Setting Standards

Report highlights benefits of electronic invoicing

ALEXANDRIA, Va. -- The National Association of Convenience Stores and the Petroleum Convenience Alliance for Technology Standards (PCATS) have released the results of a benchmarking study conducted by Deloitte Consulting LLP that details the benefits and opportunities retailers and suppliers may obtain from implementing electronic invoicing and item data alignment.

The report, Boost Your Bottom Line: Driving Business Value Through PCATS-NAXML EB2B, available in a full report or executive summary format, is a thought-leadership position paper for [image-nocss] executive decision-makers, according to NACS. The benefits and opportunities documented in the report apply equally to all convenience store retailers, whether national or regional chains or local retailers. Other retail channels, such as independent grocers and supermarket operators, also will find the report provides comparable opportunities for increased efficiencies.

Korbin King, 7-Eleven's information systems manager, merchandising support, and a member of PCATS, led the PCATS Implementation Committee to oversee development of the report. "Convenience store retailers and their trading partners can benefit now from implementing PCATS standards to enable electronic commerce initiatives such as data alignment and invoicing, King said. I believe that the results from this study will compel other companies to consider adopting PCATS standards in order to realize the same kinds of benefits articulated by the study participants."

"Since beginning our efforts to bring technology standards and improve efficiency for the industry in 1995, one of the key hurdles to implementation and acceptance by company leaders has been determining the return for them, said Teri Richman, NACS senior vice president of research and public affairs. This report lays out the benefits in clear and concise terms and will be extremely beneficial to executives as they make decisions about moving to electronic business processes.

A key finding from the report reveals how the PCATS-NAXML EB2B standards can directly and positively affect both retailers and suppliers. Today, companies that have implemented PCATS EB2B standards are realizing the following strategic benefits:

Improved store/back-door check-in accuracy and efficiency;

Increased allocation of store-management time spent on product and customer analysis;

Improved profitability due to higher-quality pricebook data;

Increased allocation of resources to customer-service initiatives; and

Improved new-product introduction and product assortment decisions due to a reduction in sales-buyer time focused on researching and resolving historical errors or data quality problems.

"The study confirmed significant, hard-dollar benefits are available to any convenience store retailer or supplier, regardless of size, by implementing the PCATS EB2B standards," said Dan Fitzgibbons, lead engagement principal of Deloitte Consulting. "The PCATS standards were built to support the way the industry participants do business today, which reduces the implementation complexity that sometimes occurs in other e-commerce initiatives."

The PCATS-NAXML standards are consensus-based, publicly available specifications designed to allow easy and inexpensive exchanges of electronic invoices, item data and other supply chain information between suppliers and retailers. The PCATS-NAXML standards for electronic invoices and basic item alignment have been in production between retailers and suppliers for over two years, and have a growing community of users.

The view a PDF of thefull report, please click here.