June 12, 2003, 12:00 AM

Sears expands web-based supply chain initiative to appliances and hardware

With its initial CPFR program with tire manufacturer Michelin showing marked improvements in timely deliveries to its distribution centers and stores, Sears is extending CPFR into additional product categories.

With its web-based collaborative planning, forecasting and replenishment system already improving its supply chain operations with tire manufacturer Michelin, Sears, Roebuck and Co. is implementing CPFR with suppliers in additional product categories, starting with home appliances and tools, Greg Roth, national inventory manager, said at the Retail Systems 2003 Conference and Exposition this week in Chicago.

"This gives us confidence that we`ll have products in stores in time for customers," Roth said. He noted that the Michelin CPFR program, through which Sears and Michelin share information such as sales and production data through a Manugistics CPFR application hosted by the GlobalNetXchange, has improved store in-stock levels by 4.3% while reducing inventory levels by 25% at both Sears distribution centers and at Michelin warehouses.

Jeff Wood, manager of collaborative initiatives, said Sears is already conducting CPFR with home appliance suppliers, including Maytag and General Electric in addition to its Kenmore private label brand, and is in the process of setting up CPFR processes with tools suppliers. Sears sells several tool brands such as Stanley, Vaughan and Estwing in addition to its own Craftsman private label.

"We`re trying to get CPFR set up across more categories, including home electronics and possibly home décor,” Wood said. He added that CPFR would probably not work for apparel, which isn`t as easy to replenish because of quickly changing fashions. But Nick Miller, director of supply chain services for GNX, said in a separate interview that GNX expects to offer CPFR services in some apparel supply chains, such as those that focus on apparel that has fairly steady year-round demand like casual work clothes and blue jeans.


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