House of Fraser syncs supplier data

House of Fraser today said it is outsourcing the key exchange of product data between itself and its suppliers to improve its supply chain accuracy and performance.The UK department store chain will synchronise product data through a single, third-party data exchange point to increase supply chain efficiency by eliminating costly mistakes caused by poor data quality. The initiative is also anticipated to reduce the time taken to capture information by as much as 50 per cent on hundreds of thousands of items it sources to sell through its stores every year. Mike Hiscock, House of Fraser director of IT solutions, told IT PRO the retailer wanted to create a simplified system for communicating with suppliers to eliminate the need for staff to spend time manually finding, formatting and re-keying supplier data for every product stocked."We wanted to a get to a situation where we had one push' technology for supply data so suppliers could publish product information or amendments to us once," he said. "It makes it much easier for us to access product information and, from a sales perspective, we know we're ordering the right product for sale at the right time."Hiscock said the retailer had just begun contacting some 900 suppliers of own-bought products as part of its implementation of the Inovis Data Synchronisation Service service. "The benefit to suppliers is that they don't have to maintain one-to-one, point data interchanges with each retail customer," he said. "They can use Inovis to enter information only once." The Inovis service will provide House of Fraser and its suppliers with a collaborative platform for consistent data on product attributes such as price, colour and size. Hiscock said electronic images associated with individual items would follow in later phases of the project to introduce the service.John King, House of Fraser chief executive, added: "I'd like to see the communication traffic between House of Fraser and our suppliers to be about sales, new store openings, exciting new products and our joint customers rather than about data related issues."

Miya Knights

A 25-year veteran enterprise technology expert, Miya Knights applies her deep understanding of technology gained through her journalism career to both her role as a consultant and as director at Retail Technology Magazine, which she helped shape over the past 17 years. Miya was educated at Oxford University, earning a master’s degree in English.

Her role as a journalist has seen her write for many of the leading technology publishers in the UK such as ITPro, TechWeekEurope, CIO UK, Computer Weekly, and also a number of national newspapers including The Times, Independent, and Financial Times.