Transora Touts Data Synchronization

P&G, Kraft loading product information into CPG data catalog in search of supply chain gains

Chicago  February 13, 2002  Transora, the industry-sponsored e-marketplace for the consumer-products goods (CPG) industry, this week touted what it called "a major milestone" in the industry's drive toward global data synchronization as Transora customer Procter & Gamble published item information through the Transora Data Catalogue to retail customers.

With over 16,000 items entered and validated, Transora said in a statement that its "Data Catalogue has demonstrated that it serves as the industry's one-stop repository for item information."

CPG giants Procter & Gamble, Reckitt Benckiser and Kraft Foods have been among the first Transora customers to load their item information into the data catalog, which Transora is positioning as a critical link to industry-wide data synchronization.

"By loading our U.S. product information into the Transora Data Catalogue and then having it published to our retailer customers, Procter & Gamble has reached a key milestone in our supply chain improvement work," said Milan Turk, Jr., director of global customer e-business for Procter & Gamble. "Transora and UCCnet have enabled P&G to synchronize our product data base with our customers', and this improves our ability to have the right product in the right place when the consumer asks for it."

Transora says its data catalog, launched commercially last July, is building a foundation of synchronized data required to support collaboration between manufacturers and retailers. The catalog uses UCCnet's Global Registry service to validate the product information entered by Transora's customers. Transora says that eight manufacturers, representing $136 billion of industry consumer goods sales, are entering their item data into the catalog.

"This has truly been a collaborative industry effort  designing, testing and now utilizing the service," said Judy Sprieser, Transora's CEO. "We are now one step closer to the original vision of a standards-based, many-to-many, information and transaction exchange that will enable more efficient and effective transaction processing for the consumer products industry."

Using GCI-endorsed, EAN.UCC standards, Transora catalog accommodates 225 product attributes, which Transora says is the most of any master data synchronization application, as well as multiple languages and measurements, and product images. Current plans call for incorporating customer-specific flexibility and a price/promotion module to the catalog's capabilities by this spring.

Previously, this information was communicated manually, resulting in transcription errors, timing issues and significant administration costs for suppliers and retailers. Now it is possible for suppliers and retailers to have the same product information in their supply chain systems, which could generate efficiencies that, until now, have been difficult to capture.

"We believe that synchronized master data is one of the key enablers to many promising capabilities such as CPFR [collaborative planning, forecasting and replenishment] and joint merchandising planning," said David Hutchings, senior director for enterprise systems integration at Kraft Foods North America. "We are pleased with Transora's progress to date and look forward to many other manufacturers joining in."

Transora is also pilot testing Data Catalogue capabilities with participants in the UK and Brazil.

For manufacturers, the data catalog provides a one-stop repository for enterprise-wide data aggregation. Rather than implementing multiple solutions across a diverse, multi-category organization, a company can enter and store all of its product information in a single format. This provides common data to those who need it  a company's sales department, its third-party warehouse and transportation providers, wholesalers, distributors and retailers.

In addition, the Transora Data Catalogue can provide links to retailers and foodservice distributors through their solution providers.

"By synchronizing item information across the supply chain in a standard way, trading partners can improve data accuracy, improve speed to shelf, reduce administration costs, and help minimize out-of-stocks," said Greg White, P&G's global product catalog manager.