CHICAGO -- The official launch of UCCnet, an industry supported Internet trading community, will take place later this month, said Paul Benchener, president and chief operating officer, speaking at the E-Business Summit here last month.
The ambitious extranet project is a subsidiary of the Uniform Code Council, Lawrenceville, N.J. The actual start-up, which will take place around the time of the July 25 celebratory event, will involve the six pilot working group companies: Supervalu, Wegmans, Kroger, Ralston Purina, Pepsico's Frito-Lay and Procter & Gamble, Benchener said. Ahold and Kraft are set to join UCCnet soon afterwards, probably in August or September, he said.
"The significance of the launch is that for the first time in any industry, we will have the capability to ensure that the information they are using between them and their trading partners is synchronized," he told SN after the E-Business Summit presentation. "That is absolutely essential to future success in supply-chain management.
"The trouble today is that the data is not synchronized between trading partners, therefore that can't really be assured that even if they are using a forecasting application, for example, that they are talking about the same information, so they can't really collaborate on forecasting."
Alpha testing was scheduled to begin on July 3, with beta testing to follow two weeks after that, he said. "We'll be very close to releasing the product on July 25 and it could actually be released that day," Benchener said.
The initial "foundational" phase of UCCnet will include data compliance checking and data synchronization, with item pricing and imaging information to follow in the fall. "Some of that depends on what we have done in terms of defining the requirements and some of it depends on the solution providers that are developing compliant applications," he said.
Future uses of UCCnet could include item search capabilities, scan-based trading and collaborative planning, forecasting and replenishment, advanced logistics and auction systems, and consumer marketing.
"We truly envision this as something that is going to help us drive the new item set-up process from the suppliers all the way down to retail," said Greg Zwanziger, director of electronic commerce, Supervalu, Minneapolis. Zwanziger also participated in the UCCnet panel at the E-Business Summit.
It takes a wholesaler like Supervalu up to 12 weeks longer than a self-distributing chain to get a new item to the retailers' shelves, according to Zwanziger. "UCCnet is one of the key pieces that we envision helping us streamline the process of not only getting the data and syncrhonizing it more quickly, but actually driving efficiencies into the system, all the way through the business process," he said.