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Grocery Industry Logistics Consortium Formed to Standardize Logistics

DALLAS -- Supply network services provider One Network Enterprises said this week it has formed a consortium of retailers, suppliers, and carriers to define standard processes to streamline the flow of goods from suppliers through distribution centers to stores. The ONE Retail Standards Board features retailers, transportation service providers, and CPG companies.

The network serves more than one-third of the grocery retail market, said One Network, including Delhaize America (Food Lion, Bloom, Hannaford), Kroger (Ralphs, Dillons, Smith's, King Soopers, Fry's, QFC, City Market, Hilander, Owen's, Jay C, Cala Foods/Bell Markets, Kessel Food Markets, Pay Less, Baker's, Gerbes, Fred Meyer, Fry's Marketplace, Smith's Marketplace, Food 4 Less, Foods Co.), Safeway (Vons, Dominick's, Randalls, Tom Thumb, Genuardi's, Carrs), and Publix.

The consortium is the first formal collaboration of retailers, suppliers, and carriers to standardize key logistics activities, the company said. For example, dispatchers now spend 15 percent to 50 percent of every workday scheduling appointments by phone or fax, but the consortium's Web-based appointment scheduling process lets suppliers and carriers log on to a retailer's network hub, request appointments, and receive immediate answers.

"One Network was the obvious choice as the technology platform on which to define standards for multicompany processes, because of the number of suppliers, retailers, and carriers who have already adopted this network," noted One Network Enterprises c.e.o. Greg Brady in a statement. A number of retailers have created ONE Retail supply network hubs, connecting to more than 1,000 suppliers and carriers, employing infrastructure and Web applications hosted by One Network Enterprises.

Suppliers and carriers use the same standardized tools and processes to work with any retailer on the network. Additional retailers can create new ONE Retail hubs and gain instant access to the suppliers and carriers already using One Network tools and processes. Carriers can coordinate pickup and delivery schedules because both processes are done using the same network and tools.

Since suppliers, retailers, and carriers share the new appointment-scheduling process on the same network, all partners gain 100 percent visibility of freight and associated orders in the pipeline, from the supplier to the yard and through the DC. Along with Web applications for intelligent execution management, this enables rapid detection and resolution of potential supply chain disruptions by procurement, customer service, distribution, transportation, and inventory management.

Additionally, because all order volume goes through the appointment-scheduling process, companies can automate and improve their vendor, carrier, and internal score carding with the process. Measurements can include order target delivery date vs. appointment, on-time delivery, carrier dwell time, number of rescheduled appointments, and order quantity changes.

The technology and process allow for future automated appointment scheduling using Web services.
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