TradingPartner.info provides essential resources and information to US retail suppliers. Established in 2004, the Trading Partner Information Exchange (TradingPartner.info) was the first change management solution for retail supplier compliance. (see below for history).
Today, TradingPartner.info has emerged as a collection of resources assisting retail suppliers to grow their businesses and understand the complexities in the retail environment.
TradingPartner. Media is a division of Bar Code Graphics, Inc. Since the inception of the UPC, Bar Code Graphics has been the US authority on barcodes and has assisted hundreds of thousands of companies with their barcoding needs by specializing in barcode origination, print quality, and data management. Identification Labs is the barcode testing and certification arm of Bar Code Graphics and works directly with the top retailers and manufacturers around the globe.
History of TradingPartner.info
The Trading Partner Information Exchange (www.tradingpartner.info) was established as a logical solution to a challenge originally faced by the major retail suppliers. The best way to understand exactly what TradingPartner.info provided and why it became the leading instrumental tool for maintaining compliance is to look back on how it originated.
Beginning with the original UCC technical committees (now GS1) for UPC barcode identification, Bar Code Graphics has actively participated in numerous industry associations working on barcode guidelines. In 2003 during a VICS Floor Ready committee meeting, many of the larger retail general merchandise suppliers voiced their aggravation trying to comply with their various retail trading partners’ numerous requirements. The participants of this group consisted of proactive suppliers who recognized the complexity of keeping current and wanted to avoid compliance offset charges. Aside from the financial impact of non-compliance, these suppliers recognized the larger ramifications of negatively impacting their trading partners’ supply chains. The scope of non-compliance spanned numerous areas including; EDI, Accounting, Packaging, and Transportation.
To further magnify the challenge these suppliers were facing, their retail trading partners’ supplier portals varied, and requirement changes were constantly occurring. Consequently, suppliers have had various individuals within different departments check on these requirement changes daily and some suppliers calculated their employees spend an average of 4 hours per day combined checking for updates.
At that time, our BCG testing center (now Identification Labs) was administering and supporting barcode compliance for some of the top US retailers. Due to our barcode certification programs, we were assisting 4,000+ suppliers from numerous retailers every year. Although our exposure to compliance at that time solely consisted of POS and logistic barcode issues, we understood the true impact of non-compliance in the retail supply chain. It was at this VICS meeting that the concept of an aggregated retail intelligence service was born. Four months later we sent out an email to our testing clients to introduce them to a pilot program we launched called the Trading Partner Information Exchange.
The core function of TradingPartner.info was to monitor web portals and direct subscribers to any/all pertinent changes. Since the base function of this service was to simplify change management, we wanted to provide daily email communications directing users to specific links and websites. Although the TradingPartner.info portal provided an in-depth archive of all of a retailer’s changes categorized by update type, our subscribers really valued the ease of researching a change directly from the information and links provided in the daily emails. When first launched, TradingPartner.info began tracking 29 retailers and by 2012, over 205 different retailer websites were reviewed daily and over 1000 top retail suppliers relied on the daily updates.
As the years progressed, retailers began integrating supplier compliance and logistic functions within their supplier portals. Consequently, suppliers were automatically required to have employees routinely access their trading partners’ portals. After the COVID-19 pandemic, the number of traditional brick-mortar retailers contracted, and there was significant consolidation among retail suppliers. Consequently, the value that TradingPartner.info originally provided was severely diminished. Many of our retail supplier subscribers still requested access to our link data so we now provide this website as a complimentary resource to the industry. In addition, we are continually adding additional “How To Do Business With” information for our GTIN.cloud subscribers.