WASHINGTON -- A major initiative just launched by the Grocery Manufacturers of America and the Food Marketing Institute here will provide a strategy for an electronic marketplace for manufacturers and their trading partners to communicate and conduct business over the Internet.
The Joint Industry Committee on Electronic Commerce will develop a plan to transform business practices via the Internet away from the current one-on-one communication between trading partners, to an open, interactive environment among manufacturers, distributors and retailers.
Among the participating companies in the committee are Earthgrains Co., St. Louis; J.M. Smucker Co., Orrville, Ohio; Kraft Foods, Northfield, Ill.; Procter & Gamble, Cincinnati; Albertson's, Boise, Idaho; Hannaford Bros., Scarborough, Maine; H.E. Butt Grocery Co., San Antonio, Texas; J. Sainsbury plc, London; Schnuck Markets, St. Louis; Stop & Shop Supermarket Co., Quincy, Mass.; Supervalu, Minneapolis; Wegman's Food Markets, Rochester, N.Y., and Winn-Dixie Stores, Jacksonville, Fla.
The team met late last month to discuss opportunities, and to review ongoing business-to-business electronic commerce projects currently underway. Among areas of interest are UCCNet, a pilot program sponsored by the Uniform Code Council, Dayton, Ohio, to establish a common standard for an industry extranet; and applications such as scan-based trading and collaborative planning, forecasting and replenishment (CPFR).
"Electronic commerce is just beginning in both our industry and everywhere," Danny Wegman, president of Wegman's Food Markets, Rochester, N.Y., and co-chairman of the Joint Committee, said in a statement. "It is important that we lay the proper groundwork in UCCNet that will immediately allow us to take advantage of doing business on the Web." In addition to supporting efforts to develop a "pipeline" for companies to communicate and conduct business transactions, the committee will also explore how the industry can use existing Internet technology to exchange data and conduct business transactions over the Internet.
Along with business-to-business electronic commerce projects, the joint industry committee will also look at business-to-consumer communications, such as on-line selling to the consumer.
Other priorities will be to develop a business strategy to determine how an electronic marketplace will affect the supply chain, what new business processes need to be created, and how trading partners will change their traditional modes of communication.