Confectionery giant Nestle is behind a new e-business organisation, launched last week, which aims to drive the adoption of best practice and standards in e-business.
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The group, UK Partners for Electronic Business, has government backing and hopes to drive adoption of "cost-effective open standards" by the small- and medium-sized businesses that are a key part of bigger supply chains.
UKPEB is the latest in a series of retail organisations backing standards for e-business. These include the Interactive Media in Retail Group which recently conceived the Greenwich Electronic Time "date-stamping" concept for electronic transactions, as well as the Global Commerce Initiative, an attempt by large retail and manufacturing organisations to drive worldwide EDI and e-business standards.
Last year, 30 firms, including Unilever, Tesco and Wal-Mart, signed up to GCI to develop the first internationally agreed protocols. They are concerned that a profusion of incompatible EDI, barcodes and radio frequency tagging systems, are pushing up costs of trading internationally and slowing down delivery times.
"When trade was national, it wasn't a problem. Now companies are sourcing globally, manufacturers are having to use more than one EDI standard which is making life complicated," said Peter Jordan, director of European operations at food manufacturer Kraft Jacobs Suchard.
UKPEB, which is backed by the BSI, e-Centre and the Simple Trade Procedures board is expected to "drill down" from the international position outlined by GCI and focus on eight objectives. These include: