Improved supply chain promised as global exchanges link data

The largest global exchanges for retailers and manufacturers have announced details of their long-awaited interoperability...

The largest global exchanges for retailers and manufacturers have announced details of their long-awaited interoperability project, which aims to enable closer links between supply chain partners.

The WorldWide Retail Exchange and Transora this week said they have linked their Global Data Synchronization (GDS) systems, a move they claimed would improve data quality along companies’ supply chains.


GDS is defined as the alignment of all product, company and location master data, ensuring that each product is described correctly throughout the supply chain.


The process should allow the development of more collaborative business processes, such as CPFR (collaborative planning forecasting and replenishment) for companies of all sizes.


Sally Herbert, chief commercial officer at the WWRE, said, “Our priority has always been to connect our members with their trading partners. With the interoperability project, we will provide retailers with access to product data from many of the world’s largest global manufacturers.”


Improving data quality is likely to be the number-one priority for a large number of retailers and manufacturers with the increasing use of supply chain technologies such as RFID, according to Nick Parnaby, chief marketing officer at the WWRE.


“Data quality is the one focus for many projects now,” he said. “Most people that have done RFID projects, for example, have realised that they had to go back and sort out data synchronisation first.”


There has been talk of linking WWRE and Transora for a number of years, but the interoperability has not been viable previously because retailers were not ready for GDS, Parnaby said


The two exchanges have had “three of four discussions” about merging fully since 2001, but they felt interoperability was the preferable route as the underlying technology is different, he added.

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