Elaine Watson Ahold has centralised fresh and chilled buying for all six of its US operating companies at a new e-procurement office in Boston. The new system was set up to reduce costs in the US business, which has a combined annual turnover of several billion dollars on produce, meat, poultry, seafood, bakery, deli and floral items. Ahold USA vice-president for perishables procurement Mike Dameron said: "This new office enables us to work with many different suppliers, gathering price and quality information in a convenient manner. "We feel we will be able to leverage size to make sure we procure quality for customers ­ and of course the best price." Similar procurement systems will then be extended to further categories as Ahold works with technology partner Agribuys on streamlining other high volume parts of its supply chain. Agribuys will link the back-end accounting and warehousing systems of Ahold's US subsidiaries with the corresponding systems at its suppliers and transportation carriers. Agribuys offers web based solutions for demand planning and management, procurement, logistics, receiving and payment. This means Ahold will be able to aggregate demand, request quotes from suppliers, negotiate a deal, handle invoicing and payment and sort out transport from a single point. Ahold USA senior vice president of perishables John Mason said: "Ahold is rapidly moving towards its goal of developing the most effective procurement organization in the industry." Ahold's US subsidiaries are BI-LO, Bruno's Supermarkets, Giant Food Stores, Giant Food Inc, The Stop & Shop Supermarket Company and Tops Markets . {{NEWS }}