June 27, 2002, 12:00 AM

Adopting CPFR requires more education for vendors, retailers say

Getting vendors involved is the biggest ongoing challenge for retailers implementing CPFR technology, retailers say.

Getting vendors involved is the biggest ongoing challenge for retailers implementing CPFR technology, according to panelists at a QRS-sponsored meeting at Retail Systems conference this week in Chicago. Collaborative Planning, Forecasting and Replenishment uses software to better manage getting the right product in the right place at the right time, often using the web. Those results in turn mean increased sales for retailers who implement CPFR, panelists say.

Bill Holder, CIO of Dillard’s Inc., compares the transition to the move from manual information exchange between retailers and suppliers to electronic data interchange. "It took seven or eight years to get vendors to use EDI and there was nothing easy about implementing EDI. It was an absolute nightmare," Holder said. "Getting vendors involved in CPFR is going to be a 10-fold challenge."

Holder says Dillard’s plans to provide more education and training for vendors in order to speed adoption. "When we moved to EDI there were no tools to help sell the idea," he says. "For CPFR, we are planning to do a full-blown education program to help vendors. The vendor base must be much more educated today than with EDI ten years ago."

Panelists included Greg Girard, vice president of retail industry services at AMR Research Inc., Ken Tackett, director of supply chain, data and order management at Sears Roebuck & Co., Beverly Peralta, vice president of accounts payable at Federated Department Stores Inc. and Holder. Sears, Dillard’s and Federated all use QRS software.

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