BRUSSELS — A long-awaited pilot to test proposed standards for price synchronization will kick off on Jan. 15, 2007, under the auspices of the Global Data Synchronization Network, a division of GS1 here.
A number of retailers, including Wegmans Food Markets, Supervalu and Wal-Mart Stores, have engaged with hundreds of suppliers to synchronize item information such as dimensions and description via the GDSN. However, many companies have long clamored for a standardized way to synchronize price (invoice product cost) — a greater source of error than item information.
“In some ways, we're all like Cubs fans when it comes to price synchronization — it's always maybe next year,” said Lynn Martinez, director sales technology, Cadbury Schweppes Americas Beverages, Plano, Texas. “But the price pilot really will be next year.”
Martinez discussed the impending pilot at the Data Synchronization Summit, held Nov. 2-3 at the Green Valley Ranch Resort in Las Vegas. Cadbury has helped develop the standard and is engaging in its own “peer-to-peer” price synchronization test this year.
More than 130 use cases and business scenarios will be tested during the standards pilot, which will be completed in March. It will be followed by data pool certification. By early June a pricing standard is expected to be available to the industry covering all forms of pricing, including net price, full-truckload pricing, bracket pricing and promotions.
The retailers in the pilot will include Supervalu, Piggly Wiggly, Army & Air Force Exchange Service, Ahold, Carrefour, Tesco, Almacenes Exito, Coles Meyer, Provera and 3663. The suppliers include MasterFoods/M&M Mars, Pepsi, Coca-Cola, Procter & Gamble, Industrias Alimenticias Noel, Colgate, Dean Foods, Vania Expansion SNC (a division of Georgia Pacific), L'Oreal France, Clorox and The Authentic Food Co. Nine data pools will participate, including 1Sync, Agentrics and GXS.
The pricing pilot “is a tremendous global opportunity to prove that the standards we have been working on for years will work,” Martinez said.
Some observers have questioned whether the global network is secure enough to protect sensitive price information targeted for a specific retailer.
Gina Tomassi, senior manager, customer supply chain and logistics, PepsiCo, Purchase, N.Y., defended the network's security at the conference. “We went through extensive security testing,” she said. “We had a third-party security expert audit every security point. So we are very confident in the security of the model.”