eCommerce Best Practices Looks At The New Vendor Managed Inventory

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Vendor Managed Inventory is growing in importance to achieving market share. interviewed Food Lion, Gartner, and Army Air Force Exchange Services (AAFES) for this update.

eCommerce Best Practices ( presents a look at the new breed of VMI that has emerged and has become a top of mind project for many organizations of nearly every size.

According to Andrew White, Supply Chain Analyst for Gartner Group, "VMI has caught its second wind because the timing and technologies are now in place." White cites pervasive EDI, the drive to reduce inventory costs, and a variety of methods to evaluate and respond to market needs as the driving forces for VMI's revitalization.

At the same time, Connie Vandervort, EDI Manager for Army Air Force Exchange Services (AAFES) says, "Having the technology in place makes the process work, but without good, solid, human-to-human communication VMI will fall apart every time."

Food Lion has been using VMI since 1993 and has approximately 75% of its suppliers onboard. According to Food Lion, "The communication process between the VMI analysts, the buyers, and front line operations personnel [are the most significant obstacles to a successful VMI effort]."

The 'old' VMI is quickly being replaced by a more interactive approach that builds on the infrastructure and initiatives being pursued in the world of eCommerce. The mainstays of the effort are based in accurate information and open human communication. Actually, that doesn't sound much different from the way the rest of life works.

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About is a forum for discovering and promoting the Best Practices for e-Commerce. Newsletter is distributed to those interested in understanding how their peer organizations are archiving their goals with regard to EDI. Free subscriptions are available at

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Scott Koegler
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