May 2, 2003, 12:00 AM

Retailer-supplier data synch moves ahead, AMR says

Led by Wal-Mart and P&G, the retail industry is moving ahead with back-end integration that can support collaboration among retailers and suppliers, says AMR.

Led by industry leaders Wal-Mart Stores Inc. on the retail side and Procter & Gamble Co. on the supplier side, the retail industry is beginning to gain ground in web-based collaboration and back-end system integration, says Kara Romanow, an analyst with AMR Research Inc. Over the next 18 months, she adds, most retailers and their suppliers can be expected to have completed product data synchronization projects, leading to broader web-based collaboration and back-end integration.

"The leaders are doing this integration today because it`s a good value proposition and a proven return on investment," Romanow says. By synchronizing product codes and definitions, retailers and suppliers can more easily and more quickly update product catalogs, so that retailers have the most recent product data from manufacturers, providing for smoother order management.

This can also support further collaboration, such as CPFR, or collaborative planning, forecasting and replenishment, including setting up automated alerts regarding disruptions in supply chains, Romanow says.

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