Sainsbury?s has teamed up with Kewill Electronic Commerce to offer Web-based ecommerce solution to its small and medium sized suppliers.
Kewill Xtra Trade will enable even the smallest supplier to trade electronically without having to invest in a costly electronic data interchange (EDI) system.
As one of the country?s leading retailers, Sainsbury?s has thousands of suppliers, 60 per cent of which are small companies who might only trade seasonally, and so would not have the resources to invest in EDI.
Kewill Electronic Commerce will work alongside Sainsbury?s to build an Internet infrastructure to link suppliers via a range of scalable trading options. Sainsbury?s hopes to be trading with 700 suppliers over the Internet by early next year.
Sainsbury's has been using EDI for more than 10 years and 96 per cent of orders are already placed electronically, via EDI or its Autofax system. But it still receives 75,000 paper invoices each month. With Kewill Xtra Trade, a small company will be able to have a two-way online dialogue with Sainsbury?s, whereas Sainsbury?s EDI to fax-based system only allows for a on-way flow of information.
Orders, confirmations, forecasting and invoices can be sent and received via an auditable process, improving communication and service levels.
David Cullis, managing director of Kewill Electronic Commerce said this is only the beginning and future messaging applications will include advanced notification of dispatch, price file exchanges, sales information, stock availability and a facility to broadcast information via email.
?For business to business ecommerce to be pervasive smaller companies need to buy into it,? said Cullis. ?It must be simple and inexpensive. It won?t happen unless electronic trading is available to the masses. It needs to be as pervasive as the fax machine, which it will replace.?
Xtra Trade is particularly suitable for slow transaction volume, new companies or those which only trade a few months of the year. It has already rolled the system out to 20 suppliers with another 80 on board immediately after Christmas.
Grosvenor of London supplies Sainsbury?s and other retailers with children?s toiletries and was looking to exchange information with multiple retailers via the Internet. It previously received orders by fax and had now switched to Xtra Trade.
Mick Miller, director of information systems at Grosvenor of London said, ?Increasing the velocity of supply chain transactions and the flow of information via ecommerce is strategic to our future success. In the past our customers have asked us to support a wide range of proprietary EDI software applications, which is too costly for a relatively small company.?
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