PORTLAND, Ore. -- In a move to remain year-2000 compliant with its trading partners and to better process electronic data interchange operations, Fred Meyer Stores here is extending an agreement with a third-party business-to-business electronic commerce provider.
Under the agreement, the third-party company will provide a year-2000 compliance testing service for the retailer's EDI trading partners, as well as facilitate various business-to-business e-commerce efforts.
"With our pending merger with Kroger, we decided to sign for only one year," said Laurel Hardt, senior vice president and chief information officer at Fred Meyer. Fred Meyer was acquired by Kroger Co., Cincinnati, in a $12 billion deal in October 1998.
The new testing program will enable Fred Meyer to avoid potential problems that may arise in the areas of e-commerce when dealing with its trading partners.
"Electronic commerce has helped Fred Meyer build mutually rewarding business partnerships with our suppliers and enhance the efficiency of our supply chain," said Hardt. To keep these operations successful, "we need to determine who has fixed what they need to [concerning year-2000 readiness]," said Hardt.
In addition, the third-party provider, Sterling Commerce, Columbus, Ohio, will facilitate Fred Meyer's EDI operations. These practices include business-critical purchasing and invoicing operations, as well as the sharing of information with suppliers.
The retailer is looking to expand its range of EDI transactions with existing suppliers, and to increase the number of companies it transacts business with electronically. To achieve this goal, Hardt believes the future of business-to-business e-commerce involves the adoption of the Internet.
"We are going to continue to turn to EDI for business where it makes sense for us to do it," said Hardt. "However, we are also looking at the potential of using the Internet for these transactions. We see the future as a combination of the two. This one-year agreement will help us move closer to our goals of industry leadership, and continued expansion of our electronic commerce program."