ALEXANDRIA, Va. -- The WorldWide Retail Exchange here said it has formalized an agreement with a data synchronization provider in an effort to streamline transactions between suppliers and retailers.
WWRE officials said it will use the Dallas-based viaLink's , syncLink data-synchronization services for its exchange members.
According to Cindy Cruzado, director of worldwide item management for WWRE, viaLink will be the first of several preferred partners in an effort to streamline data synchronization.
The move is a key component in the electronic effort to streamline transactions between suppliers and retailers, she said.
WWRE is one of the three major electronic trading exchanges geared to the food industry. The other two are GlobalNetXchange, San Francisco, and Transora, Chicago.
The alliance is an integral step in the collaborative venture to provide the WWRE community with an enhanced level of product information standardization and visibility, she said.
"We are looking to provide global visibility to local product information by bringing together multiple roles and organizations, and laying out a roadmap for that collaboration using global standards," Cruzado said.
"The movement toward synchronization is really starting," she added.
The agreement with viaLink will expand the WWRE's synchronization capacity beyond base-item information to the level of advanced commerce data, she said.
Now members will have real-time access to promotional details in addition to generic product descriptions.
Retailers and suppliers will be able to collaborate on issues such as quantity, geographic availability and duration, boosting efficiencies and saving dollars throughout the supply chain, she said.
One of the major benefits of advanced commerce-level synchronization is bridging the frequent disconnect between retailers and suppliers at the time of delivery, she added.
The manual process of updating item information is a time-consuming chore, and doesn't get done with much regularity, Cruzado explained.
Due to inconsistencies in retailer and supplier item catalogs, receiving managers often have a different price on items than the person making the delivery. This can lead to product being rejected and wasted time and money being spent on trying to reconcile disparate pricing expectations after the fact.
With electronic synchronization, the information will always be accurate and up to date, and won't depend on a manual process.
Eliminating those errors will allow merchandisers to focus on more strategic activities, she added.
This service is particularly valuable for the grocers contending with direct-store delivery on fast-moving product subject to frequent promotion, she added.