Safeway, Unilever Complete Global Data Synchronization Project

First instance of transferring product information from manufacturer to retailer via data pool interoperability

Pleasanton, CA — July 1, 2004 — Safeway Inc., a Fortune 50 company and one of the largest food and drug retailers in North America, today announced the results of a successful global data synchronization (GDS) initiative with Unilever, a global producer and marketer of food and home and personal care products.

The companies said the significance of this project has international reach, as it represents the first time that product information has been synchronized by way of interoperability between the leading supply side and demand side data pools (Transora and the WorldWide Retail Exchange (WWRE)).

The Consumer Goods industry is transitioning to the use of the Global Data Synchronization Network (GDSN) as a more efficient and accurate means of exchanging information about products, and this effort underscores the feasibility and importance of the GDSN for Safeway, Unilever and the industry.

The announcement comes as the culmination of a two-year effort by Safeway to provide its trading partners with a flexible means of synchronizing product information through the WWRE. By way of the project, product information was successfully transferred from Unilever to its primary data synchronization engine, provided by Transora.

It was then processed through the WWRE, Safeway's primary data exchange, directly to Safeway. The entire process utilized GDS communication standards.

The accuracy of the communication on the Safeway end was facilitated by its use of a collaborative product information management (CPIM) solution, which synchronized all of the messages, data and processes involved in the four-way transfer described above. Safeway is one of the early adopters of a CPIM system, provided by Northern California-based Velosel Corp., and has experienced improvements in process management and supply chain operation efficiencies as a result.

"A crucial goal for Safeway is to be as flexible as possible when dealing with partners, while always maintaining focus on the Safeway shopper," said Roger Lekberg, senior vice president, Supply Chain for Safeway. "Through the successful completion of this project, Safeway and Unilever have demonstrated that by adopting industry standards, critical product information exchange between manufacturers and retailers can be achieved in a scalable and rapid manner. This rather complicated initiative was completed with a high level of accuracy, in cooperation with Unilever and our respective data pool and technology partners, and firmly establishes Safeway as a leader in the creation of mutually-beneficial and highly efficient supply chain relationships."

Tom Barnhart, director eBusiness Unilever North America, said his company is pleased to have collaborated with Safeway in achieving the industry milestone. "Unilever is committed to the GCI Global Data Synchronization vision, and we view this project as an important step towards the realization of that vision," he explained. "The establishment of interoperability between Safeway and Unilever through our respective data pools, WWRE and Transora, provides a firm foundation for electronic collaboration. This initiative demonstrates how leading retailers and suppliers working together can achieve mutually beneficial results through alignment with the Global Data Synchronization Network."

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