Scott Bolduc of SPS Commerce talks about trends in EDI and Supply Chain activity with Scott Koegler, editor of ec-bp.com, at GS1 Connect 2012 in Las Vegas.
Read the Transcription of this conversation below:
I’m Scott Koegler, with GS1 connect 2012. And I'm talking with Scott Bolduc, of SPS Commerce; and we're going to talk today about what's going on; current trends and things that you see because I know you touch a lot of the transactions and the implementations. What you see going on, Scott?
Scott Bolduc: Well there is an interesting twist with what retailers are asking their suppliers to do; there is really a growing trend of retailers wanting to get out of managing inventory and letting the vendors do that work. So that’s your direct to consumer type shipment.
Scott Koegler: Is that online catalog type things or just catalog?
Scott Bolduc: It can be catalog; it can be non-stock products that are available to a consumer. Anybody who need that stuff, even the contractor or something like that would. Retailers or distributors just don't want to have that inventory there. They want the vendors to have maintained that instead. They still want the opportunity to make those sales. The other thing that I start to see more is steel and transportation. Buying organizations are looking at managing their freight; trying to figure out how they are going to do that. That means with carriers now; it's talking about suppliers and how they can alert the are buying organizations that they are picked up. There is a lot of companies investing in either an outside, outsource provider of load building, like a UPS supply chain company; expediters is another one I’ve seen happen; and or they take it on themselves so they’ve got their own transportation management system hiring a few folks to manage building out those loads and they need their vendors to participate in that so they can know what’s coming; how big it’s going to be so they can fill up them trucks, get rid of them empty miles and everybody wins so they can control that freight.
Scott Koegler: Overall, do you see an increase of the number of documents being implemented, or is there only a certain number of documents, but are more companies enabling more documents?
Scott Bolduc: Purchase Order Acknowledgment is another one of growing interest, so that kind of a new transaction for some. It's all about collaboration these days. The more their partners can share with what their intent is in the case of the purchase order acknowledgment; what their intent is for shipping; are there issues with the data; do I recognize the UPC number; can I meet the shipping requirements; do I have to price right? And then, that same document is being used for the VMI world where the supplier might be analyzing the point of sale data and make a recommendation on perhaps what a retailer should be ordering which is done through and 855 suggested retail order. So again, same documents in play but a different twist to how they are used and still within generally expected business practices; just might be something new for a vendor who aren’t used to that or even a retailer for that matter.
Scott Koegler: Just to kind of move over for a second. You talked about scanned data, do you see the use of that increasing any?
Scott Bolduc: I do see that a little bit too. Part of the problem in the past with retailers sharing that information is they have this preconceived notion that there’s no way to consume the information on the supplier’s side; and they also consider, that’s a big hunk in file that tends to come over –
Scott Koegler: That’s a lot in data!
Scott Bolduc: And if you’re going through a van there, it would be fairly substantial. Retailers are very careful in the past about how they’ve given that. Now there are other service providers that can manage it on their own. You don’t always have to go through a van in order to provide data to one another. That’s what collaboration is all about. Everybody gets to win here. So I think there is more of that where the retailers are willing to give it up. The other thing of interest is forecast documents are now peaking their little heads up, (that’s the 830.) Where it’s interesting for a supplier to know what’s happened in the past, or what just happened as far as sales are concerned, what is getting to be more important are what are you thinking about down the road? So there are quite of few retailers now who are building out or either have even purchased these forecasting modules in their EPR systems. But are they getting better at what it is they’re planning on doing in the future? It’s coming to its own now. It's kind of cool to see that. Once again, does the supplier have those tools to analyze that information along with the point of sales stuff they’re getting?
Scott Koegler: Right, so you match those two up and you get some real forecasting.
Scott Bolduc: Boy, you get a world class – it’s great! I think the world is starting to get out there now and that may be why retailers are interested in sharing that too; and that one doesn’t have that competitive disadvantage in some cases. So, it’s cool.
Scott Koegler: Alright, sounds like there’s a lot going on, right?
Scott Bolduc: That’s right, always evolving.
Scott Koegler: Alright, Scott. Thanks a lot. Appreciate it.