RealTime IT News

WorldWide Retail Exchange Is "Operational" -- CEO

[London, ENGLAND] Online auctions of corned beef, tiger shrimps and plastic coat hangers have helped make The WorldWide Retail Exchange (WWRE) operational, the e-marketplace announced Thursday.

Newly appointed Chief Executive Colin Dyer gave the news and said the service had successfully completed its series of online pilot auctions.

"What started out as an idea only six months ago is now up and running, saving money for retailers, suppliers and customers. We are truly moving at the speed of the Internet," said Dyer.

U.K. supermarket group Tesco was host to the first auction on August 14, during which seven suppliers competed over a three-hour period to offer quantities of corned beef. The result, according to Tesco, was a significant saving in cost and time.

Barry Knichel, director of supply chain research and development for Tesco, said the technology worked flawlessly and even the (presumably margin-squeezed) suppliers expressed enthusiasm for the future of the project.

Similar positive results emerged from a 24-hour auction for tiger shrimp held later in August by Netherlands-based Royal Ahold. This truly Dutch auction attracted suppliers from around the world and cut the process from a week to a day.

Ruud Van Der Pluijm, IS and IT program director at Royal Ahold, said speed is the hallmark of the process.

"With more transparency between buyers and suppliers, like we have with the WWRE, we found we were able to get instant answers to otherwise difficult business decisions," said Van Der Pluijm.

The corned beef and tiger shrimps were followed on August 23 by (what else?) plastic coat hangers in an auction held by Target Corporation of the U.S. Despite the rising oil price placing petroleum-based product prices at a 10-year high, Target still achieved some cost savings by going online, according to Tim Curoe, Target's director of B2B.

From these tentative beginnings, the WWRE appears to be set for a big future, having already signed up members who between them have combined sales of US $553 billion.

WWRE members include Albertson's, Best Buy, CVS, Gap, J.C. Penney, Safeway, Target, and Walgreen Co. from the United States, as well as such European companies as France's Auchan, Belgium's Delhaize Group and Spain's El Corte Ingles. U.K. members include Marks & Spencer and Tesco.