The manufacturing community must get its act together and understand what's going on in the world, Asda trading director Mike Coupe has warned. "A lot of suppliers in the UK would benefit from a more global approach," he said. Technology and knowledge sharing will be critical in driving globalisation, Coupe predicted, and the ability to move information within and between companies will strip costs up and down the supply chain. Coupe said this was the "one single biggest untapped opportunity" for Asda and its suppliers. He added: "We're only just beginning to scratch the surface." To secure contracts, manufacturers will be expected to invest in technological and management capabilities, Coupe argued. He said: "One of Wal-Mart's goals is to be the most efficient customer to supply. Everyone's mutual benefit is in doing these things better and doing them together." Salomon Smith Barney food analyst David McCarthy echoed Coupe's vision of trading relations. As Wal-Mart extends further into Europe, he said, those supplying more for less ­ both manufacturers and other retailers ­ will prosper. Secondary brands will disappear and even big hitters could see the erosion of brand premiums as a result of commoditisation, he added. McCarthy warned retailers not to neglect local scale in favour of global presence. "It is better to be strong in one market than weak in many," he said. {{NEWS }}