SMBs should challenge suppliers to achieve growth, Forum Group

According to a new report from managed-service company, Forum Group, two in five SMEs have either decreased the number of sites they operate across or let staff go to manage supplier cost fluctuation.

The Forum Group surveyed 453 businesses to examine and quantify how the operational expenditure of SMEs, and mid-market companies impacts on business growth and productivity.

The report found that 66 percent of respondents have seen employee head count restricted, or profit margins decrease due to the impact of increased operating expenditure.

“It is worrying that such a large number of organisations feel they need to resort to redundancies to get a handle on hard costs,” said Forum CEO, Bill Papas. “We know cost of doing business is increasing, and the strain this is putting on business, particularly SMEs, means companies need to look for new ways to make the most of their operating expenditure to better manage inefficiencies.”

The report states that over the past 12 months, only 20 percent of operators have actively looked at ways to reduce their largest operating expenditure, which is only down slightly from 22 percent three years ago.

In addition, 30 percent of respondents said they have increased the number of suppliers servicing their organisation over the last year, and that more than half (60 percent) of businesses claim they can’t change suppliers due to existing contracts and penalty fees, or personal relationships.

Papas said rising costs and operational issues can often distract business owners and managers from their core business.

“The costs associated with managing multiple supplier arrangements is often overlooked and most business owners and managers don’t have the time or knowledge to identify the best services or suppliers, or how to better manage the increasing cost of doing business. They may search online for a quick fix, or perhaps look to their own network and suddenly find themselves in a situation where they have too many suppliers to handle,” he said.

“SMBs should challenge their suppliers to improve and streamline their services so they can prioritise business productivity and growth.”

Other findings from the research include:

  • 14 percent of SMBs have up to 10 suppliers
  • 56 percent of SMBs review their supplier contracts annually
  • 5 percent of SMBs are not clear on why their supplier costs have changed over the last three years

 

GS1’s Global Registry reaches 15 million product items

Global supply chain standards organisation, GS1 has announced that its GS1 Global Registry has now reached 15 million product items.

The Global Registry, which is a directory operated by GS1, allows companies to synchronise standardised product data with trading partners worldwide. The registry is also an essential tool within the GS1 GDSN, which provides secure and continuous synchronisation of accurate data between businesses.

“The 15 million item milestone indicates the ever growing success of GDSN as well as demonstrating Data Quality standards going from strength to strength globally. In the last two years many organisations have recognised the benefits of scale that adoption of GDSN brings to their business processes, which showcases the advantages of the uptake of GS1 standards” said Maria Palazzolo, GS1 Australia’s CEO.

In addition to the success of GDSN, GS1 Australia entered into a multi-year contract with certified data pool provider 1WorldSync in March this year. This provides the Australian and New Zealand markets with a new ‘next generation’ platform for the enhanced delivery of the GS1net Australasia GDSN certified data pool.

GS1net is currently the third largest data pool with over 800,000 Global Trade Item Numbers from 1750 GS1net user organisations across the Grocery, Foodservice, Liquor, Healthcare, Hardware and Office Products and General Merchandise sectors.

GS1 expects to see an overall increase of the usage of GDSN in several different industries, such as healthcare, retail, food service due to a growing demand for data around how a product is delivered to market, including handling instructions, traceability attributes, nutrition information, regulatory compliance and classification.

 

Food supply management centre to be established

The University of Sydney will partner with brands including Coca-Cola Amatil and SunRice to establish a research centre focusing on maintaining a sustainable food supply to our domestic and export markets.

The Training Centre for Food and Beverage Supply Chain Optimisation will operate in cooperation with the University of Newcastle, the CSIRO, the Georgia Institute of Technology and the NSW Department of Primary Industry, and industry partners will include Coca-Cola Amatil, SunRice, the Batlow Fruit Co-operative and Sanitarium Health and Wellbeing.

The University of Sydney Business School’s Institute of Transport and Logistics Studies is establishing the centre, and its chief investigator, Associate Professor Behnam Fahimnia, said a cost effective supply chain is essential if the food industry is to become more sustainable and competitive on the world stage.

“The key to survival is logistics excellence with a focus on the delivery of products to the right customer at the right time,” Fahimnia said. “One of the big challenges is size. Coca Cola Amatil, for example, has 35 production lines, 14 primary distribution centres and over 125,000 delivery points.”

“The rice industry generates a large volume of waste products in the form of rice hulls which are either buried or burnt,” he said. “This waste could be converted into energy in the form of electricity.”

Fahimnia is now looking for three PhD students to join the centre and work on supply chain design and management projects in close collaboration Coco-Cola Amatil and SunRice.

The Training Centre for Food and Beverage Supply Chain Optimisation is being funded with a substantial grant from the Australian Research Council.

 

Coles categorically denies unconscionable conduct claims

Supermarket giant Coles has categorically denied claims it’s engaged in unconscionable conduct by forcing suppliers to pay additional rebates for a new supply chain program.

According to SMH, Coles issued a 34 page document to the Federal Court in Melbourne on Monday (30 June) rejecting claims made by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) that it used unfair tactics to force suppliers to pay ongoing rebates to participate in the Active Retail Collaboration (ARC) program.

The ACR program was developed by Coles in 2011 to improve earnings by obtaining better trading terms from its suppliers. The ACCC alleges that in relation to 200 of its smaller suppliers, Coles required agreement by the supplier to the rebate, which ranged from about 0.7 percent to more than one percent of sales, within a matter of days. If these suppliers declined to agree to pay the rebate, Coles personnel were allegedly instructed to escalate the matter to more senior staff, and to threaten commercial consequences if the supplier did not agree. The ACCC alleges that, in a number of cases, threats were made when suppliers declined to agree to pay the rebate.

The ACCC alleges Coles engaged in a number of acts of unconscionable conduct including:

  • Providing misleading information to suppliers about the savings and value to them from the changes Coles had made;
  • Using undue influence and unfair tactics against suppliers to obtain payments of the rebate;
  • Taking advantage of its superior bargaining position by, amongst other things, seeking payments when it had no legitimate basis for seeking them.

Coles denies the claims, arguing participation in the program was voluntary and that it maintained trading relationships with suppliers regardless of their involvement.

 

Supermarket wars – a tale of the Australian duopoly

Consumers do not automatically consider the Australian grocery duopoly as an industry at all. Its stores play a part in most Australians’ everyday lives, whether it’s dropping into the local supermarket on the way home from work, or being exposed to blasts of push media in the form of fresh promises or revised jingles on TV, radio and billboards.

Australia is the most concentrated grocery market in the developed world: our top two retailers hold 78 percent of total grocery market share collectively, according to the Australian Food and Grocery Council (AFGC). This compares to 48 percent in the UK, 44 percent in France and only 24 percent combined market share of the top two grocery retailers in the USA. As an industry, the Australian grocery scene reads like a twisted schoolyard rivalry. It’s a high school scene with a fierce tension between ‘cool groups’. There’s never room for two. Let me explain.

Regarding industry leadership, the helm of Australian grocery was largely uncontested until 2007 when Wesfarmers bought Coles for $20 billion. This acquisition saw a brand new managerial board from the “Tesco school of grocery leadership” reshape the frumpy bridesmaid of grocery retail into a real threat for Woolworths. They initiated a flurry of revised consumer marketing, celebrity chef endorsements, Tesco-inspired business strategy, fierce price discounting and an emergent pride and equity associated with private label products.

The complacent Woolworths had been around forever, with a strong heritage (‘Safeway’ street cred) and a relative trend setting reputation on their side. They were the first to ‘liven up’ the consumer experience by draping their staff in green shirts and installing self-service checkouts.

To the tune of promotional renditions of Status Quo’s greatest hits played on big-red-hand guitars, Coles continued to challenge for leadership. The red they’d always worn was brighter (and damn, that’s a food colour), their jingles catchier and their pricing promotions more memorable. The mothership from the UK had been flying under the radar whilst gathering information about the local turf. Before 2008, 70-80 percent of Coles’ staff were employed on a casual basis. They instantly transferred as many employees as they could onto permanent part-time basis’ to gather camaraderie and champion the shopper’s in-store experience in their quest for a supermarket shake up.

Despite all of this action, the Australian Food and Grocery Council reported a 2.2 percent Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) food and grocery industry decline in 2009-2011. Of course other school yard factions made moves, but none have made any real threat to the throne. Metcash, whose primary grocery channel is IGA, is trying to cling to its second tier status while playing a strong ‘locals’ card and capitalising on its ability to customise stores as needed. A recent Roy Morgan report identified Metcash had officially been knocked off its third place perch by German retailer Aldi, which now accounts for over 10 percent grocery sales. 

As the country’s largest manufacturing sector, Australian food and beverage manufacturing employs a quarter of a million people. Grant Thornton’s survey of industry CEOs revealed that manufacturers are feeling the impact of private label competition and anticipate further negative impact on profits.

From primary producers to suppliers, everyone is now fighting for their share of scarce profits and competitive advantage. The implications of this rivalry reach far and wide into the Australian economy. Supermarket shelves are the culmination of Australia’s  $110 billion food and grocery manufacturing industry’s supply chain.

Manufacturers face constraints on shelf space and therefore opportunities to reach their consumers. Their products are often sacrificed to make way for competitive copy-cat private label offers, trade margins and the ‘cost of doing business’, as well as retailer demands for deep promotional pricing (either fully or partly funded by the manufacturer). This is additional to the external, non-grocery factors impacting Australian food manufacturing’s business such as the high Australian dollar, ever changing regulatory compliance initiatives, commodity pricing and increasing costs of energy and labour.

In order to increase competition, the Australian government should appoint a supermarket ombudsman responsible for assessing the trade margin implications of both Coles and Woolworths on the greater supply chain. The ombudsman should also hold responsibility for monitoring private label market share across all categories. As per the AFGC’s 2011 recommendation, such an ombudsman should ensure that branded products continue to have access to supermarket shelf space on a fair and equitable basis. Without such an authority, the anti-competitiveness of the industry will continue to rise, and both the industry and consumers will suffer.

Alexandra Wall is a student at RMIT University and was a Global Voices Delegate to the OECD Forum in May this year.
 

As India and China transform, Australian manufacturers must follow

As Australia laments the decline of its manufacturing sector, China is actively taking steps to accelerate its move up the value chain.

Historically a low-cost operating environment, China was once an attractive option for multinational companies seeking to minimise production costs. However with a burgeoning middle class aspiring for a better place in the global ecosystem, the cost advantages are rapidly eroding.

A Bloomberg Businessweek article examined how tech manufacturer Knowles has grappled with these changing conditions, and their experiences aren’t unique.

The rapid increase in wages, increased cost of doing business – physical infrastructure and raw material – and a higher Yuan are all contributing to manufacturing cost pressures. These challenges, and the pace at which they are taking place, are forcing multinational companies in China to rethink their local strategy to remain competitive.

For those firms not in a position to move up the cost/quality curve, an attractive option is to shift their operations to other parts of Asia where labour costs are still a fraction of China’s, such as the Philippines or Vietnam.

Increasingly multinationals are also facing hiring competition from local private and state-owned enterprises. Temporary relocations from rural areas to larger cities for work are also common in parts of China, with employees returning to their families after a year or two.

It is no surprise then for companies to be investing in employee engagement programs. In one instance, a leading manufacturer of building products in Guangzhou has made a considerable investment in employee engagement programs to achieve a staff turnover rate of 20% (which they identify as being well below the average at comparable companies).

“Indigenous innovation”

Led by the government’s 9% growth target for the production of sophisticated goods, China has concentrated on improving its business and governance environment to create a high value-adding manufacturing industry, as opposed to its traditional low-cost, low value-added ecosystem.

In doing so, their focus has been on “indigenous innovation” – creative production nationally that is less reliant on foreign capabilities.

Analysis conducted by the Royal Bank of Scotland and Bloomberg indicated a shift in job types away from traditional textile and clothing, to computers and communications. Medium and high-tech goods production has increased from 40-60% over the past two decades.

While China is transforming itself into an advanced manufacturer, India is actively promoting itself as a manufacturing hub. India’s recent 11th Five Year Plan (2007-12) showed 28.5% jobs growth in the manufacturing sector. India plans to create an industrial corridor between Delhi and Mumbai, investing in vital support infrastructure such as power plants, water facilities and transport infrastructure.

Alongside this global manufacturing and trading hub, will be the creation of seven “Smart Cities”, while at the Third Global Innovation Roundtable (GIR) 2013 in Delhi, there was also discussion of incorporating industry-university clusters, as well as virtual clusters.

How can Australia compete?

All this means that Australian manufacturers need to be prepared for increasing competition in higher value manufacturing, and consider a wider range of options when looking to offshore operations.

So where should Australia place its efforts and how does it retain its competitive edge? My recent article on Asian value chains clearly establishes the economic case for Australia to deepen its engagement in Asia. But more needs to be done. UWA Professor Tim Mazzarol’s recent piece on the “big shift” in manufacturing – from controlling assets and stocks to leading global knowledge networks – makes this case too.

This accords with calls by industry minister Ian Macfarlane for Australia to expand its industry base to cover new industries and products and transform relationships between research, skills, training and industry.

This ethos of collaborative competition will serve Australia’s interests well in moving up the value chain of activity, allowing Australian companies to lead new developments.

At the micro level, Australian companies must start to foster an enabling culture that moves individuals from thinking about ‘my’ role to ‘enabling another’s' role within the company.

But a prerequisite is the creation of a high skilled, globally minded workforce, which needs to begin through schools, universities and even into organisations.

Sustained interventions at different levels of the ecosystem in education, management and industry will enable a national culture that drives future productivity, innovation and entrepreneurship. Education must be the avenue by which we not only prepare individuals for jobs, but help them to become creators of jobs.

The Conversation

Dr Christopher Vas is the recipient of the 2014 Endeavor Australia India Education Council Research Fellowship. He is also one of the Chief Investigators in the Singapore Government funded research project on benchmarking productivity and innovation in Singapore's manufacturing sector.

This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.

Track and trace – the benefits of global standards

GS1 Australia’s Andrew Steele reports on the importance of traceability standards and other emerging local and global supply chain initiatives.

Enhanced product traceability, faster recalls and improved consumer safety should be at the top of the agenda when an organisation is detailing its supply chain process.

Traceability is key to consumer safety and an important part of any organisation’s product recall management plan, particularly in the food industry. It makes recalls and withdrawals more efficient. It ensures proper information about unsafe products can be given to consumers in the case of a recall. Not having an effective traceability process is one of the leading causes of product recall incidents escalating into a crisis.

A Product Traceability Expert Group set up by the European Commission released the Research Support for an Informal Expert Group on Product Traceability Report in December 2013, recognising the adoption of GS1 Standards as a best practice for improving supply chain traceability and consumer product safety.

GS1 was selected as one of the 15 expert members of the Product Traceability Expert Group, which was established in 2011 by the European Commission’s Directorate General Health and Consumers to address traceability and product safety issues.

Adoption of traceability standards was just one of several recommendations highlighted in the report, released by the group following two years of industry-wide dialogue. These recommendations focus on benefits for not only businesses and consumers, but also for market surveillance authorities with the common goal of protecting public safety and health.

As supply chains continue to span the globe and consumers purchase more products online, the ability to track and trace products helps properly identify dangerous products and remove them from the supply chain more effectively.

The group’s report outlined the following recommendations:

  • For economic operators, the group recommends labelling consumer products with product identification codes and automating traceability systems using global standards such as ISO and GS1 Standards for product identification, data capture and exchange in order to strengthen consumer safety and improve traceability between trading partners across multiple countries.
  • For market surveillance and other authorities, the group recommends including the use of barcodes in training and conducting traceability assessments in cooperation with private sectors as well as developing best practices to collect information about dangerous products when they cross EU borders.
  • For consumers, the group suggests raising more awareness on the importance of product identification and helping consumers alert authorities about suspicious or potentially dangerous products.

How can the employment of global standards help improve traceability and adhere to new regulations around traceability?
GS1 Standards are used around the world to identify products and capture, record and share data about these products. This information is key in laying the groundwork for traceability. Reliable data cannot exist if traceability systems are not automated. These automated systems rely on a common language of standards in order to “talk” to each other when capturing and sharing data.

How do consumers benefit from improved product traceability?
In the event of a safety issue or recall, dangerous products can be properly identified and removed from the market faster. In addition, efficient, standards-based traceability systems improve the accuracy of product information and labels.

As supply chains often span the globe across different industries and involve raw materials, additives, other ingredients and packaging through to Point-of-Sale (POS), ensuring traceability throughout the whole supply chain has become more challenging.

The ability for a company to successfully track and trace their products through their supply chain and retrieve them from the marketplace is a key component of a product recall event.

GS1 Recallnet is GS1 Australia’s secure web-based portal for the management of recall and withdrawal notifications. Based on global GS1 Standards and best practices, GS1 Recallnet simplifies and automates the exchange of information between suppliers, distributors and retailers as well as government agencies such as Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) and the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC).

By increasing the speed and accuracy of recall and withdrawal notifications, introducing global standards for traceability significantly decreases business and consumer risk, reduces costs, protects brands and ultimately helps improve food safety in Australia.

Why be standard?
Well-designed supply chain standards play a very important role in day-to-day business operations because:

  • They reduce complexity between and within organisations.
  • They make it easier to make the right decisions about purchasing hardware, software and equipment.
  • They reduce the costs of implementation, integration and maintenance.
  • They facilitate collaboration between trading partners in the supply chain, in a many-to-many relationship, making it quicker and easier to identify items, share information, order and receive parts or ingredients from suppliers, or ship goods to customers.
  • They help improve patient safety and reduce medication errors.
  • They enable global traceability and authentication.

Andrew Steele is Industry Manager – Food & Beverage at GS1 Australia.
 

ACCC signals strategic change in battle with supermarkets

The corporate regulator’s ongoing battle with the major supermarket chains took an interesting twist on Monday when it alleged that Coles had engaged in unconscionable conduct against various small suppliers.

The case relates to Coles’ efforts to improve its efficiency via a major revamp of its supply chain. This led to the Active Retail Collaboration program, which – according to Coles – delivered benefits for large and small suppliers. There’s no such thing as a free lunch though: Coles wanted its suppliers to pay rebates in return for these benefits.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission’s (ACCC) case relates to the manner in which Coles sought the suppliers’ agreement to pay the rebates. It is based upon the evidence of 200 small suppliers who were allegedly given “a matter of days” to examine the proposals put forward by Coles. Refusals to pay the rebate were apparently “escalated” to senior Coles staff who threatened “commercial consequences” if the supplier didn’t comply.

On the face of the ACCC’s media statement, the facts upon which the case is based could have been framed as a misuse of market power. The ACCC, however, has made a strategic decision to pursue the claim as unconscionability.

A recent broadening of the law

There are several reasons why it may have done so. First, the ACCC had a significant victory last year when the Full Court found that Lux had engaged in unconscionable conduct when selling vacuum cleaners door-to-door. The unconscionable conduct provisions have been a moving feast ever since their introduction into what is now known as the Competition and Consumer Act. When first inserted, Parliament clearly indicated that the statutory prohibition was not the same as the equitable concept of unconscionability, which is extremely hard to prove.

But many early court decisions seemed to view the statutory prohibition within the framework of the old fashioned equitable approach. In response, Parliament kept amending the legislation, leading to several iterations of the prohibition. But this itself resulted in greater uncertainty about the interpretation of the law. With the Lux case, however, we have superior court interpretation of a provision that has not been amended for more than two years (in the life of statutory unconscionability, that’s practically a record).

While that decision is very fact specific, it clearly broadened the scope of the statutory prohibition, such that the ACCC may feel greater confidence in categorising Coles’ alleged conduct as unconscionability rather than as a misuse of market power.

Time and complexity

Market power cases are notoriously difficult to prosecute: they are long-running, expensive and extremely complex. The ACCC doesn’t have the best track record in relation to such cases and even success can turn out to be a Pyrrhic victory. One of the ACCC’s best misuse of market power success stories is the 2006 Safeway case, in which Safeway (now Woolworths) was fined $8.9 million for unfair conduct towards bread suppliers. That case took nine years from the time of filing to the handing down of final penalties: any benefit for Safeway’s victims had clearly dissipated in the meantime.

Unconscionable conduct cases are much more fact specific and do not involve the complexities of expert economic evidence. Lux for example took around 18 months from filing until the Full Court’s decision.

While the current case is much more complex than Lux (the sheer volume of witnesses will make a significant difference), a first instance decision could be expected by the end of next year. The first directions hearing (on June 6) will be before Justice Michelle Gordon; she runs a fearsomely efficient court room, so an earlier result (if the case stays on her docket) is quite likely.

What would success mean for the ACCC and suppliers?

By framing Coles’ conduct as unconscionable, the ACCC will lose out a little in relation to possible penalties. Maximum fines for misuse of market power are substantially higher – $10 million or more – as opposed to $1.1 million for unconscionability.

But this factor is unlikely to have weighed heavily on the ACCC. First, any such consideration is premised on victory and, as already discussed, unconscionable conduct looks easier to prove right now. In addition, penalties can be imposed per contravention – it’s unclear, at this stage, how many contraventions the ACCC is alleging and how they might be categorised. But it’s unlikely that there would be a maximum penalty of just $1.1 million available to the judge if the ACCC is successful.

In any case, the key outcomes will be damage to Coles’ reputation (which may well result even if the ACCC doesn’t win) and the closer scrutiny of its ongoing conduct. Suppliers, in particular, are likely to be more vocal in complaining about the conduct of Coles and Woolworths if they can see that the ACCC is able to take timely and effective action on their behalf.

To this end, it seems unlikely that Coles will punish the 200 or so suppliers who are caught up in the ACCC’s action. The ACCC has made very clear that much of its evidence was obtained by the use of compulsory powers: as such, it’s hard to tell whether a supplier is a “collaborator” or an unwilling participant.

In any case, Coles would be extremely foolish if it tried to punish suppliers for co-operating with the ACCC while under such a public spotlight. That would look a whole lot like unconscionable conduct.

The Conversation

Alexandra Merrett was a senior enforcement lawyer with the ACCC until July 2012.

This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.

 

EU committee calls to scrap buy one get one free food campaigns

In a move to discourage food wastage, the House of Lords EU committee has said that supermarkets should no longer offer “buy one get one free” campaigns.

The committee chairwoman, Lady Scott of Needham Market said that food waste across the UK and EU was not only “morally repugnant”, but also has “serious economic and environmental implications”, The Guardian reports.

A report from the committee found that up to 15 million tonnes of food is dumped in the UK each year and at least 90 million tonnes is dumped across the EU. The report also said that the EU’s effort to reduce such wastage was “fragmented and untargeted”.

"There is… much that can be done domestically, and in particular by the big retailers, to reduce food waste,” said Scott. “We are urging the supermarkets to look again at offers such as 'buy one get one free', which can encourage excess consumption which leads to food waste.

“We also think supermarkets must work much more closely with their suppliers so as not to cancel pre-ordered food which has been grown, is perfectly edible and is then ploughed straight back into the field,” she said.

Scott said that the UK government should work with the private sector to limit wastage and encourage co-operation throughout the supply chain.

“They can also consider whether tax incentives might be used to encourage retailers to ensure unsold food that is still fit for human consumption is actually eaten by people, for example by working with food banks, rather than sent to compost or for energy recovery, or even landfill, as is often the case at present,” she said.

"We were shocked at the extent of food waste in the EU. Especially given the current economic challenges the EU faces, it is an absolutely shocking waste of resources. Some efforts are already being made, which is very positive, but much more can be done, and so we are calling on the EU, the government, businesses and consumers to make sure it is."

 

GS1 Australia signs multi-year contract with 1WorldSync

Supply chain standards organisation, GS1 Australia has entered into a multi-year agreement with certified data pool provider, 1WorldSync to provide GS1’s Australian and New Zealand supplier and data recipient user base with a new ‘next generation’ platform for the advanced delivery of the GS1net Australasia data pool – part of the Global Data Synchronisation Network (GDSN).

GS1 Australia’s CEO, Maria Palazzolo said that she was ‘thrilled’ with the new partnership.

“Working with 1WorldSync for the development of GS1net Webforms (an optional front end data loading tool for GS1net suppliers) to enhance the GS1net user experience allowed us to become confident with the features of the 1WorldSync platform, and the extended benefits their total solutions would offer our data pool user base,”

“We are pleased to have successfully appointed 1WorldSync, the world’s largest GDSN data pool solution provider, as our technology provider to take us into the next generation of our GDSN data pool operations with a tailored version of their software for our current GS1net architecture,” she said.

CEO of 1WorldSync, Nihat Arkan said, “1WorldSync considers this decision a milestone in further growing our footprint in Asia Pacific. Particularly working with an experienced partner like GS1 Australia in the region and with new, dedicated, Data Centre facilities deployed in Australia and Japan, it will allow for 1WorldSync to provide organisations with real-time high performance access to trading partners worldwide.”

The new 1WorldSync tailored GDSN solution is said to take the GS1net user base well into the future by providing suppliers and data recipients with greater functionality and usability.

The first phase of the deployment will involve migrating over 70 data recipients between February and October 2015 and the second phase will see the migration of all suppliers to the new infrastructure in November 2015.

Palazzolo said that the migration of the data recipients will have no impact or disruption to the user base.

“We are thrilled with our new partnership and multi-year agreement with 1WorldSync and look forward to providing our supply chain community with a new generation of data synchronisation,” she said.

 

Coles could extend supply chain restructure to convenience and liquor

Coles' plan to replace traditional, independent merchandising reps with its own panel of approved field agents is also being considered for its convenience and liquor stores.

BusinessDay obtained a confidential tender document setting out Coles' plans to restructure its relationship with suppliers and field agents, and proposing the new arrangements could be introduced at its 1500 Coles Express convenience store network as well as its liquor store brands – Liquorland, First Choice and Vintage Cellars.

Coles is said to be in the process of putting together a shortlist for its panel of approved field agents for supermarkets, after the first tender closed on Friday.

The new supply arrangements are expected to be introduced towards the end of this year, starting with five suppliers in its first two months, then offered to all suppliers by late 2015.

Coles announced the restructure in early June, arguing it would save the company millions of dollars annually.

The changes will see Coles become the arbiter of fees charged to suppliers by field agents and will allow the retailer to generate significant rebates.

Coles believes the move will deliver more value for suppliers by simplifying and standardising duties performed by field reps.

"One area suppliers tell us we could improve is how we work with their field force teams – reps they employ to support their brand in-store,” said a Coles spokesman

"So we are currently exploring options to make this service better for suppliers, better for our stores and most importantly better for customers."

 

Share a Coke campaign success thanks to supply chain flexibility

A representative of Coca-Cola Amatil will attend the upcoming Smart Conference and Expo to shed light on why the Australian-born Share a Coke campaign was such an enormous success for the brand.

The hugely successful campaign which saw people's names or year of birth printed on Coke bottles and cans was such a sales and marketing triumph it has since been replicated in around 20 markets across the world including in Brazil and China.

CCA's director of supply chain, Bruce Herbert, will be attending the upcoming Smart Conference and Expo in Sydney, telling attendees how he convinced executive leaders to abandon conventional supply chain teachings, cast aside asset optimisation, big run printing and truckload deliveries to enable customers to purchase a personalised beverage.

Herbert says that despite the campaign having a massive production and logistics footprint he always knew it would be a success.

"We had faith in our suppliers and our own business and took it on as a challenge. Our suppliers in particular modified their own processes to meet our demands and the whole campaign drove innovation that is now being copied by global markets," he said.

"The campaign demonstrated that the supply chain can contribute positively to the profits of a company, acting as profit driver rather than a cost centre."

Herbert will be joined at Smart 2013 by Angela Tatlis, chair of the National Association of Women in Operations (NAWO), for a presentation titled ‘Death to the Big Batch Paradigm’ that will share what CCA was thinking with the Share a Coke campaign, what the campaign entailed and why it was a success.

Tatlis will discuss how diversity of thinking drove the CCA campaign.