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It’s no surprise that the economy has thrown private label into the spotlight, but store-brand programs are about a lot more than price. Indeed, retailers are applying the tools they use for branded products to those products created in their own name, and technology is no different.
This is why technology and supply chain automation are two key components of the Private Label Manufacturers Association’s new Innovation Hall, a “show-within-a-show” at the association’s upcoming annual trade show, which will be held at the Rosemont Convention Center, Nov. 15 to Nov. 17, in Chicago.
“The Innovation Hall represents the next logical step in the evolution of store brands,” says Brian Sharoff, president of the Private Label Manufacturers Association (PLMA). “Over the past decade, store brands have expanded to annual sales of $80 billion. This has been driven by remarkable gains in product quality and assortment. But as business gets larger, more complex and more demanding, there is a strategic need by both retailers and manufacturers for more than just products.”
The new exhibition space will feature an array of companies offering innovative products and services for private label that go beyond product development. PLMA’s Innovation Hall will concentrate on services and ideas that are necessary for growth to continue:
• Laboratory testing and certification to ensure product quality, consistency and safety
• Market research, marketing services and business consulting to manage store brands as brands
• Software and technology that can be applied in all aspects of sales, marketing and supply chain operations
• Packaging design and graphics to reflect the greater importance of premium products and expansion into new categories
• Logistics and supply chain to guarantee superior service and greater efficiency
• International sourcing to give retailers and manufacturers access to the global marketplace
• Manufacturing equipment to increase the capability of suppliers to produce new products quickly and achieve higher volumes
• Financial services to allow retailers to offer their customers financial services that round out the shopping experience
“If store brands are going to sustain their success in the decade ahead, retailers and manufacturers will have to commit themselves to innovation in products and services,” added Sharoff.
In addition to company exhibits, there will be demonstrations and classes open to all trade show attendees. The Innovation Hall will also open the day before the regular show floor starts so that exhibitors and visitors alike can participate.
PL Data Sync
1SYNC last week launched a Brand Identity solution to allow users at every level of the supply chain to exchange accurate, consistent item information for multisourced, private label product brands safely and securely, through the Global Data Synchronization Network (GDSN).
“The industry can benefit greatly from a solution that helps protect data integrity for brands with multiple data sources in a supply chain,” says Andrew White, research VP at Gartner. “Assuring and protecting data quality is essential for successful ongoing e-commerce collaboration for the entire business community. Exchanging clean, accurate data among trading partners will help lower supply chain costs — a recommended focus area for companies in these difficult economic times.”
Historically, the members of supply chains with several data sources have found it difficult to take advantage of data synchronization, as multiple sourcing has tended to introduce data inconsistencies, according to 1SYNC. For instance, a national supermarket chain might obtain its private label green beans from numerous regional produce suppliers, or a hardware chain might purchase the same brand of door hinges from different distributors. The probability of data errors increases substantially when multiple suppliers are entering the same data for the same product or brand.
These data errors in the supply chain can result in inefficiencies and high costs. Incorrect package-weight data may lead to inefficient loading of trucks, thereby increasing shipping costs, fuel costs and fines at weighing stations for trucks; incorrect package dimensions can lead to insufficient or excessive storage space allotments; and errors of any type increase labor and administrative costs incurred to determine the correct information and initiate corrective actions.
The new online tool is for organizations that are part of the multisource supply chain, including retailers, suppliers, private label manufacturers, distributors, wholesalers, brokers and co-ops in all industry verticals.
To demonstrate the value of the 1SYNC Brand Identity solution, 1SYNC engaged retailers and suppliers to conduct testing of data for brands with 68 Global Trade Item Numbers (GTIN) coming from multiple suppliers. Participants included Associated Grocers of Baton Rouge; Daymon Worldwide, Dean Foods; Harris Tea; Knouse Foods Cooperative, Inc.; Land O’Lakes; PepsiCo; Topco Associates, LLC; Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.; and Wegmans Food Markets, Inc.
According to 1SYNC, the Brand Identity solution not only flagged and stopped 123 errors on the 68 items before they went into the GDSN, it also caught and flagged 83 errors on items that already existed in the GDSN. Some of the errors were related to product dimensions, weights and bar codes. The corrections prevented a variety of supply chain issues that affect logistics, point of sale, and purchasing and invoicing processes/systems.
“This solution works great,” said Betty Tyson, data synchronization project lead at Knouse. “It is intuitive and easy to use. We have been waiting for a private label tool like this. In the past, we only received calls sporadically if data was missing or incorrect, but now with this tool, it will be very streamlined.”
Kamaria Rivera, Wegmans’ data sync team member, added, “Correcting bad data in the system after it has entered the network is always a challenge and adds unnecessary time and cost. The 1SYNC Brand Identity solution can help to successfully prevent bad data from flowing into the supply chain. With this solution, we hope to reduce data inaccuracies, which would tremendously benefit us and our suppliers.”
The Brand Identity Solution is currently available for companies in all industry verticals. More information on the 1SYNC Brand Identity Value Study is available at www.1sync.org/documents/solutions/1SYNC%20Brand%20Identity%20Solution%20Value%20Study%20Jan.2009.pdf.