Retail high street giant Dixons Stores Group (DSG) is attempting to move all of its suppliers over to electronic trading to make its supply chain more efficient.
DSG has 374 merchandise suppliers, of which 320 use electronic data interchange (EDI). However, the retailer has identified a subset of the remaining 54, including some games software publishers to which it will pitch TradeWeb, a browser-based EDI forms service run by GE Information Services (GEIS).
Pam Bingley, commercial systems controller at DSG, said: 'In the software market, we might be dealing with a publisher because it has the best game at the time, but six months later we'll be doing no business with it at all, so it's hard to insist on the adoption of EDI.'
Dixons signed up for TradeWeb in January and will begin joint visits to suppliers with GEIS to persuade them of the benefits of electronic trade with Dixons. However, the retailer says it will not be doing any arm-twisting to convert suppliers.
'We really like the look of this from the suppliers' point of view and we're keen that they participate,' said Bingley. 'But we rarely say to suppliers that we won't trade with them. We work in a market where the product is everything and we wouldn't want to do anything to jeopardise that.'
Since it started using EDI in 1994, DSG has taken on thousands of product lines and has seen its merchandise supplier base grow by 65 per cent.
Efficiencies from electronic trading with suppliers have reduced inventory by 30 per cent and reduced average supplier lead time from a month to a week.
PC manufacturers, many of whom build to order for Dixons, are already benefiting from daily sales-tracking data, which they receive automatically.
TradeWeb provides a way for Dixons' smaller suppliers to link with its EDI systems and reap similar benefits to larger suppliers.
The Web-based service will not be offered to those suppliers which Dixons believes should be using full EDI systems.
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