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ALEXANDRIA, VA. -- Earlier this year, York, Pa.-based Rutter's Farm Stores approached Utz Quality Foods Inc. and asked it to help meet a business objective in driving costs out of the system. Less than three months later, the companies implemented a solution -- the electronic delivery of invoices via NACS-developed eXtensible Mark-up Language (XML), known as NAXML.
Utz is the latest industry supplier to provide electronic invoices using NAXML, which allows retailers to eliminate the blizzard of paperwork that has been the norm, and reduces administrative costs and input errors in entering information from invoices. The Georgia Lottery, Exxon Mobil Corp., Shell Oil Products U.S. and The Pepsi Bottling Group are just a few industry suppliers that also have implemented NAXML transactions for convenience store retailers.
NAXML is an open and non-proprietary language that convenience store retailers and suppliers can use to address the problem of loose system-to-system integration and data exchange. It lowers some of the barriers that traditional electronic data interchange has, making it particularly attractive for small- and medium-sized companies.
To make the NAXML invoicing possible, Utz and Rutter's, which have a long-standing business relationship, turned to Perfect Order Inc., to act as the solution integrator. The company set up a system that works within the framework of NAXML.
"The beauty of the system, which was simple to implement, is that we can send invoice information from Utz on a daily basis," said J. Ed Smith, Utz's chief information director. "In the second phase of the project, we will receive an electronic remittance from Rutter's, saving our accounting department significant time reconciling the billings."
"A great thing about the Perfect Order solution is that as an Internet appliance it not only handles the exchange of the business documents seamlessly but also manages the security issues and automatic notifications of delivery," said Rutter's President Scott Hartman.
"The flexibility and vision of Utz made this possible," said Hartman. He noted that three other companies are currently working on a similar project with Rutter's and said that he expects other suppliers will adopt it quickly as the word spreads of the mutual benefits.
This latest NAXML transmission advances the work done by members involved in NACS's Technology Standards Project to help companies automate their systems through several different enabling technologies and communications channels. The NACS Technology Standards Project was established in 1995 to focus on four key areas: electronic data interchange, common data communications between the back office and the point-of-sale terminal, electronic payment systems, and device interfaces with the point-of-sale terminal. Earlier this month, it was announced that the Petroleum Convenience Alliance for Technology Standards (PCATS) has been founded to continue the development and maintenance of standards work initiated under the NACS Technology Standards Project.