WWRE BECOMES FIRST 'PARTNER IN SYNC' WITH UCCNET

ALEXANDRIA, Va. -- The WorldWide Retail Exchange here will become the second major exchange to establish a formal alliance with UCCnet, Lawrenceville, N.J.At the same time, WWRE becomes the first entity to sign up for UCCnet's new Partners In Sync alliance program.The new program is designed to facilitate participation by retailers and manufacturers in the nonprofit UCCnet, which seeks to provide

ALEXANDRIA, Va. -- The WorldWide Retail Exchange here will become the second major exchange to establish a formal alliance with UCCnet, Lawrenceville, N.J.

At the same time, WWRE becomes the first entity to sign up for UCCnet's new Partners In Sync alliance program.

The new program is designed to facilitate participation by retailers and manufacturers in the nonprofit UCCnet, which seeks to provide a universal foundation for global electronic commerce standards.

The alliance was announced last week.

Transora, Chicago, was the first of the three industry exchanges to form a partnership with UCCnet last fall, although it is not yet part of the new program.

"The initiative is another important step to accelerate the adoption of global standards," said Bill Grize, president and chief executive officer, Ahold USA Retail, Chantilly, Va., a WWRE member company.

"With one point of entry and one process for WWRE members to collaborate and exchange information with suppliers, both retailers and suppliers achieve global reach faster and more efficiently."

This UCCnet subscription service will become a central point of integration for retailers and manufacturers, while offering compliance checks to global standards, said Cindy Cruzado, director of exchange operations, WWRE.

"The relationship with UCCnet is very strategic to solving the business problem of global data synchronization," she said.

A key tool offered by UCCnet is a global registry, which allows manufacturers to publish unique information about products and then publish changes, promotions and updates directly to any subscriber.

"It allows the retailers to go to one place to subscribe to accurate information about the products that they need," Cruzado said. "Likewise, to go view in a single place all the products that are available to them, either by manufacturer or by category."

WWRE is now integrating with UCCnet, and has begun UCCnet's certification program.

"In parallel with that, we are working with our members and other exchanges on a proof of concept of global data synchronization, which is connected to the Global Commerce Initiative," she said.

Cruzado said WWRE is working with the GlobalNetXchange, San Francisco, on that project.

WWRE recently formed two other alliances that will help it drive the adoption of global standards and synchronization, said Keri Phifer, a WWRE spokeswoman.

The exchange will work with UDEX, Newport, England, to develop universal product descriptions, and with viaLink Co., Dallas, for data synchronization services.

"UDEX will be collaborating with UCCnet, as well as with manufacturers and retailers to standardize the content so it is good, clean, normalized data that is being maintained in the registry," Cruzado said.

"ViaLink will be interoperating with UCCnet and WWRE as well. They have a particularly robust price and promotion model, which is very applicable to the retailers at a store level."

The combination of alliances is going to deliver "good, clean, synchronized party, item, and price and promotion information" to WWRE members, she said.

"We are all using standards to collaborate. That we are all using a compliant registry function makes this happen much faster than any individual manufacturer-retailer relationship could have done themselves," Cruzado said.

The UCCnet's Partners In Sync program was previewed during the U Connect Conference held recently in Orlando by the Uniform Code Council, Lawrenceville, N.J. UCCnet is a subsidiary of UCC.

The program was needed to handle the vast numbers of subscribers UCCnet expects in the next two years, Mark Monaghan, director, alliance channel, told SN during an exclusive interview at the conference.

"We project a tremendous participation and interest in UCCnet. We are going to have 2,000 subscribers this year, and we are predicting 5,000 next year. These supermarkets, retailers, distributors, manufacturers, brokers, etc., are going to need to come on board the UCCnet, and we need to give them a path. We need to give them a knowledge path. We need to give them a technological path," he said.

Alliance partners essentially take the burden of bringing new subscribers off UCCnet.