IT a mixed bag for grocery industry

Australia's grocery industry lags behind its global counterparts in the crucial areas of barcoding and electronic funds transfer, but is among the leaders in electronic data interchange and enterprise application use.

These findings are contained in research released by Coopers & Lybrand late last week, which also revealed that grocery retailers, wholesalers and manufacturers stripped $200 million from operating costs and reduced inventory by $250 million.

The results are the first to follow an industry-wide campaign led by the Grocery Industry Supply Chain Committee (GISCC) to shave off a further $1.1 billion in global supply chain cost savings.

Savings to date were attributed to streamlined production and distribution processes, rationalised production facilities and improved production efficiency.

Australian grocery manufacturers, wholesalers and resellers, however, still have a long way to go in international best practice in the enabling technologies area, according to Coopers & Lybrand partner Patrick Medley, Coopers & Lybrand conducted the study on behalf of the GISCC.

The study uncovered a number of industry trends. It found manufacturers and wholesalers lag behind retailers in regard to electronic commerce. Personal/household manufacturers, however, are more advanced than other manufacturers with implementation of electronic commerce.

In general, the Internet is not being used to exchange trading transactions and EDI messaging is being sent through proprietary networks rather than though the Internet.

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