Retailers back use of IT in industry
THE Retail Management Association was founded 10 years ago by a group with a long-term mission to present a unified voice on issues that affect all retailers.
The other objectives include raising the status and professionalism for retailing in Hong Kong, exchanging and sharing information on competitive issues, and initiating action where appropriate.
Today, the association, represented by most of the major retail chains in Hong Kong with more than 400 members, has expanded its activities to many new areas and is concentrating its efforts on some of the critical issues that affect the retail trade.
In its attempt to elevate the overall standard of the retail industry, the association has introduced many training programmes, including a Diploma of Retail Management in association with HKMA, Total Quality Management (TQM) seminars, a courtesy programme, and a number of specialised programmes with the Vocational Training Council, ICAC and Consumer Council.
On a longer term basis, the association is studying the possibility of introducing accreditation standards to the retail industry.
Better utilities of information technology have been perceived by the members as the future trend of retailing and as the means to reduce labour costs.
Retailers are convinced that their industry has to become more efficient in the face of escalating rental, labour costs and limited supply on the costs to the end users.
Having identified this particular objective, manufacturers and retailers appreciate the need to work together to take the costs out of the supply chain.
An Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) sub-committee was formed 18 months ago to study the selection of EDI message transfer standards for retailers in Hong Kong.
The sub-committee included the Hong Kong Article Numbering Association, the Chinese Manufacturers, the Federation of Hong Kong Industries and supermarket and convenience store members of the association.
A report has been published with a detailed analysis of the situation, an industry first in Hong Kong and perhaps in the world.
The spirit behind the project shows the association's philosophy of elevating the professional status of the industry.
The Hong Kong Article Numbering Association (HKANA) and the RMA are now looking at the area of broadening bar coding (International EAN Standard) useage to other retailers, and, at a later stage, EDI for the non-grocery product retailers.
The association is one of the theme sponsors of IT Week Roadshow 93 - IT In Shopping.