Anticipating market trends is vital for any business.
But none more so than Infantree, which markets international brands of juvenile products such as Tommy and LeapFrog.
Fashions and demand change fast in this segment, so it is essential to be ahead of the curve with up-to-date data.
That is one reason the company decided to adopt the ebXML standard, part of a family of standards that allows trading partners to electronically exchange data in a secure and consistent way.
Ms Suzanne Tan, executive director at Infantree, said many retailers in Singapore have adopted the ebXML standard.
This means that getting Infantree certified to the same standard allows the company to trade with different retailers simultaneously.
"It will be easier for us to do business, easier to receive business orders and invoice forms. With this standard, you don't have to do any paper- chasing."
Ms Tan said that prior to the adoption of ebXML, her staff had to physically collect purchase order forms from individual retail outlets. Time was often wasted finding copies of each form.
"Before the implementation, everything was manual and labour intensive," she said.
"With the e-commerce implementation, we are able to see the orders from customers when they arrive. At the same time, sales information is also made available electronically."
She added that now all invoices are sent to both the operations and finance departments of the customer as soon as goods are delivered.
With the standard in place, the processing time has been cut in half, from two days to one, on average.
It has also resulted in savings in manpower costs as workers can be redeployed towards other tasks instead of having to visit retail outlets.
Payments to Infantree are also made on time and the system ensures the company is able to get updated sales data from the shop floors.
"When you adopt this ebXML standard... (new clients) know you have the experience and you have the standard in place," Ms Tan said.
"It's an immediate advantage, especially if they use the same platform, which makes it easier for both parties to do business."