Kroger To Suppliers: From Now On, Give Us Your Product Data Electronically

Kroger (NYSE:KR) has begun rolling out its new system for receiving packaged product information from suppliers, according to Supermarket News. The largest U.S. grocery chain made the announcement on Wednesday (June 12) at the GS1 US Connect 2013 conference in San Antonio.

The chain said the first phase of "Project Mercury" will involve suppliers of nine classes of products: packaged cheese, salad dressing, breakfast sausage, baby HBC (health and beauty care), coffee filters, bagged salad mix, air care, paper towels and packaged deli meat. Suppliers will be required to electronically provide detailed information on those products, ranging from package size and weight to nutritional components, starting in September.

Another 120 product classes will be added in spring 2014. Eventually 670 product classes will be included in the system, with information coming from manufacturers that supply products to all Kroger's banners except Fred Meyer.

Kroger is the last large U.S. grocer to adopt the system, which makes use of the Global Data Synchronization Network (GDSN) that's overseen by GS1. GDSN already contains product data on more than 9 million items, many of which are products Kroger buys, so suppliers that already use it will have an advantage. However, Kroger will be asking for additional product attributes that aren't already in the system. And any Kroger suppliers who don't want to use GDSN don't have to—but they still have to provide their product information electronically in the correct format and keep it updated.

Kroger originally tried to adopt GDSN in 2004 when GDSN was launched, but the project had to be abandoned until the chain's product management system could be completely rebuilt. That has meant some irritation among other chains, since it gave some suppliers an excuse to drag their feet in adopting the system. As of September, that excuse will be gone.

For more:

- See this Supermarket News story

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