Unearthing The Savings

Participants in Wegmans' data sync pilot realized unexpected productivity gains in many facets of their operations.


The retailer also enjoyed sizable improvements in its DSD operations, reducing time spent on items that won't scan at the back door by 25 percent, and shaving overall receiving time for DSD items by about seven percent.

In the area of new product introductions, one manufacturer saved 33 percent in administrative costs related to processing new items—the equivalent of one full-time employee. Another decreased from three days to one the time needed to gain visibility into new items though its continuous replenishment program.

A manufacturer also reported a reduction in speed-to-shelf for new items from two to four months to just two weeks, while Wegmans utilized GDS to help speed its time to shelf by seven days, a 23 percent improvement.

The retailer also saw an increase in employee productivity in entering new item information of 50 percent. It estimated an overall improvement of eight percent in accounting administration costs for all activities related to out-of-period adjustments and invoice and coupon reconciliation.

Eliminating Disruptions

In addition to the size and scope of the opportunity, another key learning from the study, Timmons says, was that while accuracy and synchronization are important and beneficial in themselves, the big goal for GDS is to eliminate or decrease all kinds of supply chain disruption, because of what that enables.

"The amount of time that can be spent on value-add activities like selling, merchandising, and building the top line, is directly related to the amount of errors, waste and inefficiencies we can take out of everyday supply chain processes," she points out.

"When a supplier and retailer sit down together on a sales call, they want to spend their time on promotional activity, not resolving data errors."

One more bit of good news in the report is that, thanks in part to efforts by pioneering companies, GDS initiatives are a lot less arduous to undertake today than just a few years ago.

Some key enablers easing the process include: improved ERP systems with built-in GDS functional and integration capabilities; process automation tools that facilitate workflow and compliance; and mature data standards.

And while Wegmans had to mount an energetic, multi-year campaign to bring enough suppliers onboard with GDS to reach the point of critical mass so it could begin to capture huge benefits, the number of companies participating and line items registered in the Global Data Synchronization Network, administered for the industry by 1SYNC, has skyrocketed in the last year.

Nearly 10,000 companies have signed up and taken at least the first step of registering a total of almost 600,000 items with global trade IDs now, Garcia points out.

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