Electronic Price Update Standards

As astronaut Neil Armstrong stepped to the surface of the moon in July 1969, he said the historic words "That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.” A paraphrase might be: "While this step is a small one, it will ultimately affect mankind in ways few people could possibly imagine.” While I'm in no way trying to compare the work of the GAWDA Management Information Committee with the space program, a seemingly small recent event has the potential to impact welding supply distributors in some pretty significant ways.

The GAWDA Management Information Committee recently finished a revision to the Electronic Price Update Standard. At first glance, this event does not seem to be much of a reason to start waving flags and shooting off fireworks. However, after realizing what the price update standard does, we can quickly see why vendors, software companies and distributors all have a reason to celebrate.

Format Consistency
One of the biggest benefits of the Electronic Price Update Standard is that now all vendors can send out their pricing information in one format regardless of to whom they are sending it. On the receiving side, software vendors and distributors will spend less time and effort programming because the pricing information can come to them in one consistent format, regardless of the vendor. They can have one price update program that will work with any vendor who adopts the price update standard. Vendors, software companies and distributors will all benefit from these efficiencies.

Pricing Update
Another major benefit is that prices and costs get updated to your inventory file in a matter of minutes, compared to manual data entry of pricing information that may take hours, days or even weeks in some extreme cases. As a distributor, not only is time saved, but data is more accurate, because the many mistakes that are often created as a result of manual data entry have been eliminated.

POS Bar Coding
If you've been putting off the move to point of sale bar coding, the electronic price updates from vendors can remove one of the major objections, because the price update standard contains the vendors’ UPC number. While the prices and costs are being updated, the UPC codes used for reading barcodes can also be verified. The Electronic Price Update Standard will help make the move to point of sale bar coding a lot less painful.

Accounts Payable
When electronic price updates are used to update the inventory costs, then the purchase orders issued to vendors will be more accurate. If the right costs are in the inventory records, the costs on purchase orders will match the vendors’ costs. When the invoice comes in from the vendor, everything will match up properly, reducing calls to the vendor and speeding up the entire accounts payable process.

Gross Profit Margins
Since customers are often quoted prices as a percentage discount off the list price, if list prices are incorrect, the discounted prices will be incorrect and the profit margins will also be incorrect. Using the electronic price updates helps to protect the gross margins by making sure the list prices that are being used are current and correct. The newly revised Electronic Price Update Standard may be just one small step on behalf of the GAWDA Management Information Committee, but it is one giant step for the welding supply distributor.