BENTONVILLE, Ark. — Wal-Mart Stores here plans to use a data accuracy scorecard to monitor the accuracy of the product data provided by its suppliers, according to a letter sent to suppliers last month that is posted at www.1sync.org/walmart.html , part of the website of Wal-Mart's data pool, 1SYNC.
The letter also advised suppliers that are not synchronizing data with Wal-Mart through the Global Data Synchronization Network (GDSN) that they should select a data pool and provide Wal-Mart with a GLN (global location number) by Jan. 31 and complete an initial load of accurate product data by March 10.
According to a Wal-Mart presentation given last month and also posted at the 1SYNC site, just 46% of Wal-Mart's suppliers have accurate cube (dimension) data for their products and 55% have accurate weight data. The website also states that more than 3,000 suppliers currently synchronize data via the GDSN with Wal-Mart, which represents 45% of suppliers and 42% of items.
Despite the efforts of Wegmans Food Markets and other retailers, data accuracy remains an industry concern. “A significant percentage of manufacturers and retailers are synchronizing data through the GDSN, but what they are tending to synchronize is inaccurate data,” said Mark Shapiro, chief executive officer, Gladson, Lisle, Ill., which provides data accuracy services. “The impact of inaccurate data on the supply chain is that it's costing everybody millions of dollars.”
One cause of inaccurate product data is that manufacturers measure the weight and dimensions of various versions of a product, rather than just the finished version, Shapiro said.
In its December letter, Wal-Mart said the benefits to itself and its suppliers of using the GDSN include: increased speed-to-shelf for new products; improved purchase order accuracy; optimal transportation and logistics; and preparation for a global replenishment system.
In a previous communication last year to suppliers, Wal-Mart said that it was phasing out its Form 33 new item form in order to receive new item data only via the GDSN.
Also at the 1SYNC site, Kroger, Cincinnati, has posted a letter sent last fall asking suppliers to begin using the GDSN to publish item data to Kroger as soon as possible. Other companies with data synchronization posts on the site include Wegmans, Wakefern, Target, Supervalu, Associated Wholesale Grocers, Associated Food Stores and Nash Finch.