Here's a challenge: Bring food manufacturers, distribution companies and restaurant chains to an Internet system that discloses contract terms. You can't let distributors see manufacturers' pricing for the restaurants, and manufacturers can't see what competitors are charging. Participants get to see information specific to them.
That’s exactly what Tom Stewart, VP-business development for Distribution Market Advantage, has done. Stewart recently spearheaded the launch of a contract management system based on software from I-many Inc. Participating clients include General Mills, Tyson Foods, the Macaroni Grill restaurant chain and cafeteria giant Luby’s.
The goal is to shave the estimated 12 cents of every dollar spent chasing late payments, rebates and other contract terms, Stewart said.
Stewart began his career as a field sales representative and has found that experience outside of information technology helps when bringing together trading partners.
"The business perspective allows you to see the way a system is supposed to flow," he said. "When you’ve got experience in how trade has been managed through the years, it allows you to more clearly understand the requirements of a software application."