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Leading co-operative with over 170 Food and non-food outlets to improve efficiency in its commercial relationships with its suppliers

Freeway Commerce, an Inovis company, has been selected by Midlands Co‑operative Society Ltd (Midlands Co-op), the largest regional society in the UK, to supply EDI solutions. Midlands Co-op is to use Freeway’s Fully Managed EDI service, using their Spectrum Enterprise EDI (Electronic Data Interchange) software to enable faster and more accurate processing of orders, delivery notes and invoices. It is envisaged that this will lead to reduced errors, more accurate invoice matching and resulting in an enhanced level of service to its stores and customers.

Following an extensive review of the market, Freeway’s solution was chosen over competitive offerings for its flexibility, ability to integrate with its new Aldata G.O.L.D. system and its value for money. Freeway scored 100% on all of the society’s selection criteria. Midlands Co-op chose a 3-year deal, including a fully-managed implementation and roll-out to its entire supplier base, using both EDI messaging and Web Forms as an on-line solution for smaller or more occasional suppliers.

The solution is to be hosted and managed off-site by Freeway, an important consideration for the Society. This means Midlands Co-op does not have to concern itself with managing the e-commerce platform, whilst benefiting from the automation of the full purchase to pay (p2p) processes, especially when implementing automatic Purchase Invoice Matching (PIM). The solution is fully scalable, allowing visibility of the supply-chain documents throughout Midland Co-op’s various departments, with reporting built-in that will provide management information on the progress of the roll-out.

According to the Midlands Co-op, the new e-commerce solution will save the society considerable manual time, effort and cost by eliminating errors in re-keying order, delivery and invoice information. By providing web and EDI options for suppliers, Midlands Co-op will be able to insist that all suppliers trade electronically with them, helping them to achieve near 100% compliance with their entire supplier base.

In addition, all documents will be retrievable on-demand, with copies accessible in PDF format, an increased number of people involved in the process are able to easily access and read them, in a secure and error-free environment. A key element in selecting the system was its powerful PDF document and archiving functionality.

Barry Hodge, Project Manager for Midlands Co-op Society, explained: “When we decided to implement new back office and till systems we took the opportunity to review all the processes involved. We wanted to achieve operational efficiencies, speed up communications and reduce errors so that we can focus on providing a superior service to our stores.

“The hosted solution from Freeway allows us to do this by cost effectively automating what was a manual process and allowing us to offer our suppliers a more efficient way of working with us. We can match invoices in a far superior way, and overall we have enhanced efficiency right across our invoice area. Added to this greater efficiency is our ability to have stronger relationships with both our stores and our suppliers.

I would also say that Freeway’s responsiveness to our needs was critical in choosing them as our provider, as we feel we are in good hands to ensure flexibility for our business for the future.”

According to Paul Kaye, Sales Director at Freeway Commerce: “We are delighted to be managing Midlands Co-op system and roll-out project. As the largest regional Co-operative in the UK, their choice demonstrates the attractiveness of our managed service to the marketplace. We know that our proven approach makes customers’ lives easier.

John Redfern, Managing Director of both Freeway Commerce and Inovis EMEA added, “EDI is an efficient way of exchanging information – it removes the need to re-key orders and saves time by enabling invoices to be despatched much faster. Freeway Commerce has designed the Spectrum Enterprise hosting solution to enable the effective processing so that companies can provide a much more efficient service.”


About Midlands Co-op

Midlands Co-operative Society Limited - or Midlands Co-op as it is better known - is the largest independent retail Society in the UK. Midlands Co-op empoys some 7,600 staff and with gross sales in excess of £749 Million. Its principal areas of activity are Retail – food and non-food; Travel; Funeral Services, and Transport. Midlands Co-op also has a substantial investment property portfolio.

Midlands Co-op trades principally in Derbyshire, Leicestershire, and the Greater Midlands, with trading outlets in Herefordshire, Lincolnshire, Northamptonshire, Nottinghamshire, South Yorkshire, Staffordshire, Warwickshire and Worcestershire. It currently has over 400 trading outlets, ranging from superstores to convenience stores, supermarkets, department stores, travel shops, funeral homes, garages, post offices and petrol stations.

For more information, please visit:

About Freeway Commerce

Founded in 1998, Freeway Commerce Ltd is based in Preston, England, and has a second administration and sales office just outside Manchester. Freeway specialises in EDI and e‑commerce integration and enabling applications.

Freeway Commerce is one of the fastest growing XML/EDI/e-commerce software and services providers in the UK. The company provides a number of software packages from standalone solutions to fully integrated systems. All products are designed to deliver state-of-the-art e-commerce capability at an extremely competitive price.

Freeway’s clients range from small businesses to multinationals. The company has managed supplier EDI roll-outs for Tesco, Argos, ASDA, Topps Tiles, Woolworths, Virgin Retail, Hagemeyer UK, Somerfield, BSS and many others. Freeway supports over 2000 clients trading with over 400 different trading partners.

In August 2007 Freeway Commerce was acquired by Inovis.

For more information about Freeway Commerce please visit:

About Inovis

Inovis is a leading provider of on-demand Business Community Management solutions that empower companies to transact, collaborate and optimize communications with their entire trading community. By standardizing and automating mission-critical business interactions, companies can dramatically reduce the complexity and cost of supply chain communication. This foundation of high-quality, reliable and secure connectivity provides real-time visibility across the order-to-payment lifecycle. The resulting actionable intelligence enables users to proactively address supply chain issues before they impact profitability, shortening cycle times, improving productivity and increasing customer satisfaction.

With more than 20 years of expertise, Inovis delivers its products and services to more than 20,000 companies over a wide range of industries and markets across the globe. For more information, visit

Inovis is a trademark of Inovis, Inc.

Editors Contacts

John Redfern
Managing Director
Freeway Commerce
Tel: 01202 772201

Andreina West/Mary Phillips
PR Artistry Ltd
01491 639500
Fax: 01491 579798

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