Miller Brewing Enabling Distributors' Connectivity with Retailers

Brewer deploys GXS B2B e-commerce outsourcing solution to enable distributor network to comply with retailer mandates

Brewer deploys GXS B2B e-commerce outsourcing solution to enable distributor network to comply with retailer mandates

Gaithersburg, MD — August 1, 2006 — Miller Brewing Company has deployed an e-commerce outsourcing solution from GXS to enable a network of independent distributors of Miller products to conduct e-commerce with retailers.

On an increasing basis, retailers have requested or, in some cases, mandated that food and beverage distributors become electronic data interchange (EDI)-enabled. But many of the distributors that distribute Miller products are businesses with limited IT staffs.

To aid the distributors in addressing B2B e-commerce pressures, Miller came to GXS to create a B2B integration hub that simplifies the order-to-cash process between distributors and retailers while shielding distributors from the increasing complexities of B2B e-commerce.

Sharing the Cost

To assist its distributors in working effectively with retailers, Miller, the second largest brewer in the United States, is paying a portion of the cost of enabling their distributors to support EDI. In addition, with six major breweries located throughout the United States, a network of distributors and more than 40 brands, maintaining control and visibility of, and to, Miller's demand chain was becoming increasingly complex.

Dave Baumann, vice president of information systems at Miller, said that while the brewer is an established company with modest beginnings, it has always seized the opportunity for growth and innovation.

"Our selection of GXS Managed Services was the next step in our mission to streamline the supply chain process, and improve transaction processing," Baumann said. "We value our distributor partners as the face of this company with retailers and acknowledge the value of their ability to do business electronically. Ultimately, we expect GXS Managed Services to be a major asset for supporting growth and efficiencies, both for our business and for that of the distributors."

Enabling Real-time Data Exchange

By using GXS Managed Services, Miller and distributors of Miller products are looking to benefit from reduced operational costs, increased productivity and improved business performance, all without implementing additional headcount. Specific benefits they are looking for include a reduction in cost and complexity for the entire Miller distribution system; the ability for retail customers to automate purchasing, receiving and payment processes; and improved sales and merchandising as a result of increased order accuracy.

In addition, Miller and the distributors now will have automated order fulfillment, shipping, invoicing and accounting processes, which can lower cost and complexity; reduce the number of invoice discrepancies and shorten direct store delivery time frames. For distributors of Miller products, the new distribution hub will enable e-commerce for their entire assortment of products, including non-Miller brands, and speed time to shelf for all products.

"Miller's new B2B integration hub lays the foundation for real-time exchange of information across the supply chain," said Steve Keifer, vice president of industry and product marketing for GXS. "GXS Managed Services offers a platform to handle the varying emerging e-commerce requirements of Miller's retail customers. The successful integration of a three tier trading partner network will offer Miller and its distributors a competitive advantage as they stay ahead of the curve in e-commerce technology enablement and have a solid baseline for additional supply chain efficiencies."

Additional Articles of Interest

— Read about one high-tech manufacturer's quest to deliver near-perfect fill rates across its global service organization in "Managing a Global Supply Chain in a 'Flat' World," from the June/July 2006 issue of Supply & Demand Chain Executive.

— Got warehouses? Got manual processes? Read the case for thoughtful automation in the fulfillment center in "Optimization is a Four-letter Word," the Final Thoughts column in the June/July 2006 issue of Supply & Demand Chain Executive.