Shaw's Selects Sterling Solution

New England grocer seeks to increase order accuracy through synchronized vendor data

Sterlingcommerce 10160029

Columbus, OH — June 12, 2003 — New England grocer Shaw's Supermarkets has tapped an integration solution from Sterling Commerce to increase order accuracy through synchronized vendor data.

Like any large retailer, Shaw's, the second largest food retailer in New England with more than 185 stores and $4.4 billion in annual sales, must contend with the challenge of making critical business decisions every day based on the vast amount of information streaming into the company from thousands of food vendors.

With more than 125,000 food items in its catalog and 800 food introductions every month, the company needed a solution capable of updating internal systems after the product information was routed to the appropriate category managers for acceptance, changes or rejections.

"Our ability to quickly replenish stock is critical, and to make this happen, we need accurate information that is synchronized with our vendors on all product orders," said Al Joughin, vice president for information technology systems at Shaw's, which is a wholly-owned subsidiary of J Sainsbury plc. "Focusing on cleaning up new item data was a logical starting point for us since this will enable us to capture the data correctly from inception," Joughin added.

Shaw's decided to look at its business processes surrounding the introduction of new food items to make sure the right people and systems had access to the necessary information. The company opted to implement Sterling's Gentran Integration Suite to help it streamline operations to get the right products on the shelves faster by enabling alignment between vendor-generated updates on item attributes and the grocer's internal work processes.

Gentran Integration Suite's integration broker allowed the company to visually map the information flow. "Using the product's visual modeling capability, we were able to define a business process to access information coming into Shaw's Supermarkets from a variety of sources, build the logic for human interaction, and post the accurate and updated information to our internal systems on the effective date," said Joughin. "Through this process, we also uncovered bottlenecks, delays in update timing and manual processes that could be eliminated."

Shaw's links its product information to the UCCnet GLOBALRegistry, which is the consumer-packaged goods industry's "Yellow Pages" that lists all items from participating publishers and the location where information for each of the items can be found.

The integration suite's modular structure allows Shaw's to meet its data synchronization needs today and align with future integration goals. "Synchronizing data to ensure the placement of accurate orders is only the first step in streamlining supply chain processes," said Joughin. "All participants in the supply chain will require clean data to improve vendor collaboration, planning, forecasting and replenishment processes."

"Companies such as Shaw's Supermarkets are looking to realize a quick [return on investment] through a phased implementation of integration projects," noted Sam Starr, president and CEO of Sterling Commerce. "At the same time, these companies are rushing to improve the efficiency within their supply chains to cut unnecessary costs and become more competitive."