Debenhams seeks slick supply chain

Department store chain Debenhams has embarked on an ambitious project to implement a private B2B portal for all its suppliers so...

Department store chain Debenhams has embarked on an ambitious project to implement a private B2B portal for all its suppliers so stores can react more quickly to product demand.

The B2B portal, which will be based on Microsoft .net, will initially cover Debenhams' international suppliers, but it is expected to include all the retailer's external partners in due course.

The company, which has 100 UK stores, will use the B2B platform, from software supplier Eqos, for ordering and logistics, said Debenhams' IS director Martin Wyke.

"We chose to start with the critical business process of ordering and receiving goods as there are enormous benefits to be gained from having complete visibility of our global supply chain," he said. "Through knowing exactly what is happening, we will be able to react much faster to product demand."

The portal will replace four disparate systems and several manual processes, providing an easy-to-use interface for Debenhams' 700 suppliers, including those providing third-party logistics services, Wyke said.

It will cover delivery and tracking of purchase orders by Debenhams, the issuing of advanced shipping notices by suppliers and further notices from third parties, such as freight forwarders and carriers, allowing the progress of goods to be managed proactively, Wyke said.

Debenhams is also planning to build further .net-based applications to cover other supplier relationship management areas, such as product development, collaborative planning and supplier performance management.

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