Anne Bruce Northern Spar wholesaler James Hall is to lead a technological revolution at Spar with a new web-based communications and ordering system. It will pay for all its retailers to have ISDN phone lines installed as it rolls out WebSpar over the next year. Technical and services director Dominic Hall said the package would streamline online ordering and allow vast amounts of information to be published electronically. The WebSpar home page will display news and a calender, and a site overview with links to Spar bulletins, planograms, and training manuals. Hall said: "This will make the Northern Guild the envy of all Spar members and independents. Every store will have e-mail and be able to order online, and we are just scratching the surface of what WebSpar can do." The site could be upgraded in future to allow electronic invoicing, sales data analysis to create lists of top sellers by store, personalised news, and online learning. Hall said James Hall is investing around £370,000 in putting in place the infrastructure for WebSpar at stores. But the new system will save thousands of pounds from the outset, both through greater supply efficiencies and as paper-based documentation is phased out. Publishing the bulletin online alone will create annual cost savings of around £25,000, said Hall. WebSpar will replace the outmoded TelSpar system, launched by James Hall in 1981, which carries small packets of data. Spar UK chairman Morton Middleditch said: "Spar has to get down to a more efficient method of communicating and WebSpar is a model for that. The other Spar guilds will have to do something similar." James Hall md Andrew Hall said: "The need to respond to the market in which we trade is as real today as it ever was. WebSpar is a revolution in the way we communicate with members and will set the Northern Guild apart from other Spars." {{NEWS }}