While at first blush it would seem that the benefits of Scan Based Trading are mainly derived from savings for the retailer, in fact, the Scan Based Trading supplier is usually the driver of Scan Based Trading as they receive huge benefits. In the magazine industry alone, the full implementation of SBT has been estimated to provide operational savings to the retailers and suppliers of $220 million per year.4 The benefits to the supplier to implement SBT include:
• Improved Retailer Relationships: The greatest competitive advantage for a supplier is increased collaboration and visibility within its retail-trading partner's organization. With partners agreeing on details like item, price, promotion and shrink at the onset of an SBT relationship, suppliers are able to better service accounts and reduce billing and invoice issues. Sara Lee reported a 60% reduction in invoice error correction costs by the implementation of SBT at an average cost of $70.00 per disputed invoice, the savings are substantial. The improved relationships also allow suppliers to use SBT as a competitive weapon to gain exclusivity at retailers. SBT suppliers are becoming increasingly aggressive in approaching retailers and offering to use SBT on all of their products in exchange for exclusivity in the retailer’s stores.
• Increased sales. SBT suppliers have estimated that their increase in sales by switching to a Scan Based Trading model is from 1% - 5%2
• Improved visibility of product sales – As a part of SBT programs, suppliers receive sales by item by store by date. This information provides the supplier with an up-to-date view on the sales of product which is invaluable in sales forecasting and inventory management. • Reduced cost of inventory - In the supply chain for supplier merchandized product retailers will experience a reduction in cost of inventory. With SBT, product deliveries are based on actual store inventory of individual items. There is a dramatic reduction in product held in the supply chain (typically held by suppliers agents/merchandisers/jobbers) by implementing SBT.
• Reduction in non-sellable product. Suppliers use SBT to lower the costs associated with non-sellable products (i.e. discontinued, damaged or out-of-code products that retailers return). SBT provides greater visibility into scan-sales data, allowing suppliers to better understand the demand chain so that they can anticipate and reduce obsolescence and improve overall profitability. • Reduced Time To Market - SBT allows suppliers to put new products into retail outlets at no risk to the retailer, since the supplier continues to own the inventory until it is scanned at the point of sale. This allows the supplier to determine new item performance and adjusting selection prior to wide scale rollout to all retail locations. The result is increased selection of timely products which results in a better shopping experience for the consumer and increased sales for both the retailer and supplier because the “expert” on product, the supplier, is in charge of inventory selection. On average, the time to roll out new CPG product is four weeks5, whereas the time to introduce new product with the “advanced” item synchronization business processes and the elimination of the item approval process inherent in Scan Based Trading, reduces the time by at least one half.5 • Reduced cost for sales staff to service retailers - By using the co-ordinated “bi-directional item information synchronization approach inherent in SBT, suppliers have reported a 7% to 13% reduction in sales force time spent communicating basic item information to customers, following up, resolving queries.5
For retailers, the implementation of SBT has been seen as a goal as it saves money and improves customer satisfaction. The following is a list of the benefits derived by retailers switching to SBT:
• Increased Sales - Typically, the increase was driven by the supplier having more time in the store to merchandise its product, fill holes, and maintain plan-o-gram integrity. In addition, several retailers mentioned suppliers were able to make an additional stop at each store during the week to merchandise products and prevent out-of-stocks. Salmon and Associates reported that “a grocery retailer’s sales increased in every product category it tested — from bread to ice to magazines. Sales increases ranged from 1% to 5%, based on product category”.2 Schnuck Markets reported a 4% increase in sales for its SBT pilot.3
• Reduced Invoice/Order Processing Costs – Retailers have reported that the cost to process SBT suppliers is much less than “normal” suppliers as items, price, promotions, and allowance disputes are greatly reduced by pre-set agreements and the use of EDI to synchronize Item information between suppliers and retailers. Schnuck Markets reported a nearly 70% reduction in invoice deductions with time spent resolving item and price discrepancies cut in half.3 At an average cost of $70.00 per disputed invoice, the savings are substantial.1
• Lowered Cost of Inventory – As SBT changes inventory ownership to the supplier, the retailer experiences a reduction in retailer-owned inventory.
• Improved Financial Metrics – Once inventory levels were reduced, all financial metrics that incorporate inventory levels, such as working capital required, return on assets (RONA), and quick ratios, showed improvement: working capital can be reduced as much as 15%, RONA increased as much 4%, and the quick ratio increased as much as 7%.2
• Reduced Stock Outages – SBT forces the supplier to manage and merchandize its products to ensure that the right product is on the shelf at the right time or the supplier will see a loss of revenue. This provides a powerful incentive to reduce stock outages. As an example, during its SBT pilot, Rite-Aid, realized a 32 percent decrease in out-of-stocks.6
References: 1Cyclone Commerce - Case Study – Sara Lee Bakery Group 2 Kurt Salmon and Associates – Fall 2004 – Secrets to Developing a Successful Scan Based Trading Program 3eCollaboration Standards – Benefiting from the EAN.UCC System 4 1999 – Mercer Management Consulting Study 5 A.T. Kearney, “Data Synchronization Proof of Concept: Case Studies from Leading Manufacturers and Retailers 6 The Benefits of Scan Based Trading by Line 56 – April 4, 2005 7 Retailer Quick Start for Scan Based Trading – SoftCare EC Inc. – January 6, 2006
• POS item descriptions,
• Long form item descriptions,
• Unit Cost Price,
• Retail Cost,
• Supplier Classification codes and
• Logistics information
To aid in the ongoing synchronization of items, the SBT supplier must send the retailer any item changes (modifications, additions, deletions) as soon as possible to ensure that the retailer's item database is fully synchronized to the supplier’s item database. If there are any “issues” with item synchronization, they will be addressed prior to the implementation of any further EDI documents.