posted on March 15, 2011 15:03
From the Top - Steve Smith - GCommerce
Last week I spoke with Steve Smith, President and CEO of GCommerce, about their approach to streamlining the procurement process for the company's customers.
ec-bp: What is the current focus of your business?
Smith: The GCommerce focus is on partnering with customers in distribution supply chain markets to co-create cloud native procurement solutions and services globally. More simply put we are helping companies adopt EDI to streamline their procurement processes. We utilize a meta data model to ease adoption. This model combines the requirements of multiple buyer’s specifications and layout rules into a common “Super Spec”. The result is reduced mapping time at the supplier; improved quality and less testing time as there is consistency in files since fewer changes are needed to import and export files. Our customers save time and money and are able to focus their time and energy on their core business.
ec-bp: How has this focus changed in the last 2 years?
Smith: Two years ago we were building our foundation - a meta data model which is now accepted by AAIA as the standard for the automotive aftermarket industry. We were also searching for technologies and partners to support our long term initiatives. The industry adoption of the meta data model combined with the availability of cloud computing is allowing us to introduce new products to meet the evolving needs of the marketplace. Continued adoption of EDI for smaller customers with less technology resources has created new demand for easier to use and easier to implement products. In addition, the ongoing problem of meeting the challenges of inventory visibility for the special ordering process in the automotive aftermarket continued to need a solution.
ec-bp: What are your current initiatives?
Smith: With the AAIA Super Spec in place we are focusing on building market adoption. This involves building a compliance tool to provide a common understanding of the files, layouts and data elements so one map covers it all. If their technology cannot support trade of certain document we are developing tools which can be used to fill that gap and take a step forward in automating their procurement processes.
GCommerce has launched a new cloud initiative, VIC (Virtual Inventory Cloud). VIC gives Buyers visibility of their supplier’s inventory and information needed to make a buying decision without having to access multiple websites or making numerous phone calls. The meta data model we use is the foundation of the architecture of the Cloud.
ec-bp: How has the market for EDI changed with the impact of the internet?
Smith: The internet has enhanced our capabilities. We use the internet to support many of our customers who are not able to provide strong consistent file layouts and documents. As people have become more comfortable with transacting business electronically via the internet their concerns about documents flowing electronically has lessened.
ec-bp: What are the greatest challenges for your customers?
Smith: Special orders; direct ship; cross dock; slot ship orders do not fit neatly into the EDI process for ordering to stock warehouses. These non stock orders represent 80% of the volume but account for only 20% of the revenue and 80% of the costs tied to processing them manually. As efficiencies are made to improve the stock ordering processes these inefficiencies are more pronounced so the need feels greater as they see the value of true EDI ordering.
ec-bp: How are you helping your customers address these challenges?
Smith: With the meta data model and VIC we are offering a total solution. Customers can view inventory availability through the VIC service and place the order via EDI. This results in a more consistent ordering process which decreases their costs and increases their ability to fill an out of stock order request. Fewer lost sales, fewer mistakes and more automated processes means a healthier bottom line.
||About the author:
||Scott Koegler is Editor in Chief of ec-bp.org. His background includes 15 years experience as CIO for mid-sized companies, and nearly 20 years writing about technology for a wide range of computer industry publications. Scott founded the ec-bp.org, and continues to guide the publication as a vehicle for delivering insight and direction to those involved in managing EDI and the processes around the technology.