SUPERVALU AT DATA-SYNC MILESTONE

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Supervalu, Minneapolis, said last week that it is successfully synchronizing product data with 500 suppliers via the Global Data Synchronization Network, securing its place among the leading retail practitioners of the data synchronization process.The announcement came at a press conference at the U Connect Conference, held here at the Gaylord Opryland Resort & Convention Center

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Supervalu, Minneapolis, said last week that it is successfully synchronizing product data with 500 suppliers via the Global Data Synchronization Network, securing its place among the leading retail practitioners of the data synchronization process.

The announcement came at a press conference at the U Connect Conference, held here at the Gaylord Opryland Resort & Convention Center and sponsored by GS1 US, Lawrenceville, N.J., just a few days after Supervalu completed its acquisition of most of Albertsons' supermarkets.

The 500 suppliers with which Supervalu is synchronizing data account for almost 60% of its traditional non-perishable volume, said Greg Zwanziger, senior business strategy consultant for the retailer and wholesaler.

"The GDSN has grown rapidly and is now the standard way we do business," he said. "We're looking to take the process to all of our non-perishable suppliers." Supervalu, which uses 1SYNC, a division of GS1 US, as its data pool for data synchronization, has also begun tests with some meat, deli and bakery suppliers.

Virtually all 500 suppliers are completely in sync on all items, according to 1SYNC.

GDSN, the standards-based network where trading partners are synchronizing data, grew from 200 companies to over 5,000 in the past year, Brussels-based GS1, which oversees GDSN, said last month. By synchronizing product data via GDSN, retailers and manufacturers have been able to reduce errors that cause inefficiencies and drive up costs in the supply chain.

The other two retailers that have reached similar levels of data synchronization with trading partners are Wegmans Food Stores, Rochester, N.Y., and Wal-Mart Stores, Bentonville, Ark. Wegmans recently reported being in complete synchronization for all items with 425 suppliers.

Eleven other retailers are now in some phase of production with suppliers in data synchronization via 1SYNC.

Suppliers begin the synchronization process with Supervalu by "publishing" their product catalog to the company, which integrates it and eliminates inaccuracies. "There may be challenges in that initial load, but we move ahead with most suppliers," Zwanziger said. "From there it's just maintenance. When there are changes in an item, it passes right into our systems without manual intervention."

Zwanziger noted that Supervalu has made progress incorporating new-item introductions into the standard data sync process. New-item data is automatically loaded into Supervalu's SVHarbor portal and then routed to internal systems. "Sales reps don't have to key information into our system," he said, noting that inaccurate data often originates with manual entry of new-item data.

In the next few weeks, Supervalu plans to mark its progress in data synchronization on 1SYNC's Supervalu "landing page," publicly available at www.1sync.org. "We will track our progress month-to-month and highlight and congratulate new suppliers in production," Zwanziger said. "Manufacturers not doing data sync will see their competitors moving forward with us."