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Vendor Managed Inventory (VMI) Successes, Innovations and Best Practices Shared Among Consumer and Industrial Market Leaders at 2017 Datalliance Forum

Posted on May 22, 2017

The 2017 Datalliance Forum, the world’s largest annual cross-industry gathering focused entirely on the subject of Vendor Managed Inventory (VMI) and related collaborative replenishment processes, attracted attendees from North America and Europe across a wide range of consumer and industrial markets.Attendees included representatives from suppliers, wholesale distributors and retailers. Held May 8-10 in Cincinnati, Ohio, it focused on best practices and successes, as well as innovations across many aspects of VMI. This year’s event was the 12th annual Forum hosted by Datalliance.

With a theme of ‘bridge to success’, the Forum’s program featured speakers from companies ranging from industrial and consumer goods manufacturers to leading wholesale and retail distributors all talking about various aspects of their VMI programs and relationships. Attendees included professionals in customer service, supply chain, inventory, e-commerce, purchasing and sales roles. Manufacturers of consumer products found in numerous aisles of grocery, drug, dollar and auto parts stores were in attendance along with some of the world’s leading manufacturers of electrical, plumbing, power transmission and heavy duty vehicle products.It was a very diverse group, but one that shared a common interest in the operational, financial and strategic benefits of VMI.

Datalliance President and CEO Carl Hall summarized results from a study of 822 distributor/retailer locations showing that they had, on average, reduced out-of-stocks 24%, increased turns 22%, increased items carried 25% and increased sales 22% in their first year of supplier VMI programs. He also stated that Datalliance customers had added 568 new VMI-managed locations in 27 countries since January 2015. In a later presentation, speakers from Rockwell and SKF further emphasized the globalization of VMI by describing their respective world-wide growth – especially in Latin America and Asia/Pacific. In a separate survey, 97% of respondents said that they planned to expand their VMI programs over the coming year.

The agenda included many breakouts covering new and planned capabilities of the Datalliance VMI platform, as well as introduction of a new Executive Dashboard designed to provide never before available insights into downstream sales and inventory trends based on innovative use of the data already being collected from tens of thousands of locations by Datalliance.

The Forum also included an engaging and thought-provoking keynote presentation by author and F-500 consultant Ira Blumenthal on the importance of strategic alliances in today’s world, as well as key attributes of successful collaboration. Datalliance ‘how-to’ tutorial sessions, structured and unstructured networking opportunities and evening social events rounded out the program.

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