WASHINGTON -- Ahold is urging operating companies worldwide to adopt the new Global Data Synchronization Network (GDSN), the standards-based data sync platform launched last fall.
Thus far, Giant-Carlisle, Pa., Albert Heijn, Zaandam, Netherlands, and ICA, Solna, Sweden, are in different stages of developing the capability to find and receive information about suppliers' products through the GDSN, according to Rhonda Horn, director of global adoption strategies, Ahold USA, Quincy, Mass. Ahold's global headquarters are in Zaandam, Netherlands.
Horn discussed the company's global data synchronization strategy at Food Marketing Institute's Marketechnics show, held Feb. 13 to 15 at the Washington Convention Center here.
Ahold has selected the Worldwide Retail Exchange (WWRE), Alexandria, Va., as its home data pool.
WWRE serves as Ahold's single point of entry into the GDSN, which is managed by Brussels, Belgium-based EAN International (also called GS1) and Uniform Code Council, Lawrenceville, N.J., parent of UCCnet, which is now the U.S. data pool.
Giant-Carlisle is currently "going through multiple levels of testing with [GDSN's] global registry," said Horn. American Sales Co., Ahold's U.S. distribution facility for health and beauty products and private-label goods, is also running tests with the GDSN.
In Europe, Albert Heijn is transacting test data with the WWRE data pool and the global registry, said Horn. "It's partnering with the merchandising portion of the business and meeting with suppliers about getting them onboard with the GDSN."
Although ICA is not currently transacting data on the GDSN, it is assessing its technical readiness to do so, and is committed to the GDSN, she said.
Ahold is actively encouraging its other banners, including Giant-Landover, Md. and Tops Friendly Markets, Williamsville, N.Y., to participate in the GDSN. Horn personally encourages adoption through visits made to executives of Ahold's operating companies. "I bring them through three phases: education, engagement and enrollment," she explained.
During the education phase, Horn describes standards, benefits and industry adoption. "Once we gain a little bit of commitment [from the operating company], we enter the engagement process where we build the business case," she said. That is important "because data synchronization is not about technology, but about how you're going to change business processes and transact more accurate item-level information."
Ahold is assisted in this three-part process by the GDSLaunch Pad (gdslaunchpad.com), a free tool developed by FMI, Grocery Manufacturers of America and Deloitte Consulting.