Sir Peter Davis, group chief executive of the UK's second largest supermarket group, Sainsbury , took industry colleagues by surprise yesterday [Tuesday]. On his recent return to the group after an absence of fifteen years, Davis said that that the information and communications systems in place at the group were often more of a hindrance than a help.Speaking at the annual convention of the Institute of Grocery Distribution, Davis referred to the mass of new technology that has arrived on the scene during his fifteen year absence. Technological advances such as cross-decking, scanning, Just In Time processes and streamlined replenishment had made the ITC arena extremely complex, he said. While Davis and his team have implemented a number of initiatives themselves, he called in Andersen Consulting to overhaul the ITC infrastructure at Sainsbury, as he saw this as the quickest, most efficient way to solve the problems the group was experiencing in this area. He called on retailers to remember that the purpose of technology was to serve customers better, more cheaply and more quickly - it is not an end in itself, a fact some players tend to overlook.