Vanguard National Alliance Inc. (VNA) has developed a private trading exchange. VNA, a group of 49 electrical distributors that formed this summer to provide multi-site industrial companies with a package of Rockwell Automation products and solutions, selected NxTrend Technology Inc.'s bizLinx to support the private trading exchange. The exchange will serve as a single e-business solution for national accounts, coordinate sales activities and standardize multiple databases and back-office systems among the group's members.

“Each member runs a different distribution system,” said David Pratt, managing director of VNA. “While some are running NxTrend solutions, many are running other systems and databases.”

To deliver on the promise of a national accounts strategy, VNA's 49 distributors needed to function as efficiently and as coordinated as a single distributor. NxTrend's bizLinx solutions bring their disparate systems together into a single private trading exchange. VNA is trying to make it just as easy for national account customers to do business with the 49 members of VNA as it is to do business with a single, local distributor.

“They're working fast and furious trying to get the IT solution up and running,” said Sam McCamy, a member of the VNA's temporary board and the president of Roden Electrical Supply Co., Knoxville, Tenn.

VNA hopes this technology will help the group move toward its goal of providing a national accounts solutions to large industrials. The distributor members of VNA collectively sell 95 percent of all Allen-Bradley products in the United States.

Individual distributors face many obstacles when trying to service national accounts alone, said Pratt. “The benefits of vendor consolidation to the national customer are obvious,” Pratt said. “They have fewer transactions, lower purchasing costs, and lower overhead and administrative responsibilities.”

The group's mission is to provide large multi-site industrial companies with electrical and automation supplies and solutions such as technical support, repair services, logistics, procurement, MRO inventory management, and other critical plant services.

“We worked well over 12 months trying to find the right model that distributors could live with, Allen Bradley could live with and that we thought customers would be interested in,” Roden Electric's McCamy said.

For more information, contact Vanguard National Alliance via phone at (781) 772-1219 or via e-mail at info@vnaweb.com.

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