|WHAT DOES fcB2B MEAN?|
"fcB2B" is an abbreviation for Floor Covering Business-to- Business Electronic Commerce.
It refers both to an Industry Association and to the Open Standards for E-commerce developed by this group, which represents the major suppliers and software companies in the flooring business.
OVF is proud to be a CHARTER MEMBER of the the fcB2B Association and an active participant in the development of the standards since 2000.
OVF now has over 125 fcB2B trading partners, most of whom are flooring retailers using the retail business management software shown to the right under RETAIL SOFTWARE PARTNERS.
WHAT DOES fcB2B DO?
The fcB2B Standards were created to make it EASY and INEXPENSIVE to exchange common business documents between different computer systems used in our industry.
Unlike Web-based E-commerce, the fcB2B Standards are designed for direct COMPUTER-TO-COMPUTER communication. Currently, they allow retailers who have compatible software to:
- Receive Item & Price Catalogs (832) from suppliers, including nightly updates
- Send Purchase Orders (850) to suppliers
- Receive PO Acknowledgments (855)
- Receive Advanced Shipping Notices (856)
- Receive Invoices (810)
By performing common, repetitive transactions automatically, all parties save time and money on data entry, while reducing errors and allowing employees to focus on more valuable and complex tasks.
OVF supports all of the available B2B transactions, placing us in the company of the major carpet mills, the only other suppliers in this territory with support for fcB2B.
WHAT'S THE BIG DEAL ABOUT fcB2B, ANYWAY?
In an age of inexpensive PCs, smartphones, and ubiquitous high-speed Internet access, we take for granted the kind of connectivity and interoperability that is necessary to make possible E-commerce. A quick bit of history will make sense of the the challenges that brought about the fcB2B ...
At its core, fcB2B is based on EDI (Electronic Data Interchange), which has been used for decades by large corporations worldwide.
|Through industry-wide cooperation and the adoption of new technologies, the benefits of a EDI—once accessible only to the largest companies—are now available to flooring retailers of all sizes.|
Before commercial use of the Internet became commonplace in the mid-1990s, corporations had to use expensive, private "value-added networks" (VANs) to exchange EDI documents. A corporation's computer would dial in to their VAN, drop off a batch of documents (for example, purchase orders), and pick up anything left for them by their trading partners (like invoices).
Transmission speeds were slow and the infrastructure was costly, so the VANs typically charged PER BYTE--which is a single letter or punctuation mark (and we thought text messaging was expensive at first!). Because of this, EDI was designed to be efficient, using 1-3 letter codes, special symbols, and abbreviations.
Of course, this meant it took teams of experts and specialized software to translate business documents into machine-readable EDI data sets. Analysts labored to create, test, and maintain “data maps” that often were hightly customized for each trading partner and transaction.
All of the expense and expertise required for EDI meant that it had to be used on a large scale in order to realize cost savings. EDI out of the reach of all but the largest businesses.
The fcB2B Standards overcame these problems by requiring that:
1. All data is exchanged over the Internet.
2. All partners use the same agreed-upon formats for common transactions across the industry.
The partner companies listed above are software providers with whom OVF has successfully integrated. This means that our mutual customers (retailers) are actively trading using the fcB2B Standards.
These company names and links are provided in the spirit of industry cooperation; however, no guarantees or warranties are expressed or implied by their inclusion here.
Please note that actual implementation of the fcB2B Standard can vary significantly among software companies; not all offer full support of all transactions or features in the fcB2B Standard, and some may require additional fees for B2B software and/or support. Please inquire directly with each software company about their specific capabilities, requirements, and costs.