UK Supply Chain Standards Association Opts for International Data Synchronization

GAITHERSBURG, Md.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--March 29, 2004--Global eXchange Services, a leading provider of B2B integration solutions, today announced that it has been selected to develop the UK's first supply chain standards-compliant data pool to drive global data synchronization. Owned and operated by UK-based supply chain standards association e.centre, the data pool will provide a mechanism for international trading partners, particularly in the retail industry, to share and synchronize product data for greater efficiencies and increased profitability across global supply chains. The UK adds to Global eXchange Services' growing list of countrywide data pool customers, which includes Australia (EANnet Australia) and Canada (ECCnet).

A component of the global data synchronization (GDS) initiative, the e.centre data pool will enable trading partners to automatically standardize on common product information. Preventing the proliferation of erroneous data often associated with repetitive manual tasks - obsolete items, incorrect price information and inaccurate product definitions - the data pool will help eliminate the problems that directly impact consumers, such as out-of-stock goods or insufficient shelf space for over-sized items. By acting as an "electronic product catalogue," the data pool will facilitate the sharing and synchronization of data among trading partners, speeding product time-to-market, and increasing the revenue potential of both manufacturers and retailers.

"I am confident that the data pool will increase the competitiveness of British manufacturers and retailers in the UK, as well as those in the global marketplace," said Steve Coussins, chief executive for e.centre, the UK arm of EAN International. "This one-stop solution will be as advantageous to the small company as it is for the big multinational. The data pool will cut out repetitive manual tasks that often result in errors and will combat the ever-present problem of data mismatches, stripping out inefficiency and cost."

"Data synchronization is increasingly important to retailers and manufacturers," said Shawn Willett, principal analyst, Application Infrastructure and Internet Commerce, Current Analysis. "Global eXchange Services is leading efforts to solidify standards in that area. In addition to this new UK relationship with e.centre, they're providing supply chain data pools in a number of other countries. These efforts are enabling the company to expand its data synchronization expertise on a worldwide basis."

"As evidenced by the recent A.T. Kearney report, data synchronization provides the foundation of an effective supply chain strategy. As retailers look to implement new technologies - like RFID - to improve supply chain efficiencies, data synchronization will play a critical role in ensuring the information exchanged among global trading partners is standardized and accurate," said Bobby Patrick, SVP and chief marketing officer at Global eXchange Services. "We're honored to spearhead development of the e.centre data pool, and help international manufacturers and retailers streamline supply chain processes to match consumer product demand and ultimately achieve greater profitability."

Fully compliant with EAN.UCC System standards, the e.centre data pool will be interoperable with other national data pools through an industry-operated Global Registry - the "Global Yellow Pages." Using the latest technology and standardized formats to capture and exchange information, the data pool will allow manufacturers to upload their product data, such as product dimensions, price and weight - and retailers to retrieve relevant manufacturers' product data in a standardized format, improving catalogue maintenance, order management and fulfillment.

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