GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. -- In a move that will allow Meijer Inc. here to simplify its electronic data interchange systems as well as provide a future gateway to Internet-based communications, the retailer has designated a single third-party company to provide it with EDI and networking services.
The retailer also will gain access to more advanced communication solutions, such as real-time EDI, and be able to simplify its internal network infrastructure, according to a source familiar with the situation.
Previously, Meijer had designated two preferred EDI value-added networks (VANS) for vendors that didn't use a direct connection to the retailer in order to exchange information.
"It didn't make any sense to have two preferred EDI VANs," said Rich Dubnick, Meijer's vice president of architecture. "Between the Internet and [EDI] VANs, a lot of things will shake out over the next few years."
As part of the two-year contract signed earlier this month, the third-party company, QRS Corp., Richmond, Calif., also will provide Meijer with on-line tools for network support and audit trail monitoring, including confirmation of both sending and receiving messaging information.
While electronic communications are undergoing rapid changes, many companies remain reliant on EDI for a number of basic data exchanges. "There are still certain vendors that don't have the technology to be direct, or don't want to be direct," Dubnick said.
QRS Corp. provides sales and support for IBM Global Network EDI and networking services, which are being used by Meijer.