WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - Data synchronization, a supplier portal and the use of manufacturer performance scorecards are ways Publix Super Markets hopes to create greater transparencies with its trading partners, according to David Bornmann, vice president of grocery and nonfood purchasing.
He presented Publix's strategy here at Grocery Manufacturers Association's Merchandising, Sales and Marketing Conference at The Breakers last month.
The Lakeland, Fla.-based retailer will begin synchronizing data with its suppliers later this year.
"We'll link to supplier-sponsored catalogs and later move to pricing information," Bornmann said.
Wegmans Food Markets, Wal-Mart Stores and Supervalu are among the retailers currently synchronizing data that relates to the physical attributes of their respective suppliers' products, via GS1's Global Data Synchronization Network.
Wegmans reportedly derived $4.5 million in annual savings as a result of its efforts. Still, the synchronization of inaccurate data has kept projects like these from reaching their full potential.
Bornmann conceded that as Publix prepares to synchronize data, the prioritization of information technology work has been challenging.
As part of a separate project slated for the end of 2007, Publix will create a password-managed supplier portal through which manufacturers can view item forecasts and enter procurement information online.
"We don't want to have any guessing games here," said Maria Brous, Publix spokeswoman. "We want to say to suppliers, 'Here is your scorecard and the amount of units that you sold.'"
Publix also plans to roll out automated order-replenishment capabilities sometime during 2007 and 2008.
In the meantime, the chain is using a supplier scorecard to track and rank vendors' performances in 19 key areas, including order and delivery accuracy and damage and returns.
"Supplier performance is the first agenda item during meetings," Bornmann said. "It helps us understand the level of service we're receiving and we discuss with them which logistical methods need improvement."
Specifically, Publix is working with suppliers to improve its rising inbound delivery damage rates and reduce the length of unload times and lumper fees.
"We must work to reduce overall costs and improve our joint supply chain interests," Bornmann said.
Publix is clear with suppliers about its expectations. They include 100% order fulfillment rates, on-time shipments, invoice accuracy and to be placed in the best costs of goods bracket.