds or subject matter expertise.

Value Chain Analysis (VCA) is a strategic approach to sourcing that prioritises understanding the key processes of production and distribution - the “value chain” - to ensure that we source our products in the most effective way possible. We look end-to-end at everything from costs of raw material, through to manufacturing and distribution, and even into the costs associated with our own supply chain and retail operation to understand everything it takes to get our products onto our shelves. 

As a VCA Strategy Manager, you will be the focal point for setting the strategy of how we source products in the categories you support. It will be your research, analysis and presentation of the facts that will lead to strategic change. A VCA project is a “deep dive” into how food production really works, understanding the economics of the industry, to make our sourcing as cost-effective as possible. A project will typically culminate in a tender or contractual negotiations.

You will be part of a small team pursuing VCA projects in other categories. Within your own projects, you will be working closely with Trading, Product, Technical, Agriculture, Merchandising, Supply Chain, Commercial Management and our Suppliers. You will be a champion for end-to-end thinking, and help build tools, templates and training to embed a “VCA mindset” across the commercial team.

We’re building something new, and supporting each other through the challenges of doing something for the first time will be critical. 

This is a blended working role, therefore your time will primarily be split between working from home and the Bracknell Head Office. However, there will also be an expectation to visit suppliers, depots and other locations as the need arises in the course of your projects.

What will you be doing?

You will lead the development of Waitrose’s sourcing strategy in key own brand categories. Working alongside cross-functional teams, you will have the primary ownership across all elements of a VCA project including scoping, planning, analysis, supplier engagement, internal engagement and presentation of findings and recommendations on sourcing strategy to senior managers and the commercial leadership team.

Working in partnership with Trading, you will manage tenders, and negotiate and develop complex buying models / long term agreements with Waitrose’s biggest suppliers. 

You will also be expected to provide support and challenge to the rest of the VCA team, and help drive strategic sourcing change across the whole VCA project portfolio. 

External candidates, please see full job outline attached.

Internal Partners, please access the full job outline here: 

What will you have?

  • Exceptional analytical capability, with experience of producing analytical work of demonstrable impact

  • Exceptional financial and commercial acumen

  • Strong relationship building and influencing skills, with the ability to adapt your style to different audiences and levels of seniority

  • Excellent communication and presentation skills, able to tell compelling fact-based stories and explain complex analysis to non-technical audiences  

  • Experience of situations which require a high degree of initiative, problem solving and driving decision making at pace

  • Comfort with high levels of ambiguity and autonomy, particularly in the context of managing a project

  • Strong qualitative and quantitative research skills

  • Advanced Excel/Powerpoint skills

What else could you bring? 

  • The team is new and we're in a changing environment, so an ability to deal with ambiguity with energy, positivity & enthusiasm is really important

  • Any experience in value chain analysis/strategic sourcing, commercial negotiation, food production or leading strategic projects would be useful but not essential

Please note:

We occasionally close vacancies early in the event we receive a high volume of applications. Therefore, we recommend you apply early. 

We anticipate interviews to be held virtually Feb 2023.  


As a business we encourage flexible working. We have a number of different ways to work flexibly, so at your interview feel free to talk about what flexibility means to you. There are no guarantees, however, examples of how our Partners already work flexibly include part-time, job share, home working and compressed hours.

Internal use only:




We positively celebrate Diversity & Inclusion in the John Lewis Partnership. Our aim is to become the UK’s most inclusive business - for our Partners and for our customers, reflecting and connecting with the diverse communities that we serve. We want people from all walks of life to feel valued for their individuality, thrive in our business and share a sense of belonging. To find out more about D&I in the John Lewis Partnership visit this site -

Attachment: VCA Strat Man JD.pdf 


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