From the Top

From the Top - Steve Smith - GCommerce

Written by Scott Koegler
Published on Monday, 14 March 2011
GCOMLogoLast week I spoke with Steve Smith, President and CEO of GCommerce, about their approach to streamlining the procurement process for the company's customers.

 

ec-bp:  What is the current focus of your business?
 
Smith: The GCommerce focus is on partnering with customers in distribution supply chain markets to co-create cloud native procurement solutions and services globally.  More simply put we are helping companies adopt EDI to streamline their procurement processes.  We utilize a meta data model to ease adoption.  This model combines the requirements of multiple buyer’s specifications and layout rules into a common “Super Spec”.  The result is reduced mapping time at the supplier; improved quality and less testing time as there is consistency in files since fewer changes are needed to import and export files.  Our customers save time and money and are able to focus their time and energy on their core business.
 
ec-bp: How has this focus changed in the last 2 years?

Smith: Two years ago we were building our foundation - a meta data model which is now accepted by AAIA as the standard for the automotive aftermarket industry.  We were also searching for technologies and partners to support our long term initiatives.  The industry adoption of the meta data model combined with the availability of cloud computing is allowing us to introduce new products to meet the evolving needs of the marketplace.  Continued adoption of EDI for smaller customers with less technology resources has created new demand for easier to use and easier to implement products.  In addition, the ongoing problem of meeting the challenges of inventory visibility for the special ordering process in the automotive aftermarket continued to need a solution.
 
ec-bp: What are your current initiatives?
 

Smith: With the AAIA Super Spec in place we are focusing on building market adoption.  This involves building a compliance tool to provide a common understanding of the files, layouts and data elements so one map covers it all.  If their technology cannot support trade of certain document we are developing tools which can be used to fill that gap and take a step forward in automating their procurement processes.
 
GCommerce has launched a new cloud initiative, VIC (Virtual Inventory Cloud).  VIC gives Buyers visibility of their supplier’s inventory and information needed to make a buying decision without having to access multiple websites or making numerous phone calls.  The meta data model we use is the foundation of the architecture of the Cloud.

 
ec-bp: How has the market for EDI changed with the impact of the internet?
 
Smith: The internet has enhanced our capabilities.  We use the internet to support many of our customers who are not able to provide strong consistent file layouts and documents.  As people have become more comfortable with transacting business electronically via the internet their concerns about documents flowing electronically has lessened.
 
ec-bp: What are the greatest challenges for your customers?
 

Smith: Special orders; direct ship; cross dock; slot ship orders do not fit neatly into the EDI process for ordering to stock warehouses.   These non stock orders represent 80% of the volume but account for only 20% of the revenue and 80% of the costs tied to processing them manually.  As efficiencies are made to improve the stock ordering processes these inefficiencies are more pronounced so the need feels greater as they see the value of true EDI ordering. 
 

ec-bp: How are you helping your customers address these challenges?

Smith: With the meta data model and VIC we are offering a total solution.  Customers can view inventory availability through the VIC service and place the order via EDI.  This results in a more consistent ordering process which decreases their costs and increases their ability to fill an out of stock order request.  Fewer lost sales, fewer mistakes and more automated processes means a healthier bottom line.


SteveSmithGCommSteve Smith, President and CEO of GCommerce

Prior to founding GCommerce, Mr. Smith worked as an executive for 15 years in market-leading global sales and marketing organizations. Conducting business in more than 90 countries, Mr. Smith was responsible for building multi channel, multi lingual product merchandising strategies. His core business included CPG companies who sell on a worldwide basis to Wal-Mart, Sam's Club, Costco, Carrefour and Macro. The best practices that Mr. Smith gleaned in global supply chain management working with Wal-Mart internationally for a period of five years formed the foundation for much of the innovation that drives GCommerce today. Mr. Smith is a unique blend of thought leader, technology innovator and visionary
entrepreneur.

For more than 10 years, Mr. Smith has been an active Angel investor in New York and the Upper Midwest, both as direct investor and Angel investment aggregator. He also actively participates in numerous board advisory positions for early-stage technology  companies, especially those targeting supply chain efficiencies.

Mr. Smith remains active in numerous trade associations such as the Automotive Aftermarket Industry Association (AAIA) as well as the Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) as a technology and supply chain expert. In 2009, GCommerce received the Technology Company of the Year from the Technology Association of Iowa, and, most recently was the recipient of AMR Research's inaugural John Fontanella Supply Chain Innovation Award. In 2008, the Automotive Aftermarket Alliance recognized GCommerce as their technology Partner of the year for their work in developing the Alliance Total EDI Solution.

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