UK retailer, WHSmith, has completed an ambitious project to consolidate its B2B e-commerce network using GXS Trading Grid and GXS managed services. The move has provided WHSmith with a standardised and simplified approach to B2B e-commerce, enabling the company to focus on accelerating its supply chain initiatives rather than managing technology. GXS’ global B2B platform also provides WHSmith with support for suppliers that vary in their e-commerce capabilities and technology sophistication; insulation from the complexity of evolving standards; support for multiple transaction formats beyond basic electronic data interchange (EDI); and tight integration with internal systems.
WHSmith had been a long-term user of several point solutions, data exchange methods and value added networks to support its e-business strategy, but decided to consolidate its activities using GXS managed services. The managed services enables companies to outsource many of the day-to-day aspects of managing their B2B integration infrastructure. The system enables WHSmith to automate transactions with their trading partners while shielding them from rapidly changing standards, eliminating manual and duplicative efforts and enabling a high level of process integration and business intelligence. For WHSmith, one of the key benefits of the company’s use of the managed services system has been WHSmith’s ability to more easily support in-store replenishment.
‘Using GXS managed services to place orders, receive confirmations, and transmit shipping notices and invoices enables stores to have stock replenished on shelves within two to three days of selling an item like a book. In other areas of the business, we’ve cut lead times for new stock from several weeks to less than a week,’ says Alastair Reid, support manager for the trading and marketing teams at WHSmith. ‘It has enabled us to move to a direct-from-supplier supply chain model. Instead of shipping orders to stores from stocks held in our warehouses, we now have consolidation centres that take incoming orders from suppliers, split them by store and consolidate goods from many suppliers into a single delivery for each store.’
Using the system WHSmith has been able to reallocate staff from processing paper or manual re-keying of data to activities that add more value to the business and make better use of their expertise, such as investigating invoice discrepancies. This has been coupled with greater visibility across the supply chain.