The supply chain management/logistics business has traditionally been marked by a lack of standards. Yet within the auto and truck parts industry, beta testing has now begun on a new XML-enabled implementation of VMI (vendor-managed inventory) that is expected to be submitted to the OAG (Open Applications Group) for formal standardization.
Charlotte, N.C.-based Boone Parts and Service Company is the first beta tester for the new implementation of VMI, which is being co-developed by warehouse systems management vendor DST and EDM, an ASP specializing in VMI. VMI is a set of technologies aimed at shifting inventory management and replenishment from customers and suppliers.
"We deliver VMI as a service," said Carl Hall, president of EDM, in an interview with eWEEK.com. Beyond XML, a technology still new for EDM, the ASP also supports EDI (electronic data interchange) and flat file implementations of VMI.
XML has already been deployed rather widely for exchanging purchase orders between suppliers and customers, but the same doesnt hold true for VMI, according to Hall.
EDI has been working with its partner DST on a set of XML specifications that build on electronic POs by letting customers "give back the rebuying or replenishment function to the supplier," he said.
According to a DST representative, DST decided to team with EDM on the implementation due to demand among some of its IBM iSeries customers for EDMs VMI service.
The XML implementation of VMI will be available to customers of both EDM and DST, as well as to other parties in the automotive and truck parts aftermarket industry, including members of the HDA Parts Network, a heavy-duty truck parts marketing group.
HDeXchange, a nonprofit affiliate of HDA Parts Network, is currently running three working drafts of related documents on its Web site: AcknowledgePurchaseOrder, SyncProductActivity and AllocatePurchaseOrderID.
HDeXchange is also working on submitting the VMI implementation to the OAG, said Edward Kuo, general manager of HDeXchange. One of the HDA groups members is also a member of the OAG, he said.