Smart & Final's 'Little Engine That Could' Recognized With e-Commerce Best Practices Honorable Mention

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When Smart & Final decided to implement EDI for purchase order processing, Sandy Milon, the company's EDI coordinator, knew she had her work cut out for her. Smart & Final's Milon was the recipient of's 2005 Honorable Mention for e-Commerce Best Practices implementation. promotes the establishment of Best Practices in e-Commerce. This is an example of the kinds of successful implementations we promote. congratulates Sandy Milon and Smart & Final on its accomplishments and receipt of the 2005 e-Commerce Best Practices Honorable Mention. "We are the "Little Engine That Could" because we have been able to get 95% of our suppliers onboard with our EDI purchase order process, and the remaining 5% are special cases that we are not going to process electronically." That means that 100% of the company's target vendors are now onboard.

"The company decided it was time to increase the efficiency of our order process, and we started sending out letters to our suppliers," according to Milon. "It all started when our Senior VP saw the staff faxing purchase orders." The manual processing of faxes was taking an inordinate amount of time, and upper management gave the go-ahead for a mandate.

Smart & Final made EDI purchase order processing a condition of doing business for its suppliers. According to Milon, "We sent out letters to all our vendors laying out timing and conditions we expected them to meet. Although we did require compliance, we didn't mandate any particular service provider."

At one point, Milon had 60 vendors in the testing phase. "We don't require testing for new vendors that send us purchase orders through service providers we recommend like Owens Direct, because they handle the testing for us," Milon explains. Those companies that process orders directly with Smart & Final do require a testing phase, but the company does not impose a charge for testing.

The Smart & Final team's efforts and success in bringing its suppliers into compliance in a fair and reasonable way exemplify's tenets. is now accepting applications for supporting memberships. For more information on supporting e-Commerce Best Practices, visit

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