RealTime IT News

50 Companies Join Grocer Group for B2B Marketplace

Fifty of the world's largest food, beverage, and consumer product manufacturers are teaming up with the industry trade association Grocery Manufacturers of America to explore the creation of a new, open electronic B2B marketplace.

The idea is to make the electronic marketplace accessible to all supply chain players, beginning with the procurement of materials, supplies and services. Companies involved include General Mills, Procter & Gamble, Unilever, Coca Cola and Kraft, among a host of other household names.

Initially, the effort would bring multiple buyers and sellers into a virtual marketplace to support catalog purchasing, bidding and price quotes, online sourcing and auctions for raw materials, packaging supplies, and other goods and services critical to their operations, the GMA said.

The exchange could eventually encompass other supply chain processes, such as collaborative planning and demand management, flow management, order fulfillment, customer service, new product commercialization, and relationship management. Ford, General Motors and Chrysler recently announced a similar initiative for the automotive industry.

PricewaterhouseCoopers is providing e-business consulting support for the grocery initiative, including strategy, design and infrastructure consulting services.

Participants expect to reach a definitive agreement on the terms, including name, ownership structure for the venture, and provisions to protect the confidentiality of a company's information, in the second quarter.

GMA said it has been working closely with consumer packaged goods executives to identify areas within the industry where traditional business models and processes can be transformed using the Internet.

"The new marketplace will dramatically change the way we do business, by providing a standard for manufacturers and their suppliers to fill their procurement needs and more effectively facilitate other business processes in our industry," said GMA President and Chief Executive Officer C. Manly Molpus.

Led by a board of 44 chief executive officers, the GMA applies legal, scientific and political expertise from its member companies to food, nutrition and public policy issues affecting the industry.