Retail giant Asda plans to keep suppliers better informed about its stock requirements by moving its Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) systems to the internet, giving it faster, cheaper and more secure data.
Asda's information systems development director, Andy Haywood, told vnunet.com that the retailer has successfully migrated a number of companies to its new communication protocol.
The next big milestone is to have more EDI data moving over the internet than through traditional routes, he added.
The work done by Asda is a further implementation of the technology already being rolled out in the US by parent company Wal-Mart.
Haywood described the project as a "significant undertaking".
"We believe AS2 offers potential benefits to Asda and our suppliers. We are working with suppliers to find the best time for them to make the change. We are not imposing the change," he said.
"Because of this we will deal independently with each case, and therefore cannot provide an end date for the project."
In addition to cutting the cost of transporting data compared to traditional EDI, using the AS2 protocol over the internet allows real-time transmission, immediate notification of receipt, earlier receipt of orders and a cost-free increase in forecasting frequency.
"This is about reducing the cost of doing business for everyone, and making shopping cheaper for the everyday working customers who shop at our stores," said Haywood.
Migration does not require replacement of current EDI systems, but can mean the addition of another communication protocol behind the scenes.
"We work with each supplier to ensure the timescale, and testing cycle of their conversion fits best with their needs," he said.
Asda is working with a number of AS2 providers including Sterling Commerce.
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