One Truth for all - Retailers, Suppliers and Carriers
by Deepak Sharma on Wednesday, January 02, 2008
Internet Retailer is reporting on how web based information systems are enabling retailers, suppliers, carriers and freight forwarders to track the shipment status at multiple points between a supplier’s warehouse and a retailer’s distribution center, and from carriers in all modes of transport.
These retail supply chain systems—from technology and services vendors including GXS Inc., GT Nexus Inc. and E2open Inc.—are helping retailers move beyond the embattled advance ship notices and into a method of receiving updates on shipment status at multiple points between a supplier’s warehouse and a retailer’s distribution center, and from carriers in all modes of transport.
Using a web-based system enables suppliers, carriers and freight forwarders to enter shipment status reports into a single, centralized system, where companies like GXS and GT Nexus synchronize data, ensuring all parties are using common product and shipping definitions and letting all parties, including retailers, access a single version of the facts. Under more conventional systems, a retailer might re-enter information from a shipper’s advance ship notice into its own shipping management application, where the information may not be the same as that kept by a carrier.
A key metric derived from carrier collaboration systems, experts say, is the ability to shorten the lead time between ordering products and receiving them in a distribution center. This helps retailers increase sales by getting products on the shelves in time for planned customer demand, and it saves inventory costs by letting them hold less safety stock to compensate for late-arriving goods.