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Walmart to share more data, tighten deadlines

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NEW YORK — Walmart plans to share more data with its suppliers in an effort to keep its inventories lean while ensuring that customers can find the products they want on store shelves. But the retailer will also fine suppliers who don’t consistently deliver merchandise on time.

The company said its On Shelf Customer Availability (OSCA) data, previously accessible only internally, would be shared with business partners, according to a Reuters report. The data was shared at Walmart’s Supplier Growth Forum event, held earlier this week in Bentonville, Ark.

 “We have reduced inventory in stores in order to have the right amount of stock and have made significant progress in the past few years,” Walmart U.S. chief merchandising officer Steve Bratspies told Reuters. “We want to focus on improving that even more.”

Walmart also aims to boost its revenue by insisting that suppliers deliver their goods on time, or pay a fine. The retailer will now require large suppliers to deliver full orders within a pre-specified delivery window 85% of the time or face a fine equivalent to 3% of the cost of goods involved, according to the Reuters report. That threshold is up from the previous requirement that 75% of orders be delivered within the window to avoid fines.

Smaller suppliers have it easier, although their standards are also being raised. They will soon have to make 50% of their deliveries within the specified window to avoid being fined. Previously the threshold was 33%.

The change will take effect in April, Bratspies told Reuters.


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