Private exchange to serve HMV suppliers both big and small

HMV Canada Inc. Wednesday announced it has selected Toronto e-commerce solutions company QLogitek to provide a private trading exchange which will allow suppliers both big and small to transmit orders online.

The music chain had been working towards a traditional electronic data interchange (EDI) implementation for large suppliers such as record companies and video suppliers. But that wouldn’t accommodate the hundreds of smaller suppliers that didn’t have the infrastructure to handle EDI, said Frank Koblun, vice-president consumer e-commerce and corporate technology for HMV Americas.

“We wanted to come up with a more cost-effective route, but also one where we could bring online our hundreds of smaller suppliers who were not EDI-ready. This was the perfect way to get them,” said Koblum.

The hybrid solution will handle EDI delivery online, but the simplicity of a browser interface means “the smaller vendors we have really now just need a PC and Internet connect or a fax machine,” he added.

“There’s a whole variety of technologies in there,” said Neel Sharma, director of e-business and supply chain automation, QLogitek.

The system QLogitek has sold to HMV (for an undisclosed amount) is its L’eBIZ solution, which is also in operation with clients such the Hudson’s Bay Co. and Sears Canada. The system comprises virtual private network (VPN) technology and a Web-based auto management system, which is what most smaller suppliers will be using to communicate with HMV. “Some very low end suppliers would be using an e-mail-, fax-based system,” added Sharma.

According to Koblum, HMV stands to save thousands of dollars per month once the system is implemented. At the moment, the company has to deal with manual data entry and paper invoices. L’eBIZ is currently being piloted with an undisclosed record company and HMV aims to officially launch the exchange by October. “We want to have as many (suppliers) as we can signed up before the Christmas trading period, before the influx of manual invoices comes in,” said Koblum.

HMV only evaluated Canadian e-commerce solutions providers since “we wanted someone with offices (and) decision-making here,” he said, adding HMV Japan is considering an online exchange for its own supply partners.

QLogitek currently hosts the solution for HMV Canada in-house, though it is looking for a third party, possibly in the United States, to take over all its hosting duties.

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