May 2, 2003, 12:00 AM

Supply chain collaboration rising among some retailers at GNX

GNX says more retailers are moving ahead with supply chain collaboration, even before synchronizing their data. The benefits can smooth out unexpected supply disruptions, director of supply chain service Nick Miller says.

Some retailers are beginning to collaborate with trading partners even though they haven`t completed data synchronization projects that many say are required for trading partner collaboration, Nick Miller, director of supply chain services for the GlobalNetXchange, the online trading exchange service for retailers and their suppliers, tells Internet Retailer.

Among the members of GNX, he notes, Sears, Roebuck and Co. has set up web-based collaboration with tire maker Michelin without synchronizing their product catalogs. The Sears-Michelin collaboration, coordinated through GNX, provides Sears with automated alerts of disruptions to the expected delivery of Michelin tires, providing Sears more time to make alternate plans in the way it merchandises and promotes products.

"The whole retail industry doesn`t have to go through data synchronization first to bring about collaboration," Miller says. He adds, however, that large retailers like Sears are likely to focus on collaborating extensively with only their top suppliers, regardless of whether they`ve synchronized product data. For most suppliers, he says, synchronizing product data and catalogs will become the most common way to begin a more integrated relationship with retailers.

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