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Technology / AI and automation


Supermarket chain Safeway Plc is making the promise of the intranet or extranet a reality by giving its food suppliers in the UK access to its central stock computer to improve product availability. The company is using a system known as the Supplier Information Service that can be accessed from anywhere in the world, enabling everyone involved in the supply chain process to share information and communicate with one another more effectively to improve the process from start to finish. The SIS has been developed in conjunction with IBM Corp using a parallel DB2 database running on IBM Enterprise servers running OS/390. To access information in the system, the user connects to the internet, an intranet or a community network extranet using a standard web browser. The server serves web pages coded in HTML and JavaScript with Java applets to the user’s browser to provide the user interface. The system is thought to be the first of its kind, and at the moment only applies in the UK. It will enable suppliers to view stock availability relating only to the products they supply, via the internet enables secure access into the company’s mainframe data warehouse. Safeway staff will view the same information via the company’s recently installed network computers (CI No 3,158), the main aim of the system being to improve communication and operations between the store and its suppliers. The company ultimately hopes the SIS system will be able to improve stock monitoring, giving it competitive advantage by having more stock available to its customers.

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CBR Staff Writer

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