Petzl has been awarded the INOVIS STAR award for leadership in business commerce automation from INOVIS Corp – a business commerce software company based in Atlanta. Using INOVIS Software, Petzl's IT department has created an original EDI (Electronic Data Interchange) style ordering system that will allow retailers to place orders directly through Petzl's inventory system.

The programming team at Petzl, headed by IT Director Ray Commins, has been developing the software in an effort to streamline ordering processes between retailer and vendor. “The work being done at Petzl is two to three years ahead of our other customers,” said Chris Gaughan of Inovis Corp. “Their team is exceptionally driven when it comes to bringing this technology to their dealers.”

Believing that XML is the future of business interface, Commins has played a large role in promoting this technology to the outdoor industry as a whole. In an effort to expedite the technology to retailers and fellow industry vendors, Petzl recently sponsored a round-table breakfast at the Outdoor Retailer summer market tradeshow,
where participants discussed the program's potential and intended applications.

In sharing the program with other vendors in the industry, Petzl intends to help develop a standard whereby retailers are capable of ordering the majority of their goods via the XML system. Ultimately, the technology stands to save retailers both time and money.

Retailer Dave Baker of Summit Hut worked closely with Petzl during the initial stages of the project, and sees utilization of XML technology as a “competitive imperative” for small to mid-sized retailers. “Petzl has been very instrumental at the vendor level” says Baker. “Ray Commins and his team definitely deserve this recognition”. Baker estimates that in the future this technology will add roughly 1% of gross sales to retailers' bottom line – a significant increase in the profit margin.

Petzl currently maintains an XML ordering system that retailers can use to place orders directly with Petzl electronically. However, the newly developed EDI is capable of linking inventory information from a retailer's POS system directly to Petzl's electronic inventory database, eliminating the step of online ordering and saving the retailer time and money. The cost of setting up this form if EDI is estimated at $5000 – less than 1/10 of traditional EDI costs to interface this XML technology with a retail POS system, with typical costs ranging from $25,000 to $500,000.

“Originally I thought the scope of this project might be too big for our small IT department to tackle,” Commins recounts. “After spending a month visiting Petzl's headquarters in France, I felt inspired by the innovation and leadership I witnessed in our R&D department. The demonstration of what they are capable of developing opened my mind to the possibilities and potential of championing this project with long-term goals that can benefit the entire industry – retailers and vendors alike.”