2008 Supply & Demand Chain Executive 100

SDCEXEC 100In the mid-1990s, the U.S. Council on Competitiveness used the term "innovation ecosystem" to describe the system of interconnections and interdependencies that bring individuals and enterprises together to drive the advances in science and technology that keep the economy moving forward. In a sense, the innovation ecosystem was a supply chain of ideas, supported by talent, investment and infrastructure, and aimed, ultimately, at creating new products and services.

In this magazine, we concern ourselves, appropriately, more with the supply chain of things – the ecosystems of partners that get those new products to the consumer by transforming raw materials into finished goods and moving those goods out to customers. But innovation remains an intrinsic component of our coverage, for our readers look to us for information on the innovative technologies, services and processes that are giving leading enterprises their competitive edge.

For that reason, this year's "Supply & Demand Chain Executive 100" focuses on supply chain innovation. We looked for solution and service providers that are helping to drive supply chain innovation by providing their customers/clients with unique software, solutions and/or services that address those clients' primary current and future supply chain challenges.

The result of this year's "100" process in the pages that follow is a listing of "next-wave" innovations in supply chain software, solutions and services that we hope the readers of Supply & Demand Chain Executive can take advantage of in their own organizations to improve the performance of their own supply chains.

How to use the information on the following pages? We suggest your read the expanded listings below and on the following pages to learn more about the solutions and services that are applicable to your company and its supply chain. Our intent is to get you thinking about new directions for your supply chain, and to provide signposts to help get you on your way. Which road you choose to follow is up to you, but whichever direction you take, your supply chain improvement journey starts here.

Aankhen

Aankhen Inc.
San Jose, CA/USA
www.aankhen.com
Small
2001
Order/Demand Capture, Sourcing, Procurement, Fulfillment/Logistics, Integration & Infrastructure/ERP, Decision Support

Reliance on increasing import of goods manufactured offshore requires end-to-end visibility of the physical and financial supply chain. Yet, as Aankhen sees it, existing visibility solutions are focused on the wrong end of the financial and physical supply chain, and spend management in financial supply chains is an after-the-fact backward-looking process. Companies must be able to determine what they should be spending so that they can plan and execute to a financial strategy, particularly when they face renegotiations in light of rising fuel costs and a falling dollar. Aankhen offers automated "Shouldbe Cost" computation solutions that provide financial visibility and insight to "total cost of procurement" at a part level, influencing sourcing decisions, logistics and working capital management. In addition, Aankhen offers a physical supply chain visibility solution using RFID and GPS technologies to create real-time visibility into where your inventory is in the world, helping to expose inefficiencies hidden within traditional EDI transactions.


Acsis Inc.
Marlton, NJ/USA
www.acsisinc.com
Small
1996
Integration & Infrastructure/ERP

Instead of implementing RFID as yet another siloed function, Acsis Inc. said manufacturers are now beginning to realize the wisdom of using more holistic solutions that track data and improve processes across the shop floor – from receiving to production, quality management, warehouse management, shipping/distribution and third-party processing. Acsis develops agnostic end-to-end track-and-trace solutions that help manufacturers and distributors ensure safe, secure and efficient supply chains. One such solution is Acsis PharmaTrak, a first-of-its-kind serialized distribution application specifically for pharmaceutical organizations. Also, Acsis ProducTrak automates and monitors the movement of finished goods from manufacturing through distribution and into the retail environment.


ADR North America LLC
Ann Arbor, MI/USA
www.adrna.com
Small
1986
Sourcing, Procurement, Decision Support

Got skills? Are you sure? ADR offers its Development Needs Analysis (DNA) service to help clients determine their staff development needs. In addition, its Relationship Needs Analysis (RNA) service aims to help clients develop high performance, value-adding relationships with key suppliers through a "current state analysis" that enables prioritization of improvement activities. RNA also serves as a "trust index" to assure that buyers and suppliers are both prepared for the collaborations and innovation needs of the future.


Agistix, Inc.
Redwood City, CA/USA
www.agistix.com
Small
2003
Fulfillment/Logistics

Given the constant motion in global logistics and the complexity associated with a flat world, the primary supply chain challenge facing Agistix's customers is global visibility, the solution provider says. Supply chain managers, working in an ever more globalized, "I want it now" world, must focus on increasing visibility into companywide supply chain expenses so that they can see where their money is going and adopt lasting improvements. Because the typical company's supply chain covers multiple countries, carriers and modes of transportation, Agistix believes that this task requires a software-as-a-service (SaaS) solution, taking feeds from multiple disparate systems to create a central repository of all a company's supply chain costs that can be updated in real time and then leveraged to create enforceable, and verifiable, company-wide policies against which shipping decisions can be executed.


Amphire

Amphire
Redwood City, CA/USA
www.amphire.com
Small
1999
Order/Demand Capture, Sourcing, Procurement, Fulfillment/Logistics, Payment, CRM, PLM, Integration & Infrastructure/ERP, Decision Support

The foodservice supply chain is notorious for its challenges, from rising food and fuel costs, to natural disasters that exacerbate demand on crops, as well as a highly fragmented industry. Amphire has created a global software-as-a-service platform that addresses the entire foodservice supply chain by connecting manufacturers, operators and distributors together in any market and in any country. The full suite of Amphire services is Internet based and modular in design; customers are able to create unique solutions based upon their specific needs.

And while the food industry traditionally has not been quick to adopt technology offerings, Amphire said it has designed its solutions specifically to be user-friendly and intuitive, including a training program with quick reference sheets and manuals to ensure that customers get up to speed quickly.


Apriso Corporation
Long Beach, CA/USA
www.apriso.com
Private
1992
Fulfillment/Logistics

With economic conditions putting pressure on margins, manufacturers might consider deploying a "manufacturing operations management platform" that integrates manufacturing operations with supply chain visibility, capable of performance across distributed geographies, cultures and time zones. Apriso Corporation believes that the market has now embraced the need for improved business intelligence and responsive systems offering real-time visibility, thereby improving adaptability and responsiveness to market changes. "The next wave of innovation is primarily focused around information management and availability; data is king, and faster is best," the solution provider says. "With visibility to supplier production, quality and logistics processes, sustainable competitive advantage can be achieved by simply 'outmaneuvering' your competitors." Apriso's FlexNet solution is intended to provide such a platform for manufacturing operations management.


Aras Corp
Andover, MA/USA
www.aras.com
Small
2000
PLM

How much are you willing to pay for a product lifecycle management tool? How about free? Does free work for you? Aras provides access for unlimited users at no cost to its open source solutions for PLM, and yet the solution offers functionality for enterprise-wide global PLM deployments and open XML/SOAP Web services that connect to existing ERP or PDM systems to leverage previous investments. Companies like Motorola, Lockheed Martin and Delphi already use Aras' solutions.


Ariba

Ariba
Sunnyvale, CA/USA
www.ariba.com
Medium
1996
Sourcing, Procurement, Payment, Decision Support

With today's stark economic outlook, it is more critical than ever for organizations of all sizes to do everything they can to streamline their operations for greater efficiency and bottom line savings. For a long time this meant deploying on-premise spend management solutions that only large companies could afford. But now, says solution provider Ariba, small and midsize organizations are finding that they can get in on the spend management game by leveraging on-demand solution with a lower cost of entry and more flexible deployment options. Does that mean that large organizations need not look at on-demand applications? Not at all. In fact, Ariba has seen large enterprises such as PPG Industries signing on to use on-demand applications as well.


Arrow Electronics, Inc.
Melville, NY/USA
www.arrow.com
Large
1935
Order/Demand Capture, Sourcing, Procurement, Fulfillment/Logistics, Payment, CRM, PLM, Integration & Infrastructure/ERP, Decision Support

Look to global, end-to-end supply chain orchestrators as the "next wave" of supply chain innovation for electronic components, says Arrow Electronics. The company believes that changes in the "Three Ps" – products, processes and practices – have created new challenges for managing the electronic components supply chain. Electronic components have become increasingly specialized. Today, a significant percentage of electronic components will only have a handful of customers. In addition, the number of components available is expanding and component lifecycles are shrinking. These forces combine to greatly increase forecast error rates and inventory obsolescence risks. At the same time, customers continually raise the bar on service expectations. This increased specialization has created two classes of electronic components, which require different supply chain processes. Highly specialized and complex electronic components require a supply chain that provides flexibility and minimizes inventory risk. Commodity electronic components require a supply chain that is extremely cost effective. Meanwhile, in this flat world, engineering, manufacturing and consumption often occur in different geographic regions. This has extended supply chains and amplified the bullwhip effect. Planning and execution activities have become more complex as today's supply chain managers must contend with multiple time zones, languages, currencies, business practices and cultures.

Arrow believes that the "next wave" of supply chain innovation for electronic components will be the emergence of global, end-to-end supply chain orchestrators that can create a "network effect," the phenomenon whereby a good or service becomes more valuable as more people use it. Just as the telephone became more valuable as more people acquired it, the cost and risk reduction benefits of a supply chain orchestrator will increase as more companies participate. In addition, Arrow sees these orchestrators providing decision-support tools and value-added services that optimize the total value chain. The proper decision-support tools will avoid decisions affecting individual value chain elements that sub optimize the total value chain.

Arrow believes that a network effect can be created through the aggregation of material, information and financial flows to reduce inventory risk and create economies of scale. For example, inventory levels (more specifically, safety stocks) grow exponentially as the number of inventory locations increase. Today's supply chains can stage inventory at multiple locations – suppliers, supplier hubs, distributors, original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), contract manufacturer hubs and contract manufacturers. This not only explodes inventory investments and the risk of obsolescence, it also increases transportation and inventory management costs. A supply chain orchestrator that can position the combined inventory of many suppliers, OEMs and contract manufacturers into a few strategic locations globally will reduce inventory investments, obsolescence risk, transportation costs and inventory management costs, Arrow says.

Today's supply chains typically rely on multiple, non-integrated information systems as different electronic components are managed through different supply chains or as handoffs are made between suppliers, third-party logistics providers (3PLs), carriers, customs brokers, OEMs and contract manufacturers. Best case, this creates inconsistent versions of the truth. Worst case, it prevents any version of the truth at all. The result is massive waste – distortions caused by padding forecasts, premium freight, time double-checking and verifying data, corrective actions – the list goes on and on. A supply chain orchestrator, Arrow argues, can utilize one integrated information system across the value chain and thereby eliminate massive amounts of time and resources that are wasted each and every day.

Finally, managing multiple supply chains causes a multiplier effect on transaction volumes. This applies to virtually all transaction types such as purchase orders, receipts and payables. This multiplier effect applies equally well to changes and corrective actions. More transactions create more cost. A supply chain orchestrator that can aggregate transactions will reduce transactions, transaction errors and associated costs.

In addition to creating a network effect, the supply chain orchestrator must also provide decision-support tools that can help answer questions such as: What are the supply chain risks of a given electronic component? Can our supply chain support a demand increase? What options exist if a component manufacturer discontinues a component or issues a problematic part change notification? What are the ramifications of more stringent environmental regulations? These decision-support tools must support optimization of the entire value chain. For example, a decision at the beginning of the value chain to use a lower-cost electronic component should be avoided if it can be predicted that the component will be discontinued in the near future.

Arrow believes that there is no one element or "magic bullet" that provides this "next wave" of supply chain innovation. Rather, the company says, it is the combined, total effect of many capabilities that is allowing an enterprise like Arrow to become a global, end-to-end supply chain orchestrator. These capabilities include a global partner network for sourcing electronic components around the world; a global information network integrated with the systems of many suppliers and customers; a global logistics network with distribution centers in key locations around the world; and engineering design services to help customers evaluate alternative technologies and select the best electronic components for their needs.

An orchestrator also could offer decision support tools that can help customers implement demand-pull Kanban or min/max replenishment systems; that provide customers with supply chain visibility, enabling identification of supply chain problems (such as supply/demand imbalances), determination of root causes and accurate assessment of inventory levels and risk exposures; that help customers make safer component selection and purchasing decisions – or find suitable alternatives – by allowing them to identify and compare the technical specifications and relative procurement risk; and that provide customers with a search engine to identify and compare alternative electronic components, and that automatically notify customers of part change notifications and part status changes.

Some suppliers and customers may resist joining a supply chain network out of fear that this may eliminate a potential source of competitive advantage. If their competitors are using the same supply chain network, how can they gain advantage? But Arrow believes that as its network grows over time, this resistance will fade as the benefits of participating increasingly outweigh the potential competitive issues.


Avendra

Avendra
Rockville, MD/USA
www.avendra.com
Medium
2001
Procurement

In light of recent food-safety incidents and product recalls, the ability to safely monitor and manage one's supply chain represents the next wave of supply chain innovation for the clients of Avendra. Avendra continues to innovate and add additional layers of security to what were already regarded as some of the toughest quality assurance measures anywhere to monitor the supply chain. On the food side, standards start in the field and move all the way to the customer. On the room operations side, the standards start halfway around the world and continue until the products arrive in the guest's room. The company has worked across industries to strengthen food safety standards, added additional quality control measures, and developed surprise audit measures to check product at its final destination.


Axway

Axway
Scottsdale, AZ/USA
www.axway.com
Medium
2001
Integration & Infrastructure/ERP

With increased globalization and offshore sourcing, global supply chain management is becoming an important issue for many businesses. Managing a global supply chain involves a company's worldwide interests, rather than a network on a local or national level. Also, companies are faced with a more complex set of business procedures that need to be addressed in order to effectively and efficiently run the company.

Hosted solutions allow organizations to focus their IT staff on the core business applications while meeting industry regulations and providing operational improvements. Axway's B2Bi On Demand operates in a full software-as-a-service model to offer customers service provisioning, based on Axway's B2Bi Gateway Synchrony solution.


Barloworld Optimus
Solihull, UK
www.barloworldoptimus.com
Small
1987
Order/Demand Capture, Decision Support

Carbon reduction and optimization is set to be the major issue as supply chain professionals face up to escalating global pressures. In response, Barloworld Optimus has launched its CAST-CO2 solution, which draws on technology not only to calculate carbon emission, but also to map out "best-case" supply chain optimization in terms of carbon footprint.

There are three certainties about to unroll on the issue of carbon: one, that it's inevitable that big changes are afoot; two, that the onus will fall on businesses; and three, that legislation will soon follow – the consequences of which could prove terminal to those not toeing the line on greenhouse gas emissions. Yet, Barloworld Optimus asserts that with the new technology now available, it only takes 25 days or even less start taking positive steps to dramatically reduce carbon emissions ahead of dire financial and other penalties likely to stem from future anti-pollution legislation. "Real-life" proving trials on the company's newly-released CAST CO2 program have returned results including 28 percent reduction in carbon emissions alongside a 9 percent decrease in transportation costs.


Basware

Basware, Inc.
Stamford, CT/USA
www.basware.com
Medium
1985
Procurement, Payment, Integration & Infrastructure/ERP

Think "big picture" when it comes to solutions to enable your supply chain. Basware, for example, says that e-procurement isn't just about automating purchasing transactions. It's about leveraging the visibility and insight into procurement that technology enables to gain greater control over the total financial supply chain, to help procurement professional operate more strategically and to ensure that purchasing reflects the greater values of organization. Basware says its solutions help companies do this by enabling businesses to see how their actual spend invoiced compares to contracts and purchase orders. "Now companies can truly analyze and manage their spend, have control over their purchases, and become fiscally accountable," the solution provider says.


Blinco

Blinco Systems Inc.
Toronto, ON/Canada
www.blinco.com
Small
1987
Order/Demand Capture, Sourcing, Procurement, Fulfillment/Logistics, Payment, CRM, Decision Support

Despite recent advances in global commerce, companies still struggle to fully command this type of environment to drive the values promised. Blinco Systems Inc. believes the next wave of global commerce solutions will enable the shipper or logistics provider to drive exceptional competitive advantage by leveraging a true command and control capability over the organization's extended global commerce network. Innovations in global commerce management will tightly integrate and synchronize visualization, collaboration and execution capabilities in order that organizations can achieve full command and control of their global activities.

To that end, Blinco created 3rdwave GCM, which is an integrated global execution platform synchronized with a global data repository. Clients are able to unify their view and quickly respond as events unfold to optimize, manage and leverage their businesses. They also have the capability to augment their core 3rdwave GCM solutions with integrated visualization (3rdwave Reporting tools or 3rd party BI tools) and web 2.0 collaboration (3rdwave CS) capabilities.


Bowen & Groves
Mulgrave, Victoria/Australia
www.bowen-groves.com
Small
1992
Order/Demand Capture, Procurement, Integration & Infrastructure/ERP

The next wave of supply chain innovation must help manufacturers in standardizing business processes, linking global operations, the need to improve customer service, and growing their business while meeting cost reduction pressures, believes Australian solution provider Bowen & Groves. Manufacturers must have technology systems that allow them to be flexible and fast and have all information at their fingertips in an instant, and systems that can be customized to meet their unique business processes in order for them to maintain their competitive edge. Bowen & Groves says its enterprise resource planning (ERP) solution is targeted at small and midsize businesses that require "total integration and automation from quoting through invoicing."


Bristlecone
Milpitas, CA/USA
www.bcone.com
Private
1998
Order/Demand Capture, Sourcing, Procurement, Integration & Infrastructure/ERP

It is no longer possible to implement a supply chain management system and let it run on autopilot. Bristlecone's next-wave supply chain services are all aimed at keeping supply chains agile, responsive to current demands and environments, and acting to ensure that companies are ahead of the curve and their competitors.

One such service is its Supply Chain Risk Assessment and Management, which is designed to help companies manage and mitigate risk within their current supply chain management processes. Additionally, its Spend Visibility Service helps corporate procurement organizations address run-away spending by enabling a better understanding of procurement spend, which can be used to drive supply base rationalization.


C3 Solutions

C3 Solutions
Montreal, Quebec/Canada
www.c3solutions.com
Private
1997
Fulfillment/Logistics

Most supply chains have been automated with EPR, WMS and TMS to track product from the beginning of its journey to the end. However, C3 Solutions says it is regularly approached by Fortune 500 and other high-profile companies to bridge a gap that these systems have left. C3 works with what are commonly known as the "first movers" or "early adopters" of yard management systems (YMS), a relatively recent addition to supply chain systems.

Yard management began with enabling wireless communication throughout the yard with software applications and used business rules to manage the movement of trailers within the yard. This transitioned to using algorithms to optimize the movement of workers and use of resources and incorporating the ability to plan and automate repetitive tasks within the yard. Today, C3 is introducing "agent technology" to yard management that can see and act on information within the enabler's solution in real time.

Usually, the initial challenges that clients approach C3 with are to generally improve customer service and cut costs, but they are also looking to eliminate specific challenge points that are undermining these basic goals on a daily basis. These challenge points include loss of visibility of product once it is in the yard, unmet delivery times despite the product being in the yard on time, lost trailers resulting in spoiled or ruined goods and poor utilization of yard resources – trailers, shunt trucks and workers. In some cases the sheer size of the yard dictates the need for a yard management system, with the huge volumes and number of transactions that have to be managed requiring automation to keep a given site running.

With the introduction of agent technology, C3 says that it is bringing a level of intelligence to the system that simulates an understanding of the business context. Before this technology the system could react based on a predetermined set rule, but now it can evaluate its own data and data provided by other systems – such as a WMS – and take action to maintain specific performance levels. As a result, the action that the system takes is meant to optimize benefit to the enterprise as a whole instead of a single operational area.


CaseStack
Santa Monica, CA/USA
www.casestack.com
Medium
1999
Order/Demand Capture, Procurement, Fulfillment/Logistics, Payment, CRM, PLM, Integration & Infrastructure/ERP

Small or midsize business should consider using technology and outsourced solution providers (in this case, for logistics) to appear to be a large enterprise. For example, Greystar Products uses CaseStack's transportation and warehousing system, backed with proprietary Web-based software, to provide end-to-end fulfillment services for its own customers' products. Greystar knew the logistics provider would help keep its retail customers happy while at the same time allow the consumer food manufacture to reap the benefits and economies of a sophisticated, global logistics system without all the infrastructure costs. "Looking like a major food company is very important to our accounts," said the company's president. "CaseStack allows us to do this by handling all our logistics needs. For a small company like ours that doesn't have its own internal logistics department, it makes a lot of sense to outsource to a company that is well-known in the industry."


CDC Software
Atlanta, GA/USA
www.cdcsoftware.com
Small
1999
Integration & Infrastructure/ERP

Unlock the hidden capacity on your factory floor by managing production scheduling in real time. By leveraging technologies that can pinpoint the causes of plant inefficiencies and provide immediate feedback on key operating metrics, including rate, yield, utilization and per-unit cost, manufacturing executives can link real-time action and continuous improvement initiatives to their financial goals for increasing output, finding hidden capacity and gaining market share. CDC Software says its CDC Factory solution allows users to leverage the potential of human capital on the shop floor by providing predefined workflows and intuitive kiosk-style interfaces for real-time performance tracking. This enables factory floor operators to act on information in real time and make decisions that have an immediate impact on efficiency, improve overall equipment effectiveness (OEE) and reduce waste. This role-based design extends to middle and senior management, for whom information is summarized to make the daily operations of all plants transparent throughout the enterprise.


Choice Logistics
New York, NY/USA
www.choicelogistics.com
Medium
1964
Fulfillment/Logistics

In today's economy, companies are faced with maximizing their asset management, and specifically their service parts resources, more than ever to reduce costs. The challenge is the ability to maintain adequate inventory levels to meet customer demands and adhere to stringent service level agreements. To that end, Choice Logistics helps clients position service parts worldwide through a system of strategic stocking locations (SSLs) and distribution centers (DCs) to ensure on-demand delivery in a matter of hours.

CIMTEK
Needham, MA/USA
www.cimtek.com
Small
1986
PLM

CIMTEK ends one of the challenges in the supply chain: how to bring quality products to market quickly and at the lowest possible cost. Having wrung all the efficiencies out of production and beyond, manufacturers are looking for different ways to increase margins. CIMTEK drives this next wave of innovation by changing how manufacturers act on product and functional test information, allowing them to organize, analyze and use critical information for actionable-insight throughout the product lifecycle.

At the heart of CIMTEK's solution is Magellon software, which introduces a centralized approach to managing product and functional test. The solution transcends all stages of the product lifecycle, rather than being strictly confined to the production process, for more comprehensive decision-making.


CombineNet Inc.

CombineNet, Inc.
Pittsburgh, PA/USA
www.combinenet.com
Small
2000
Sourcing

CombineNet said its customers often talk about their goals for achieving the "next level" of cost savings and supply chain efficiency. They are reaching these goals by embracing such next wave e-sourcing technologies as Advanced Sourcing Technology.

CombineNet is a pioneer in the use of combinatorial optimization in e-sourcing. The analytical capabilities provided by combinatorial optimization are what enable Advanced Sourcing, which is the ability to model all the dimensions of a sourcing problem so that buyers can evaluate the cost impact of sourcing decisions to understand the total cost of ownership (TCO).

Rather than just focusing on reducing item costs through larger and more competitive sourcing events, CombineNet customers are also using Expressive Bidding to generate new product ideas and innovations from their supply base. They are asking their suppliers to help reduce costs through efficiency improvements, rather than margin reductions. And they are able to understand the cost impact of their business strategies, operational constraints, and the preferences of individual stakeholders to make optimal sourcing decisions based on the TCO of various "what if?" award scenarios.


Core Solutions
Scotch Plains, NJ/USA
www.coresolutions.com
Small
1995
Sourcing, Procurement, Payment, PLM, Integration & Infrastructure/ERP

Offering a global supplier portal to consolidate communication relating to product development, RFQ, order, work-in-progress, quality inspection, shipment, invoice and payment, Core Solutions automatically organizes all communication in a structured manner, files it and enables data reuse to help ensure error-free supply chain information.


DEX (Data Exchange Corporation)

DEX (Data Exchange Corporation)
Camarillo, CA/USA
www.dex.com
Medium
1980
Order/Demand Capture, Sourcing, Procurement, Fulfillment/Logistics, CRM, PLM, Integration & Infrastructure/ERP, Decision Support

Data Exchange Corporation's (DEX's) clients are facing an ever-increasing number of supply chain challenges to remain competitive in today's global marketplace. Of paramount importance is the instantaneous and transparent visibility to their supply chain networks. Supply chain visibility to the serial number level will be of utmost importance to organizations moving into the next evolution of supply chain management. As product lines become highly dynamic and customizable to the unit level, safety and trade regulations become more stringent, and customer after-sales service expectations increase, serial number level tracking throughout the entire supply chain will be required to remain nimble and responsive to customer demands.

DEX's technology solutions streamline and simplify this process to allow clients to make the right decision at the right time.


Datria

Datria
Greenwood Village, CO/USA
www.datria.com
Private
1997
Fulfillment/Logistics

Speech-enabled item selection, also known as "voice picking," is being selected by many companies as it has shown to increase order accuracy, warehouse productivity and safety while reducing user training. Its downside, however, has been the lack of choice beyond custom and proprietary point solutions, with their lack of flexibility and higher total cost of ownership (TCO).

The Datria innovation uses VoIP, which is a paradigm shift in how speech recognition is used in the warehouse setting. Conventionally, companies that deploy a voice picking application in the warehouse would have to buy proprietary devices (i.e. a Windows CE device) with the speech recognition happening directly on that device. This is called a "speaker dependent" solution, meaning the application resides locally on the device and has a longer learning curve. Thus, the software is "dependent" on the speaker's voice.

With Datria's network-centric solution, the speech recognition software resides on the server and is accessed via a VoIP call, over a WiFi network in the warehouse, and is "speaker independent." The recognition is done on the server and not the device, allowing for a much larger grammar-set of available words to be available. These characteristics combine to increase picker accuracy.


Decideware

Decideware
San Francisco, CA/USA
www.decideware.com
Private
1999
Procurement

Leverage scorecard technology that helps you predict future supplier performance and identify gaps between business objectives and predicted future performance. Decideware, for instance, says its solutions track hard and soft measures of business relationships and performance, combining qualitative and quantitative information, and encouraging collaboration through shared goals and joint strategies. By enabling more informed supplier development programs, procurement executives are better armed to manage high-value, complex strategic supplier relationships.


Demand Management, Inc.
St. Louis, MO/USA
www.demandsolutions.com
Small
1985
Order/Demand Capture, Fulfillment/Logistics, PLM, Decision Support

Case Study: Slime Taps Demand Solutions to Prevent Supply Chain from Going Flat

Although the name might sound like a comic book villain's weapon, Slime is actually the most widely distributed brand of tire sealant. The thick, green goo that originated in a garage is quickly oozing its way into tires around the world.

Slime is the 75th fastest growing consumer products company in the country, according to a recent Inc. 5,000 report. It has grown substantially since its start in 1989 and now sells several product lines along with its original Slime Tire Sealant. The leader in flat tire prevention and repair manages 6,000 item/location records - about 800 SKUs - of inflation systems, accessories, sealant products, tubes and hundreds of product combinations. With inventory in 14 locations and more than 50,000 retail distribution points in 36 countries, Slime relies on Demand Solutions to meet its demand and supply chain planning goals.

Filling In the Cracks

With up to 12-week lead times and distribution centers spanning several continents, Demand Solutions helps Slime make sense of its sticky supply chain. Of all the company's products, the tire sealant has the longest itinerary. Slime blends the raw components at company headquarters in Grover Beach, Calif., then ships the sealant to manufacturers in China for insertion into tire repair kits. The manufacturers ship the finished product back to a distribution center in Los Angeles where Slime ships it to retailers' distribution centers. From the distribution centers, the retailers deliver Slime to the stores where customers can purchase a safe and effective alternative to cumbersome spare tires.

Without a quality forecasting tool, lapses in the process can turn slow leaks into blowouts – Slime's Demand Manager and long-time Demand Solutions user Debba Rofheart knows that from experience. She recalls one instance where Demand Solutions saved the company from a disaster. A main customer's average order of a product drastically increased from 1,800 items up to 8,500 in one month causing mass confusion between the demand and supply teams.

"Because of Demand Solutions we were able to find the mistake before it did any damage," says Rofheart. "Even the CPFR team at the account didn't know what had happened."

The demand spiked because someone at the head office added an additional facing to display the product and didn't share the addition with the CPFR team. Fortunately, Slime was able to meet the increased demand and the situation became a testament to the power of Demand Solutions.

"Demand Solutions gives us visibility," says Rofheart. "We can see if something is abnormal and start asking questions and chasing it down before it becomes a problem. Demand Solutions is essential for a high-growth business like ours."

Visibility is necessary for a company that purchases almost three months in advance. The buyers have to count on the DS FM forecast, especially because a surprise order can set inventory levels back three months. Slime has established a fluid process of reviewing and updating the forecasts daily along with doing a monthly master forecast. The company is now operating in real time for receiving, closing work orders and invoicing.

"Slime would not be as successful without Demand Solutions. It is hard to quantify how much the software has saved us because our company has grown nearly 400 percent in seven years," says Pritchard. "But, we definitely would not be where we are at without Demand Solutions."


Descartes

Descartes Systems Group
Waterloo, Ontario/Canada
www.descartes.com
Medium
1981
Fulfillment/Logistics, Integration & Infrastructure/ERP

Leverage technology to automate, manage and streamline the end-to-end shipment management processes with ongoing real-time visibility through an electronic multi-modal network. As Descartes sees it, the value of connecting to trading partners through logistics network and automating, as well as standardizing, business processes is the predominate focus for organizations with supply chain and logistics requirements. Single source, global, multimodal network-based solutions are the "next wave" of supply chain innovations helping organizations manage the end-to-end shipment process – from the booking of the move of a shipment, to the tracking of that shipment as it moves and, finally, the settlement and audit of the invoice relating to that move.


Emptoris
Burlington, MA/USA
www.emptoris.com
Private
1999
Sourcing, Procurement, Integration & Infrastructure/ERP, Decision Support

Emptoris believes the "next wave" of supply management innovation will most certainly be technology driven, spurred by globalization and increased competition, the need to address increasingly complex business problems and decisions, the need to leverage multiple sources of information and data to more effectively manage a process, and the growing dependence on low-cost country sourcing.

Emptoris solutions may be deployed flexibly and modularly to meet the unique demands of any business. They are built on a common platform utilizing enterprise-scale technology that delivers security, flexibility, compatibility, and integration with other enterprise solutions. A common underpinning across the suite is its ability to enable better decision-making through business optimization. Emptoris solutions allow business to drive ongoing total cost reductions, increase revenue, and manage compliance and mitigate risk.


Enporion

Enporion
Tampa, FL/USA
www.enporion.com
Small
2000
Sourcing, Procurement, Payment, Integration & Infrastructure/ERP

Leverage established supplier networks as a "single point of contact" with suppliers from order issuance through e-invoice settlement. Enporion customers, for example, point not only to reduced PO and invoice processing cycle times but also to increased supplier relationship success rates as a result of leveraging the enabler's network. For its part, Enporion says that the next wave of supply chain innovation is complete end-to-end e-procurement, using technology to electronically manage all aspects of the physical and financial supply chains and to gain "total corporate cash visibility."


Epicor

Epicor Software Corporation
Irvine, CA/USA
www.epicor.com
Medium
1984
Order/Demand Capture, Sourcing, Procurement, Fulfillment/Logistics, CRM, PLM, Integration & Infrastructure/ERP, Decision Support

The growing demand in the supply chain for real-time collaboration inside and outside the organization, especially with increasingly globally-distributed operations, coupled with the opportunities that come from successful continuous performance initiatives, is driving a demand for leaner, greener flexible solutions delivered more cost-effectively.

Building on its service-oriented architecture SOA foundation and business applications, Epicor Software Corporation is innovating in the areas of Enterprise and Web 2.0 with Epicor ICE 2.0, a proprietary next-generation SOA for building dynamic business applications that leverages Microsoft Windows Server 2008, SQL Server 2008, and Visual Studio 2008 to deliver an even richer user experience, further boosting business collaboration and knowledge worker productivity.


Exostar
Herndon, VA/USA
www.Exostar.com
Small
2000
Order/Demand Capture, Sourcing, Payment

Manufacturers in the aerospace and defense (A&D) industry are increasingly aware that the key to successful supply chain collaboration is to simultaneously control information access and integrate business processes with external stakeholders. Exostar is providing this capability with its Trusted Workspace platform. Its hosted business applications are coupled with identity assurance and information access, allowing customers to share highly confidential information in the day-to-day business of designing, sourcing, assembling and managing some of the most complex products in the world.

Exostar's solution portfolio meets a critical need in the A&D industry: Outsourcing has driven manufacturers into roles where they are responsible for orchestrating the performance of distributed supply networks to deliver customer value. At the same time, as supply chains increasingly cross organizational and geographic boundaries, the need for advanced security strategies and partner alignment increases, especially in the aerospace industry where political sensitivities and government regulations are equally pressing.


eZCom Software Inc.

eZCom Software Inc.
Englewood, NJ/USA
www.ezcomsoftware.com
Small
2000
Integration & Infrastructure/ERP

Think EDI is only for the big players? eZCom aims to simplify EDI for SMBs with a software-as-a-service (SaaS) solution that lets small suppliers play in the big leagues.

EDI continues to evolve beyond a simple exchange of purchase orders, shipping manifests and invoices. EDI-enabled retailers are seeking visibility into current inventory levels and confirmation from suppliers regarding ability to ship specific orders on time and complete. In addition, retailers have added complexity to EDI technology as they adjust their EDI requirements on a regular basis, as well as incorporate additional file formats such as XML, and offer multiple protocols for exchanging data (e.g., AS2, Value Added Networks). Where retailers used to establish clear lines of distinction between large vendors and SMB vendors pertaining to EDI requirements, these lines of distinction have become blurred and in some cases non-existent, making EDI requirements for SMBs extremely difficult to manage. For those SMBs that have multiple EDI customers, resources can be strained in keeping up with EDI requirement adjustments that seemingly happen on a regular basis.

A second key challenge that eZCom's target clients face is keeping up with EDI retailer shipping demands. In efforts to streamline their supply chain process, retailers are relying more on their vendors to bear the burden of as much cost as possible. As an example, many retailers have shortened their shipping windows such that merchandise arrives just before it is needed on the sales floor, reducing the need for retailers to hold products in their warehouses. Being able to effectively manage large shipments on shorter shipping windows for large retail customers is becoming a growing issue for SMBs. Too often SMBs become bogged down attempting to meet all the shipping and related EDI requirements of their larger customers, and not having time or availability to ship to their smaller customers who were, and in some cases still are, their "bread and butter" customers.

eZCom offers a software-as-a-service (SaaS) application that is intended to shield its client the technology associated with EDI while supporting various file formats (e.g., EDI, XML, flat file) exchanged via various communications protocols (e.g., VAN, AS2, FTP). eZCom clients are able to enter or upload full item lists with inventory. These data can be used by clients from within the application to transmit catalogs and inventory levels to customers and catalog services, as well as use the exact same data to default information on inbound purchase orders in scenarios where retail customers send limited item information. This enables SMBs to have more information data on their orders such as the vendor's style number, item description and packing quantities, eZCom says.


Fieldglass Inc.

Fieldglass, Inc.
Chicago, IL/USA
www.fieldglass.com
Small
1999
Sourcing, Procurement

Fieldglass Inc. said there are two main challenges facing Global 2000 companies in terms of managing their human capital supply chains. First, statistics continue to show that there will be a significant labor shortage due to retiring baby boomers, and that labor shortage will most likely be accompanied by a loss of knowledge as valuable, older workers retire in the next several years. Second, globalization has created a separation between where knowledge-based work is produced and where it is consumed.

To address these challenges, Fieldglass said next wave supply chain innovation will include taking a holistic view of the talent supply chain, including the role that contingent works can play. Next, once firms begin taking a broader view of human capital, they will need such technologies as decision support tools to help them choose the appropriate type of human capital for the task at hand. Fieldglass has designed its InSite product to include every significant temporary work supplier, consulting firm and offshore provider as a supplier in its system. It is also the first unified technology platform for acquiring all forms of human capital, including contingent workers, service providers and direct hires. The solution includes a recruitment solution and built-in decision support functionality.


Freight Management Inc.

Freight Management, Inc.
Anaheim, CA/USA
www.freightmgmt.com
Small
1988
Order/Demand Capture, Fulfillment/Logistics, PLM, Decision Support

Get greener by getting better visibility into your transportation spend. In the rush to please customers and satiate their ever rising expectation of quick delivery, many shippers have opened either multiple warehouses or forward storage facilities to meet that demand. There was no real problem with this concept until shippers had far too many SKUs to effectively project exactly which facilities should have what quantities of which product. As a result, many companies now suffer from excessive out of region freight, moving too much product from warehouse centers outside of their original designated markets, only to ship it to a different region (or back to the original market). Freight Management says its software can help shippers identify this problem, measure the impact and plan corrective action to minimize these costs.


FusionOps Inc
Sunnyvale, CA/USA
www.fusionops.com
Private
2002
Sourcing, Procurement, Fulfillment/Logistics, Integration & Infrastructure/ERP, Decision Support

FusionOps Inc. said that with regard to supplier collaboration and direct materials procurement, its customers are facing complex, transaction-intensive processes, non-standard requirements and continuous change. In spite of investments in ERP and supplier portals, FusionOps noted that most manufacturers have reconciled to facing the problem by carrying higher levels of material inventory or paying additional costs. And the real cost of waste and inventory is that it makes it more difficult to determine the true performance and issues of the process.

The provider believes the next wave of supply chain innovation is the creative deployment of technologies that extend current ERP investments, which are deployed quickly, cost less to implement and upgrade, and deliver more comprehensive benefits than all other solutions offered so far. To that end, FusionOps has developed and deployed successfully the only configurable software-as-a-solution product for spend management, enabling manufacturers to customize a solution to their unique needs and derive the benefits of intelligent supply chain automation within weeks.

The challenge in adopting the next wave of innovation, according to FusionOps, is getting buyers/planners to let go of clerical tasks that the system can now perform so they can focus on more strategic activities, and taking business processes to the next level of performance based on real metrics and flexible controls.


GENCO Supply Chain Solutions
Pittsburgh, PA/USA
www.genco.com
Medium
1898
Fulfillment/Logistics

Three of the major challenges GENCO Supply Chain Solutions' customers are facing are energy costs, labor shortages and the need to continuously reduce operating costs. The company said it is helping customers drive supply chain innovation by having dedicated teams focused on implementing new processes and technologies, such as its Strategic Processes and Technologies group. Powered by Lean and Six Sigma, the team develops new processes and brings to the industry implementable new technologies that drive lower operating costs.

GENCO Supply Chain Solutions typically reinvests 20 percent of its pre-tax profits into promising approaches to improve productivity in emerging technologies. In 2005 the company embarked on an initiative termed "Productivity 2010." Simply stated, the goal is to double productivity, facility by facility, through process improvement and technology application by 2010.


GHX
Louisville, CO/USA
www.ghx.com
Medium
2000
Order/Demand Capture, Sourcing, Procurement, Fulfillment/Logistics, Payment, CRM, Integration & Infrastructure/ERP, Decision Support

The supply chain has an increasing impact on the financial and clinical performance of healthcare organizations. Supply chain costs are the second highest expense category for most hospitals, and they are rising faster than any other area due to higher costs for advanced medical devices and their growing use to treat an aging population and chronic diseases. On the other side of the equation, healthcare suppliers are seeing the need to control their supply chain costs in order to remain competitive in an environment of increasing price sensitivity and growing global competition. Both suppliers and providers must ensure the integrity of the supply chain from the point of manufacture to use to prevent counterfeiting and product contamination. Recent problems in China have raised concerns in this area.

The next wave of supply chain innovation, according to GHX, will focus on collaborative industry solutions that leverage existing and emerging technologies. More standardized processes and shared visibility to critical data will create a more agile, demand-driven supply chain.

Much of this innovation will build upon the success of GHX, which operates an electronic trading platform that connects hospitals and suppliers in North American and Europe. In the United States alone, hospitals representing more than 80 percent of licensed beds and the suppliers representing 90 percent of the products they purchase on a regular basis are connected through GHX. Transaction volume has grown from just $25 million in 2001 to an estimated $26 billion this year and will continue to grow exponentially as more high-dollar medical devices and other physician preference items are purchased through the exchange.


Global4PL  Supply Chain Services

Global4PL Supply Chain Services
Santa Clara, CA/USA
www.global-4pl.com
Private
2005
Order/Demand Capture, Fulfillment/Logistics, Integration & Infrastructure/ERP

For small and midsize businesses, leverage technology and outsourced solution providers (in this case, for logistics) as an SMB to appear to be a large enterprise. With most midsize importers/exporters lacking the tools to control worldwide shipments, Global4PL has developed an on-demand service aimed at helping SMBs manage those transactions worldwide at a low investment. Using the solution, smaller companies can address their supply chain visibility, traceability and compliance issues to help them compete more effectively against larger competitors.


Global eProcure
Clark, NJ/USA
www.globaleprocure.com
Small
1999
Sourcing, Procurement

If you're ready to rebel against cumbersome and expensive technology solutions that have long ROIs, Global eProcure suggests that you look for technology partners that can augment your internal resources with specific professional services expertise in categories crucial to your cost reduction initiatives, as well as flexible and easy-to-use technology that will not be rejected by the user base. Global eProcure is looking to blur the lines between technology and services, looking at the procurement function as a whole and making and implementing recommendations that have an eye towards a long-term re-engineering instead of short-term cost reduction.

Global Sources
USA
www.globalsources.com
Medium
1971
Sourcing, Procurement, Decision Support

For a long time, buyers struggled in the trading process with China and Asia suppliers. Problems that stood in the way of buyers included poor quality control, language miscommunications, fraudulent practices and corporate misrepresentation. There seemed to be no end to these supply-chain issues in, ironically, a market of endless profit possibilities. To make trade truly work, buyers needed more than just supplier contacts from China, they needed reliable supplier contacts. While there were a wide variety of suppliers available online, they were they not pre-screened and verified, so doing business with them was a hit-or-miss affair. Buyers clearly could benefit from having access to both "qualified" suppliers and a list of suppliers drawn from the entire Web. Global Sources seeks to meet that challenge with its Web site aimed at providing buyers verified supplier information, credit reports, capability assessments from Bureau Veritas and a supplier ranking system.


GT Nexus
Oakland, CA/USA
www.gtnexus.com
Private
1998
Order/Demand Capture, Sourcing, Procurement, Fulfillment/Logistics, Payment, PLM, Integration & Infrastructure/ERP, Decision Support

Ask yourself this question: If you had a Google for your supply chain, what could you do with it? This is what GT Nexus is seeking to do for its customers: provide a portal that combines applications and a network to allow companies to locate their inventory – and information about their inventory – more quickly and therefore respond to changing circumstance in the supply and demand chain. Once customers have all their information flowing through the network, they can leverage applications for inventory visibility, trade document automation, landed costs, freight audit, supply chain finance and transportation freight spend.


GXS
Gaithersburg, MD/USA
www.gxs.com
Medium
1967
Fulfillment/Logistics, Integration & Infrastructure/ERP

The primary supply chain challenge facing customers of GXS today, both domestically and abroad, is integration, or lack thereof, the solution provider says. Companies are still manually exchanging supply chain documents – purchase orders, purchase order acknowledgments, invoices, payments, advanced ship notices and more – with the majority of their trading partners. This is particularly a challenge with regard to smaller suppliers and trading partners. Many companies have trading partners around the world whose access and adoption of technology is minimal. Finding a way to achieve electronic integration with those suppliers is challenging at best. In response, GXS developed its Intelligent Web Forms service, a subscription-based, entry-level, B2B e-commerce service that enables small to midsize trading partners to receive, turn-around, create and manage electronic documents using only a Web browser.


Hitachi Consulting

Hitachi Consulting
Dallas, TX/USA
www.hitachiconsulting.com
Medium
2000
Order/Demand Capture, Sourcing, Procurement, Fulfillment/Logistics, CRM, PLM, Integration & Infrastructure/ERP, Decision Support

A recent Aberdeen survey found that the difference between market leaders and laggards was their ability to leverage supply chain assets in response to market events. A Wharton study found that running lean is not associated with a better bottom line, and that responsiveness has a more consistent impact on ROA. In line with these findings, Hitachi Consulting developed strategies for "Building the Market Responsive Company" and built a combination of maturity models, benchmarking and implementation solutions to help clients achieve improved performance.

From a technology perspective, Hitachi Consulting is working with software vendors to develop solutions for specific industry segments; the pre-configured templates cut down implementation times. The company is also rolling out a SaaS offering in Transportation Management and has begun developing skills and capabilities around multi-enterprise business process management.

Hitachi Consulting said the challenge of being market responsive is a significant one, not to mention the struggle of getting people to adapt to new processes and technologies along the way. However, Hitachi Consulting has set out to address these challenges by taking a holistic approach when helping clients. It focuses not on just implementing technology, but on making sure that the strategy and process is built to enable a more responsive environment across the entire value chain. Technology is then used to enforce that change and make it sustainable.


Hubspan
Seattle, WA/USA
www.hubspan.com
Private
2000
Order/Demand Capture, Sourcing, Procurement, Fulfillment/Logistics, Payment, CRM, Integration & Infrastructure/ERP, Decision Support

According to Hubspan, the next wave of supply chain integration to help companies address the need for better control, clearer process visibility, data validation and tighter governance over all B2B interactions will employ on-demand delivery of a complete integration solution – software, infrastructure and professional services. As a result, the provider is offering clients its Straight-Through Integration platform, which is an on-demand approach that Hubspan said enables a higher degree of speed in data flow and transaction processing by streamlining cross-enterprise communication exchanges (both synchronous and asynchronous) into a real-time flow of business transactions.


i2 Technologies
Dallas, TX/ USA
www.i2.com
Medium
1988
Order/Demand Capture, Sourcing, Procurement, Fulfillment/Logistics, CRM, PLM, Integration & Infrastructure/ERP, Decision Support

Faced with an increasingly complex business environment and rapid macroeconomic changes, global supply chain managers require a new approach to take on dynamic business challenges. i2 Technologies said global supply chains require speed and innovation, the proven processes and methodologies of the past, and the best tools and talent of today. Hence, the company believes the next cycle of innovation for the supply chain industry is SCM 2.0, which is defined by increased speed of product and service innovation, speed to market, speed to issue resolution and speed to adapt to changing market conditions. i2's approach includes a combination of expertise, process innovation, tools and services to achieve results across business functions.


IASTA
Carmel, IN/USA
www.iasta.com
Small
2000
Sourcing, Decision Support

In supply chain management, it's not a solution if the average buyer can't use it effectively. So look for solution providers that offer innovative approaches to encouraging adoption within your organization. Iasta, for example, started a blog devoted to e-sourcing, dubbed the e-Sourcing Forum, as early as 2005, and followed up with an online resource center, the e-Sourcing Wiki, in 2007, and a free e-Sourcing Handbook e-book in 2008. In terms of e-sourcing, Iasta believes that companies must now take a "total value management" approach to get the most value out of each sourcing decision. "Total landed cost isn't enough anymore," according to the solution provider. "In addition to unit costs and freight costs, a company also has to consider the impact costs associated with every sourcing decision. What is the impact cost of increased turnaround time? Of a potential decrease in quality or customer satisfaction? Of increased supply risk?" Iasta believes it can help organizations leverage technology and best practice sourcing methodologies so they make the best possible decisions they can, in light of various real-world constraints.


ILOG
Sunnyvale, CA/USA
www.ilog.com
Medium
1987
Order/Demand Capture, Sourcing, Fulfillment/Logistics, Integration & Infrastructure/ERP, Decision Support

Citing the recent increase in environmental regulations, both in the United States and abroad, as well as the move toward creating greener supply chains, ILOG has partnered with Accenture to create the new Carbon Footprint module as part of the company's LogicNet Plus 6.0 XE. The Carbon Footprint module is designed to help companies make environmentally-sound choices when designing and managing their supply chains. It evaluates the impact of various supply chain network configurations and transportation strategies on their carbon footprint and provides alternative plans that will reduce carbon emissions.

The ILOG LogicNet Plus XE Carbon Footprint extension can be used in two ways: for reporting on the carbon footprint of various supply chain configuration or for setting constraints on carbon footprint and identifying the best supply chain configuration from cost and service points of views.


Inovis

Inovis
Atlanta, GA/USA
www.inovis.com
Private
1983
Order/Demand Capture, Procurement, Fulfillment/Logistics, Payment, PLM, Integration & Infrastructure/ERP, Decision Support

Trading partners have also evolved from being part of a supply chain to being a vital part of a business's success. Today's business environment demands collaboration and automation to gain competitive advantage. To keep the supply chain running smoothly, businesses are demanding more from their suppliers in terms of just-in-time fulfillment and vendor-managed inventory in a world of increasing global outsourcing. In this context, it's not surprising that companies find this level of collaboration difficult to achieve. And in order to achieve this level of fulfillment and supply chain management agility, asserts solution provider Inovis, companies realize that their organizations need end-to-end supply chain visibility that is accessible across the entire trading partner community – for both the supply chain hub and its spokes, or suppliers.

The "next wave" of supply chain innovation, as Inovis sees it, will enable companies to collaborate with trading partners, automate supply chain process and gain visibility into all aspects of a company's supply chain. Through its software and managed services, Inovis says its Business Community Management (BCM) automates business processes between companies and their suppliers, thereby increasing visibility into a company's supply chain and cutting down on errors to reduce costs and improve customer service. This increased collaboration can deepen trading community partnerships, and by removing the complexities and costs associated with a traditional business-to-business model, Inovis says it is helping to drive greater product innovation, increased speed to market and greater levels of customer satisfaction and retention.


Insight Sourcing Group

Insight Sourcing Group
Norcross, GA/USA
www.insightsourcing.com
Small
2002
Sourcing, Procurement, Decision Support

From Insight Sourcing Group's point of view, the 21st century will see two major supply chain trends: 1) The expansion of best-in-class supply and demand management capabilities to the mid-market; and, 2) The simplification of supply chain tools to enable better, faster supply chain management with less people and less complexity. These two trends go hand-in-hand and form the basis of ISG's mission of arming mid-market companies with supply chain management best practices and the tools they need to compete effectively. For example, ISG has developed a Spend Analytics Service and Dashboard. While many solutions provide robust capabilities to slice and dice data, they are often highly technical, requiring a company analyst to operate it and maintain the underlying data. ISG's offering is a service, with ISG supplementing its client's staff to perform the full expenditure categorization and then providing a dashboard that can be used by CFOs and analysts alike to determine sourcing strategies, set savings targets and launch sourcing efforts.


Intesource, Inc.
Phoenix, AZ
www.intesource.com
Small
1999
Sourcing

Citing the critical issue of profit pressure, Intesource Inc. provides tools and services to help companies protect and bolster net profits by focusing on the cost of goods and services. To date, Intesource has averaged over 18 percent savings and delivered a substantial and immediate ROI. The company's solutions (consisting of e-Sourcing Tools, Contract Management, Spend Management, and supporting Services) are designed to compliment clients' current supply chain initiatives and drive increased efficiency, improved margins, cost avoidance and superior value.


INTTRA

INTTRA
Parsippany, NJ/USA
www.INTTRA.com
Private
2000
Fulfillment/Logistics, Integration & Infrastructure/ERP

The United States Bureau of Customs and Border Protection (CBP) estimates that 90 percent of the world's trade is transported in cargo containers. The international trade industry relies on containerized freight to move shipments across the supply chain. With a considerable number of shippers utilizing containers, next-wave innovations are required for supply chain sustainability, asserts INTTRA. In order to maintain global trade flow, the shipping industry demands tools to boost effective communication, accurate documentation and transparency throughout the trade process, says the solution provider, which operates a multi-carrier e-commerce platform for the ocean shipping industry.

A carrier consortium, consisting of six major ocean liners, evaluated the container shipping process in order to initiate innovations across the supply chain. INTTRA's e-commerce platform is the fruit of their investigation.

INTTRA says its solutions assist shippers by streamlining the shipping documentation process and improving visibility. Inefficient communication and data integrity are the most common detriments during the documentation process. In the past, shippers had to complete shipping forms then fax them to carriers, where the information would be re-entered into the carrier's system. Not only could information sent via fax become lost in translation, but the speed of e-commerce also made it evident that the facsimile process was a fossil waiting to be buried.

Now INTTRA says it has eliminated the need for outdated data input by connecting shippers with carriers through e-commerce, simplifying the documentation process by providing the ability to save instruction templates for reuse, one-time data entry for multiple containers carrying identical goods and the ability to easily import data from internal spreadsheets to the INTTRA platform. Visibility is maintained by logging on to the INTTRA portal. For each container shipped, the platform alerts clients to the status of their shipment, including date of receipt, vessel loaded, departed and arrived. Search capabilities enable users to search shipments by booking, container or reference number, carrier and date range.

The global supply chain is constantly evolving. Industry leaders must be proactive by tracking the trends that will push supply chain transformation. To be successful in the global market, shippers in Mumbai must have the clarity to connect with containers in Maine. INTTRA says it enables this clarity by driving the next-wave innovations that provide oceanic shippers with access to the connective capabilities required for a visible, efficient and secure supply chain.


JDA Software

JDA Software
Scottsdale, AZ/USA
www.jda.com
Medium
1978
Order/Demand Capture, Sourcing, Procurement, Fulfillment/Logistics, CRM, PLM, Integration & Infrastructure/ERP, Decision Support

When it's time to overhaul your supply chain, don't forget to overhaul the technology that runs your supply chain. When one customer of JDA Software was looking to refurbish its supply chain in the late 1990s, the company also revamped its supply chain technology platform, replacing in-house systems with modern forecast planning and transportation management applications. As a result, the company was able to boost customer service levels, improve forecast and production planning, and increase supply chain visibility.


JPMorgan
New York, NY/USA
www.jpmorgan.com/ts
Large
1871
Sourcing, Procurement, Fulfillment/Logistics, Payment, Decision Support

From its perspective, JPMorgan believes the main obstacle facing its clients in the marketplace is the job of alerting corporate finance executives to the benefits of linking the physical supply chain with the financial supply chain to expand discount management opportunities and profit from cash outflows.

To aid clients, JPMorgan has developed a wide range of solutions that address both the physical and financial supply chains.

JPMorgan offers traditional trade and payment solutions like Letters of Credit, Open Accounts and Commercial Cards, but has more recently stood out in the market for delivering more innovative solutions like supply chain financing, single-use purchasing card account technology, and buyer-initiated settlement options.

With its 2005 acquisition of global trade management company Vastera, JPMorgan became the first bank to round out its trade finance solutions with services and software addressing the physical side of the supply chain. In 2007, JPMorgan's acquisition of business settlement network Xign deepened its financial supply chain management capabilities by delivering electronic settlement capabilities and opportunities for dynamic discounting.

Most recently JPMorgan introduced a Freight Payment and Audit Solution, an electronic payment and transportation management service that helps importers and exporters achieve lower freight costs, greater control of global transport operations, and more actionable insight into supply chain sourcing and shipping decisions.

Looking to the future, JPMorgan plans to introduce new trade management solutions and roll out a procure-to-pay solution before the end of the year.


JVKellyGroup Inc.

JVKellyGroup, Inc.
Huntington, NY/USA
www.jvkg.com
Small
2002
Sourcing, Procurement, Decision Support

Of all the issues plaguing many of today's leading procurement departments, JVKellyGroup, Inc. said the problem can be stated in a simple, single sentence: Most organizations lack actionable business intelligence. The four traditional components of actionable business intelligence are data quality, timeliness, usability and cost. Since 2002, JVKellyGroup has focused Web 2.0-based innovations in all four areas to deliver sustained change in numerous industries.

The company has developed processes to enhance the quality of information, from creating custom taxonomies to linking data from multiple, disparate sources to show the true meaning behind performance metrics.

JVKellyGroup's team of business intelligence experts also designed a flexible dashboard solution in which clients can readily change what metrics they're monitoring, while maintaining their original metrics in the background. The dashboards provide a clear visual representation of real-time information and highlight key metrics. Color coding allows users to instantly identify and assess trouble spots and areas of concern. The dashboard is fully "customizable" to each client's specifications and allows multiple views within a user friendly interface.

Finally, JVKellyGroup said that because budget dollars are hard to come by, the company utilizes a hosted solution with tools that are cost effective to implement and maintain.


K2 Sourcing Inc.

K2 Sourcing, Inc
Belgium, WI/USA
www.k2sourcing.com
Small
2003
Sourcing

How much are you willing to pay for an e-sourcing tool? How about free? Does free work for you? K2 Sourcing is on a mission to educate companies on the benefits of e-sourcing by providing its proprietary Supplier I-Forms on-demand application free of charge.

As K2 Sourcing sees it, two issues are preventing companies from utilizing e-sourcing tools. First, due to subscription fees, small and midsize businesses can have difficulty understanding the payback of utilizing e-sourcing tools. Secondly, many buyers appear to believe e-sourcing is another term for reverse auctions. To help these companies remain competitive, technology providers need to solve both issues, and K2 Sourcing is taking the lead by providing access to a complete version of its Supplier I-Forms free of charge. Supplier I-Forms provides buyers a means of creating, capturing and comparing just about any type of supplier data. Examples of how companies can utilize Supplier I-Forms as an e-sourcing tool to streamline strategic sourcing include: pre-qualification and supplier surveys, agreements, terms, conditions, policies, and procedures, keeping up to date supplier profile information, tracking tooling maintenance and gaining C-TPAT compliance, among others.


Kinaxis

Kinaxis
Ottawa, Ontario/Canada
www.kinaxis.com
Private
1995
Order/Demand Capture, Fulfillment/Logistics, PLM, Integration & Infrastructure/ERP, Decision Support

Tap systems that allow you to be more responsive to rapid changes in demand/circumstances across the supply chain. As Kinaxis sees it, globalization has created a dynamic that fosters new competition, demands higher levels of efficiency to compete and requires true expertise in supply chain performance. For the first time, new competitors from regions around the world with new ideas and agile supply chains are effectively competing against established players with formidable brands, customer loyalty and deep resources. This business landscape has created more choices for customers and has increased pressures on brand owners to be even more responsive to ever-changing customer requirements or risk missed sales opportunities and, potentially, market-share. Responding to unexpected changes in a global supply chain often requires collaboration, judgment, and measured compromise. This is the need that Kinaxis seeks to meet with its on-demand RapidResponse service, providing access to continuously updated information that reflects MRP, ERP and enterprise system data from across the extended global supply chain.


Lawson Software
St. Paul, MN/USA
www.lawson.com
Medium
1975
Order / Demand Management, Sourcing, Procurement, Fulfillment / Logistics, Payment, Customer Relationship Management, Product Lifecycle Management, Supply Chain Integration & Infrastructure / ERP, Decision Support / Business Intelligence / Consulting / Education

The rise in global trade and outsourcing continue to drive a need for business software that improves planning and execution while providing real-time visibility into inventory and supply movements across geographies. As global supply chains grow ever more complex, Lawson Software believes that it is increasingly important to have a single transactional system that can manage multiple sites, warehouses, currencies, languages and time zones.

In the past, finding the status of a customer order to change a delivery date or quantity often was a major challenge requiring manual processes due to data stored in disparate multi-level transactional environments that lacked a link between different order levels. To increase supply chain inefficiency and gain a competitive edge, organizations must automate the implementation of changes to customer order networks while giving companies the ability to check order status and whether or not current delivery terms can be met, Lawson asserts.

Production planning is critical, yet increasingly complex as organizations become more global, customer demand becomes more volatile with shorter response lead-times. Wrong decisions during the planning process can negatively impact on-time delivery performance and delivery lead-times. While companies often use multiple spreadsheets with built-in assumptions for some levels of planning, this lack of integration tends to cause confusion and slow down decision-making. This is particularly challenging in multi-site manufacturing environments.

To address these challenges, Lawson proposes that the "next wave" of supply chain innovation will include adoption of new open technologies, applications and standards that help integrate business processes in a global marketplace and give companies a competitive edge through improved business processes, greater agility and a lower total cost of ownership. Lawson says its M3 system supports customers' global supply chains and helps automate the financial reconciliation of material movements between sites. Global available-to-promise capabilities help distributors identify where stock is available to meet customer demand while manufacturers also require global capable-to-promise tools. These tools can make it possible for companies to look across their organization for existing stock before deciding to manufacture or source more thereby minimizing inventory. In addition, Lawson says that M3 provides a way to link all the constituent parts of a supply chain, providing visibility across order networks, automating the process of making changes to order networks, and enabling users to check the status of a linked order chain and whether current delivery terms can be met.


Management Dynamics
East Rutherford, NJ/USA
www.ManagementDynamics.com
Private
1990
Order/Demand Capture, Sourcing, Procurement, Fulfillment/Logistics, Integration & Infrastructure/ERP

As you take your supply chain global, ensure that your supply chain technology and processes are adequate to meet your current needs and also to support profitable growth. Customers of Management Dynamics, for example, are using the enabler's Rate Explorer Transportation Management solution to understand their freight options before committing, audit freight bills quickly to eliminate overcharges, and gain visibility to all their ocean contracts.


Manhattan Associates

Manhattan Associates
Atlanta, GA/USA
www.manh.com
Medium
1990
Order/Demand Capture, Fulfillment/Logistics, Payment, CRM, PLM, Integration & Infrastructure/ERP, Decision Support

Manhattan Associates believes the next wave of innovation will come in the form of "Organized Optimization," which comes from taking a holistic approach to supply chain optimization. True optimization, according to the company, must align business objectives across the entire organization based on a common set of organizational priorities such that the outcome is the most favorable for the business and the shareholders. Manhattan's Supply Chain Process Platform allows customers to combine capabilities to create X-Suite (cross suite) solutions, which span functional areas, people and processes within organizations.

MCA Solutions
Philadelphia, PA/USA
www.mcasolutions.com
Small
1999
Fulfillment/Logistics, PLM, Integration & Infrastructure/ERP, Decision Support

Feedback from manufacturing customers, evolutions in the service supply chain and transitions in the manufacturing industry have long been the drivers behind MCA Solutions' service parts planning and optimization technology. Today the company said it's much more about the end user and the value that they derive from their products throughout the service lifecycle, because enhancing technology to effectively meet companies' changing service needs will help MCA's manufacturing customers excel at providing service to their customers.

Up until now, manufacturers have had no choice but to rely on historic data, which was dependant on previous fill rates, parts consumption and scheduled and unscheduled maintenance cycles to make critical service supply chain decisions. However, MCA Solutions is helping manufacturers leverage new customer data streams to improve their service strategies and offer better, more efficient and effective service to customers.

With the "next wave" of the service supply chain calling for a customer-centric approach, mid-sized manufacturers need a strong service strategy, too. To help mid-sized manufacturers compete with the big guys, MCA Solutions launched a new version of its OnDemand solution earlier this year. MCA OnDemand offers mid-sized manufacturers a comprehensive, lower-cost solution with around-the-clock support and managed services.

Customer-focused service is absolutely the "next wave" in the service supply chain, according to MCA Solutions, and its innovative service parts planning and optimization technology is making it possible for manufacturers across the globe to achieve this new level of service excellence.


Menlo Worldwide Logistics
San Mateo, CA/USA
www.menloworldwide.com
Large
1990
Fulfillment/Logistics

Menlo Worldwide Logistics said customer need projections indicated that the majority of new warehouse management business would be in the multi-client arena due to the increased need for real-time visibility, flexibility and reduced labor and asset costs. In order to meet this rising trend, the company developed a formal multi-client warehouse facility network modeled on the success of its flagship multi-client operation in Fremont, Calif., which began serving customers nearly two years ago. Through this formal offering, Menlo offers customers the opportunity to mitigate asset risk, providing a cost-effective bridge between single-warehouse solutions such as committing to a dedicated facility, utilizing public warehouse space or having to internalize the function.

With multi-client warehouse management solutions, customers of any size can outsource any level of warehousing, distribution and transportation management operations, leveraging shared resources from an IT platform and global network of strategically located facilities. Menlo's multi-client network warehouse management solution also offers customization, full warehouse management functionality and a Lean philosophy of waste elimination, continuous measurement and improvement.


Metastorm

Metastorm
Baltimore, MD/USA
www.metastorm.com
Medium
1996
Decision Support

Most organizations today realize the value of developing an enterprise strategy and goals, analyzing processes to identify areas of improvement, and creating process efficiency; however these efforts are usually siloed into different groups and may only exist in pockets of the organization. Metastorm says its software products are designed to help close the gaps and create a transparent, collaborative environment across even the largest supply-chain organizations so they can ensure understanding, optimize execution, enable agility, and empower resources to deliver on goals at many levels of the organization.


Microsoft Corporation

Microsoft Corporation
Bellvue, WA/USA
www.Microsoft.com/RFID
Large
1980
Order/Demand Capture, Sourcing, Procurement, Fulfillment/Logistics, CRM, Integration & Infrastructure/ERP, Decision Support

RFID adoption has been slowed by cost, lack of value propositions, lack of trained resources and few applications that can take advantage of its unique value. Microsoft suggests that by introducing its BizTalk Server 2006 R2 into the RFID market, it is enabling companies with a consistent technology approach to RFID that can't be replicated by independent middleware vendors. Rather than a select group of skilled technicians trained on specific RFID middleware technologies, there now is a large community with skills ubiquitous to any IT organization ready to support the RFID infrastructure and blend it creatively with their mainstream technologies, the Redmond giant says.


Motorola, Inc.
Schaumburg, IL/ USA
www.symbol.com
Large
1930
Fulfillment/Logistics, CRM

Driving efficiencies throughout one's supply chain is more than a business mandate today; it's a matter of business survival. Motorola Inc. has targeted radio frequency identification (RFID) as a true next-generation technology, ready, available and being implemented today that is transforming how companies manage and extract more business value from their supply chain operations.

Motorola recently introduced the next phase in the evolution of RFID with the RD5000 Mobile RFID Reader. By adding mobility to Motorola's reader technology, companies can extend the reach of their RFID network throughout the enterprise environment. The device is cable-free, provides real-time wireless local area network (LAN) connectivity and has motion-smart features that work together to help conserve battery power. The completely self-contained device offers an integrated battery and antenna as well as a very small footprint for easy installation and deployment. From the warehouse and loading dock to the retail floor and more, the RD5000 increases the level of visibility of inventory and other assets.


Nexiant
Irvine, California/USA
www.nexiant.com
Small
1999
Order/Demand Capture, Sourcing, Integration & Infrastructure/ERP, Decision Support

Typically, indirect materials are managed at the plant level with manual processes, and consumption data is not integrated with other supply chain management systems. Many companies lose control of materials once they arrive at their destination, and the challenge, Nexiant said, is that they don't have a disbursement strategy to control these materials down to the end user. According to Nexiant, the "next wave" of supply chain innovation will need to include specific technology and services to control the issue side of the item transaction on the production floor, to automate the last 100 feet of the MRO supply chain and to free up labor to value added activities.

In light of these challenges, Nexiant's MRO inventory management technology and services are designed to automate and streamline the last 100 feet of the supply chain to improve efficiencies, increase productivity around resources and assets, enforce business rules and drive standardization across an enterprise. This includes the company's point-of-use inventory control equipment.


NextLevel Purchasing Inc.

Next Level Purchasing, Inc.
Moon Township, PA/USA
www.NextLevelPurchasing.com
Small
2000
Sourcing, Procurement, Decision Support

Go global with your supply management skills. For example, with rising costs in fuel and other commodities forcing suppliers to be less flexible in order to preserve their own profit margin, many companies are turning to the global market as a means to achieve lower costs. But without the skills and knowledge to interact with suppliers from other cultures, many organizations are failing to achieve the best value. Without the skills to manage suppliers both domestically and abroad, procurement departments will struggle to meet or exceed management's objectives and goals. Procurement training and certification firm Next Level Purchasing says it helps procurement professionals acquire the skills, knowledge, strategies and techniques necessary to meet today's high expectations and to deliver measurable results in the workplace even during economically challenging times. The firm released its "Basics of Smart International Procurement" curriculum in February 2008 with an eye toward building confidence in purchasing professionals as they begin to see global procurement initiatives become more prominent in their organizations.


OnDemand Resources
Great Falls, VA/USA
www.ondemandresources.com
Small
2003
Order/Demand Capture, Sourcing, Procurement, Fulfillment/Logistics, Decision Support

Leverage independent project personnel with deep domain expertise to undertake short-term projects to achieve quick results. OnDemand Resources, for example, has the mission of enabling companies across industry to deliver critical supply chain projects by providing them with high-caliber subject-matter experts on a flexible and interim basis where and when clients need them. OnDemand Resources' business model permits companies to secure the right candidates typically within 48 hours of a request. "Companies are also able to leverage significant cost savings compared to traditional consulting alternatives while taking advantage of best practice supply chain management initiatives and opportunities," the company says.


Optricity
Research Triangle Park, NC/USA
www.Optricity.com
Small
2006
Fulfillment/Logistics, Decision Support

Taking a white board approach roughly two years ago, Optricity founders set out to formulate a ground up architecture to optimally slot product in today's warehouse. From this idea emerged a new wave of supply chain innovation that Optricity has coined as Juncture Optimization, based on the idea that the next wave of increased efficiency will occur at junctures in the supply chain – where one function meets another. To prove out this vision, Optricity developed a brand new, state-of-the-art slotting optimization tool built on the principles of Juncture Optimization.

"It's no longer enough to accept old standby methods to simply calculate good storage locations," says Dan Basmajian, president and CEO of Optricity. Today's warehousing and distribution operations are responding to demands at an unprecedented rate. As predictive tools become more prevalent and competition tightens, the warehouse often sits on the supplier hot seat for getting the right product in and out of doors efficiently, while minimizing costs in the process. Optimized activity within the warehouse enables the operation to receive, store, pick and distribute accurate orders within specified time windows driving competitive advantage for an organization. Pressure on the warehouse to achieve supplier requirements and financial pressure to minimize costs mean that today's managers must make sacrifices that do not always lead to optimal solutions. And yet many companies are trying to succeed with yesterday's tools that have not caught up to the demand-driven requirements of today.

Older systems utilized then state-of-the art genetic algorithms to calculate near optimal locations for each SKU as it was received into the facility. Optricity's new slotting technology utilizes architecture that capitalizes on increased awareness of market drivers such as promotions, consumer demand, and predictive analytics. The new algorithms architected by Optricity take into account data that were not previously available and simultaneously analyze all location options using its "best neighbor" process. Concurrently, Optricity has increased the speed with which calculations and decisions can be made, so that what used to take hours can now be calculated in seconds with increased confidence that all factors have been considered. Output from the system includes tying optimal designation into real time application. Multiple scenarios can be compared and payback can be calculated for each alternative before customers make a single move. Optimized, directed work means that solutions take into account individualized available labor, productivity rates, specific equipment and types of storage available. As a result, optimized work assignment can be allocated and costs savings can be more accurately depicted.


Osiris Innovations Group

Osiris Innovations Group
Auburn Hills, MI/USA
www.osirisig.com
Small
2005
Order/Demand Capture, Sourcing, Procurement, Fulfillment/Logistics, Payment, Integration & Infrastructure/ERP, Decision Support

As Osiris Innovations Group sees it, current supply chain automation tools do little to automate the real-time electronic passage of data between buyer and supplier. They simply provide a method for pitching out purchase orders, with no catcher's mitt provided for the supplier. This buy-side focus does not create a true collaborative environment, since suppliers cannot possibly offer deep cost-saves when they are wasting valuable resources trying to simply maintain their businesses.

For this reason, Osiris believes that the "next wave" of supply chain innovation will combine closed-loop automated solutions with expert procurement strategies, creating a dynamic interaction between buyer and supplier. These interactions will benefit both the buyer and the supplier as relationships are strengthened through cooperative actions, strategic decision-making, and cost-savings derived from automation-based efficiencies. Fully integrated solutions addressing both buyer and supplier needs provide the essential edge for survival in today's highly-competitive economy, Osiris asserts.

Osiris has tackled this challenge by offering both buyer- and supplier-focused automation that addresses the end-to-end procure-to-pay process. Through its suite of applications, called OS Interchange, Osiris integrates both sides of the supply chain with the goal of providing equal impact on efficiency, cost-effectiveness and strengthened e-business practices, while fostering collaboration between the buy and sell sides of the supply chain.


PathGuide Technologies
Mukilteo, WA/USA
www.pathguide.com
Private
1989
Fulfillment/Logistics

The next wave of supply chain innovation, according to PathGuide Technologies, is an automated warehouse with wholesalers and industrial distributors able to fulfill products within the supply chain with greater accuracy, efficiency and speed.

PathGuide is addressing this need with its Latitude Warehouse Management System, which provides visibility into inventory by location, including multiple zoned warehouses, job sites, and on-site consigned and non-consigned material. With a dashboard overview and decentralized information sharing, all players within the supply chain that "touch" the customer can know the status of inventory on-hand, shipments in process and shipments en route/delivery status. Latitude's tracking and reporting capabilities also enable distributors to measure order status versus the timeliness and accuracy of order fulfillment, an analysis the company said is key to customer retention.

For example, E.B. Horsman & Son, privately owned since 1900, is the largest independent electrical distributor in Western Canada. With 17 locations, the company's mission is to be the electrical distributor of choice offering the best people, product and service in the industry. A key strategy for accomplishing this mission is the pursuit of operational excellence.

Since making the move to Latitude, the company said it has achieved the following productivity and efficiency gains:

  • Receiving accuracy and receiving productivity each increased by nearly 200 percent
  • Pick accuracy levels currently run better than 1 error in every 1,300 line items
  • Pick productivity increased 192 percent
  • Yearly inventory losses have been reduced to approximately 0.002 percent

PINC Solutions

PINC Solutions
Berkeley, CA/USA
www.pincsolutions.com
Small
2004
Procurement, Fulfillment/Logistics, CRM, Integration & Infrastructure/ERP, Decision Support

In a recent study published by the Aberdeen Group ("A View from Above: Global Supply Chain Visibility in a World Gone Flat," September 2007), only 29 percent of best-in-class organizations reported having accurate data over 90 percent of the time, and 73 percent of all the companies surveyed put improving data quality and timeliness of status messages at the top of the agenda to improve their supply chain visibility. PINC Solutions said that to gain real-time visibility into a company's yard it is necessary to automate key processes, and a real-time location system (RTLS) is increasingly accepted as the enabler for achieving high data quality through timely recording and reporting of all significant events in the yards.

As a result, PINC Solutions has created Yard Hound – the first yard visibility and management solution that offers real-time location information of mobile assets in the yards using passive RFID technology, with accuracies sufficient to address the yard management needs.


Plexus Systems

Plexus Systems
Auburn Hills, MI/USA
www.Plex.com
Private
1995
Order/Demand Capture, Sourcing, Procurement, Fulfillment/Logistics, Payment, CRM, PLM, Integration & Infrastructure/ERP, Decision Support

Increasingly complex products are driving greater dependency on supplier quality management, especially for automotive, aerospace & defense, and medical device manufacturers. In addition, large OEMs are driving warranty cost downward through the supply chain, which only increases the necessity for documenting quality and processes along every step of the chain.

In response to these and other challenges, Plexus Systems, Inc. created Plexus Online – a Web-based enterprise software solution that connects and manages the total manufacturing organization, including the critical supply chain. With the ability to manage a single facility or an entire enterprise, Plexus Online offers more than 350 functional modules for instant access to and management of critical information across the extended supply chain for highly engineered products in the automotive, aerospace & defense, medical device, and packaged food markets. Plexus Online includes supplier management, RFI/quoting, inventory, shipping/receiving, traceability, quality management, EDI, accounting and many other capabilities.

The system also provides an on-demand suite of integrated tools for supply chain management, connecting the manufacturer with its customer and suppliers through an online database of information, and paperless, real-time communication between trading partners. Integrated supply chain management capabilities include electronic Kanban, online releases, EDI, electronic invoices and shipment notifications, online supplier quality management, cross-company inventory traceability, cross-company quality and production data.


PowerTrack

PowerTrack
Minneapolis, MN/USA
www.powertrackglobal.com
Medium
1997
Payment

PowerTrack said the next wave of supply chain innovation will come through the pioneering use of Web technology, driving automation through supply chain collaboration for freight payment customers who must negotiate in companies that are the result of mergers and acquisitions, have different contracts in different global locations, unconnected enterprise systems, and policies and procedures that are unique to their various locations.

When it comes to managing payment processes, PowerTrack offers electronic handling, accurate audits, secure payments and completely integrated payment financing. Consistent gathering of global shipment and payment data enables companies to answer questions that lead to intelligent supply chain decisions. In addition, customers have seen such benefits as 99.9 percent of paper invoices eliminated from the payment process, six-day payments across the PowerTrack network and the need for post-payment audits virtually eliminated, among others.


PrimeRevenue, Inc.
Atlanta, GA/USA
www.primerevenue.com
Small
2003
Payment, Integration & Infrastructure/ERP

Companies must put as much focus on the financial supply chain as they do into the physical supply chain. PrimeRevenue's platform, for example, connects trading partners and financial institutions around a common view of future-dated financial settlement, linking supply chain events, the flow of funds and the flow of goods and services. This common view allows trading partners to reduce the excess working capital and expense caused by financial settlement uncertainty. It also provides financial institutions with a far more granular and forward view of credit, default and dilution risk, allowing them to leverage the capital markets to provide on-demand, efficiently-priced working capital finance to suppliers.


ProcureStaff LTD

ProcureStaff, Ltd.
New York, NY/USA
www.procurestaff.com
Small
1996
Order/Demand Capture, Sourcing, Procurement, Payment, Decision Support

Most everyone agrees the most complex commodity in the supply chain is human capital. It is also the newest commodity to be regarded by supply chain managers because prior to advances in information sciences enabled by powerful computer software, there was no method sufficient to manage the process. The undeniable growth of contingent workforces in nearly every industry is a direct result of the innovation of the automated vendor management system (VMS) for human capital. This innovation was not a simple repurposing of the same supply chain management technologies companies have used for decades to source and procure static commodities such as office supplies and raw materials. Those systems were not flexible or sophisticated enough to address the staggering complexities and nuances required to effectively procure the very best network architect, clinical researcher or other highly skilled worker for any given job.

Today, most of the world's largest concerns maintain a significant percentage of non-employee workers among their overall workforce, and most employ an automated VMS to manage their supply of contingent labor, according to ProcureStaff, a VMS provider. ProcureStaff differentiates itself from other players in this space by emphasizing that its business intelligence service offers aggregated multi-dimensional data that, it says, can more accurately reflect the nuanced environment within which all business operate. "ProcureStaff's data is comprehensive and truly reflects the state of such elements crucial to services procurement as availability of high demand workers like IT and engineering talent; up to the minute market rates for different skill sets; and supplier performance," the solution provider says.


Prorizon Corporation

Prorizon Corporation
Kennesaw, GA/USA
www.prorizon.com
Small
1992
Sourcing, Procurement, Fulfillment/Logistics, Integration & Infrastructure/ERP

Norman D. Conway, president and CEO, Prorizon Corporation, says, "If all you're doing is automating your old procedures, you miss the opportunity to truly revolutionize the process." He adds that the new horizon for procurement seeks to minimize or eliminate post-purchase costs. In addition, Conway believes that companies should avoid the complexity of large, over-engineered ERP systems as well as under-engineered "Band-Aid" systems that consume time, resources and increase overhead costs. Rather, he says, organizations looking to leverage technology should seek a simplified approach to achieve the business functionality required by the strategic and tactical stakeholders within an organization.


PurchasingNet Inc.

PurchasingNet, Inc.
Red Bank, NJ/USA
www.PurchasingNet.com
Private
1983
Order/Demand Capture, Sourcing, Procurement, Payment

Being a provider of procure-to-pay solutions for over 25 years has given PurchasingNet Inc. (PNi) the chance to have frequent conversations with senior supply chain executives across many different industries. Currently, PNi said it has observed that the primary supply chain challenges for these executives include the need for improved policy controls, enhanced spend visibility (for both sourcing and cash management), complete audit trails, increased reporting and forecasting abilities, and business process tools to make better use of working capital.

PNet ePayables and Financial Management suites were originally introduced in 1999, and PurchasingNet continues to enhance the functionality of each PNet suite to stay ahead of the demands of the procure-to-pay market. During the past 10 years, PNi has committed to adding modules to PNet Software that are responsive to customer and marketplace feedback and are designed to help with the convergence of the physical supply chain with the fiscal supply chain.

Some of these modules include the PNet Opt-In Early Payment Discount Management (EPDM) module in the ePayables suite and the Key Performance Indicator (KPI) Dashboard & Best Practice KPI Library in the Financial Management suite.

PNi currently has five patents pending for innovation within its PNet ePayables suite.


Puridiom

Puridiom
Mechanicsburg, PA/USA
www.puridiom.com
Private
1983
Order/Demand Capture, Sourcing, Procurement, Fulfillment/Logistics, Payment, PLM, Integration & Infrastructure/ERP, Decision Support

According to Puridiom, supplier enablement remains one of the top challenges facing its clients today. The disconnect between the company and its suppliers is causing supply chain disruptions, compliance and accuracy issues, longer order and invoice cycle times, missed saving opportunities, and is even hindering the ability to establish new and stronger supplier relationships.

Puridiom continues to introduce new technologies, strategies and services to overcome these challenges, one of which is its Puridiom Catalog Content Manager (CCM). This technology addresses the challenge of managing and enabling supplier catalogs with multiple data formats and standards by essentially creating a private marketplace that is easily accessible by the buyer and supplier through a single integration point.

Puridiom said the second new wave of supplier enablement is the automation and outsourcing of the Accounts Payable functions. To that end, Puridiom is helping clients by providing Accounts Payable Automation and Outsourcing, which allows them to outsource all or part of their accounts payable business functions or keep their AP functions in-house.


Quadrem International

Quadrem International
Dallas, TX/USA and Amsterdam, The Netherlands
www.quadrem.com
Medium
2000
Order/Demand Capture, Sourcing, Procurement, Fulfillment/Logistics, Payment, CRM, PLM, Integration & Infrastructure/ERP, Decision Support

As Quadrem sees it, the major challenge facing global companies today is the need for reliability in their worldwide supply chains during uncertain economic conditions. This constant need for dependability will grow as these large companies expand in both developed and developing countries. In emerging markets, sourcing and transaction challenges are greater, as are procurement of quality products and services delivered on time and according to specifications.

Quadrem International tackles this challenge with a network that connects some 1,100 buyer locations with 60,000 suppliers throughout the world, enabling global buyers to source, transact and procure products and services in emerging markets as well as in developed countries where the buyers are growing. Quadrem simplifies electronic access via modems so that small vendors in emerging markets who are new to computers and must function in narrow bandwidth environments can access the front end of major ERP systems, then communicate with the buyer's operations. The solution provider also helps buyers by using a Web environment to qualify suppliers based on standards set by the buyers, then onboarding selected suppliers into the network.

Rearden Commerce
Foster City, CA/USA
www.reardencommerce.com
Private
2000
Procurement

One of the biggest challenges procurement executives continue to face is gaining visibility and control over categories of services spend that have historically gone unmanaged. In an era of rising costs of goods, more strategically controlling services spends enables companies to make a positive impact on their bottom line. Rearden Commerce meets that need with its Rearden Personal Assistant, an online tool that helps users find and book a range of services based on company policies, their preferences and the location and context of what they're doing. The Assistant lets companies track spend across services while applying corporate policies and managing preferred supplier relationships. The results: savings for the company, plus happy employees.


RedPrairie

RedPrairie
Milwaukee, WI/USA
www.RedPrairie.com
Medium
1975
Fulfillment/Logistics

RedPrairie's E2e solutions synchronize people and products throughout the customer buying cycle to ensure goods reach the right place at the right time. At the point of sale, this means consumers have access to desired products and that the store is staffed with the right people to help them make their purchases. In the production cycle, it means suppliers and manufacturers time and synchronize shipments and production based on demand signals from the retailer. And in the back room of the store, it means having the least amount of inventory, solving the "last yard" problem of the retail supply chain.


Retail Solutions

Retail Solutions
Sunnyvale, CA/USA
www.retailsolutions.com
Private
2003
Order/Demand Capture, Fulfillment/Logistics, Integration & Infrastructure/ERP, Decision Support

Over the past 10 years in the consumer goods industry, supply chain divisions have invested in building extensive in-house supply chain capabilities. Concurrently, marketing and product development departments have invested in initiatives to better understand end-consumer behavior. However, the intersection of these two initiatives – at the point of sale in the retail store – largely remains a black box for manufacturers.

In order to capitalize on this next source of competitive advantage for its customers, Retail Solutions has focused on applying science to retailer data to help consumer goods companies collect and leverage the data retailers share. The company has developed proprietary algorithms that enable consumer goods companies to address the key opportunities to drive sales growth. This not only drives valuable actions for its clients, but also provides the basis for a more effective, productive dialog between trading partners as a single version of the truth and alert-based processes ensure retailers and manufacturers focus together on building a better business, down to every shelf in each store.


River Logic Inc.

River Logic, Inc.
Dallas, TX/USA
www.riverlogic.com
Private
2000
Order/Demand Capture, Sourcing, Procurement, Fulfillment/Logistics, Payment, CRM, PLM, Integration & Infrastructure/ERP, Decision Support

As River Logic sees it, supply Chain executives have embraced and benefited from a host of supply chain technologies, but these systems have failed to link strategic decisions and operational planning to financial performance. While these systems sometimes connected select supply chain functions with the finance department, this connectivity was relegated to an "input" into the budgeting and forecasting process. Without better connectivity and a deeper understanding of how supply chain performance impacts other departments, as well as the collective enterprise, these systems cannot optimize performance.

In addition, at the strategic level, senior executives typically do not interact with supply chain systems. Therefore, they are forced to make key decisions with limited understanding of the financial ramifications and related risks associated with their decisions. Consequently, decisions around capital investment allocations, mergers and acquisitions, plant closures, distribution and logistics, product mix, go-to-market channels and organizational structure, require mountains of spreadsheets filled with assumptive, non-integrated data. The data, which is usually assembled from a number of systems including ERP, supply chain management, business intelligence and financial planning, do not provide a holistic and accurate understanding of the financial impact.

In response, River Logic offers its Integrated Business Planning (IBP) approach, based on its Enterprise Optimizer (EO) solution, aimed at bridging strategy and operations by simultaneously analyzing market, process and financial variables, then determining which actions provide the highest return for the enterprise. The goal is to provide a unified, holistic view of the business, offering a single model that can bring alignment to the supply chain and addresses the company's strategic goals within its operational framework.


RockBlocks
Wayland, MA/USA
www.rockblocks.com
Private
2004
Order/Demand Capture, Sourcing, Procurement, Fulfillment/Logistics, PLM, Integration & Infrastructure/ERP, Decision Support

RockBlocks believes the most critical supply chain challenge facing organizations today is the need to implement and sustain an environmentally and socially responsible supply chain with flat or diminishing budgets. The company said the next wave of supply chain innovation includes both the technology needed to support an environmentally and social responsible supply chain, and the best practices critical to sustaining it.

The RockBlocks platform offers customers increased visibility throughout the entire supply chain, from product design and development to delivery. With RockBlocks, organizations have a framework in which they can aggregate all of the information about a product as it travels from raw materials to a finished good to a store shelf. Organizations can then use this information to identify areas of inefficiency, optimize resources, reduce waste and ensure compliance with the highest standards and best operational practices regarding child labor, Sarbanes-Oxley compliance, use of sustainable, renewable or recyclable raw materials, production conditions and procedures, recalls and carbon emissions.


RollStream Inc.
Fairfax, VA/USA
www.rollstream.com
Small
2005
Order/Demand Capture, Procurement, Fulfillment/Logistics, CRM, PLM, Integration & Infrastructure/ERP, Decision Support

People are now the "killer app" in the supply chain, says RollStream, which argues that supply chain investments in systems and infrastructure will fail without investment in "human networks." "People run the supply chain and the traditional interaction model has been phone, fax, email and spreadsheets. It's a mess," the company asserts. To address this mess, RollStream offers up what it calls Human-Centric Supply Chain management technology, Web-based applications to help businesses organize, communicate and control trading partner communities enterprise.


Ryder System, Inc.
Miami, FL/USA
www.ryder.com
Large
1933
Fulfillment/Logistics

Although Ryder System, Inc. is widely known for its supply chain and transportation solutions, recently the company has been delving into the areas of supply chain efficiency and environmental sustainability. Ryder is a member of the Environmental Protection Agency's SmartWay program to promote energy efficiency to reduce greenhouse gas, and it just opened its first energy efficient, "Energy Star" certified building in Novi, Mich. In February 2008, Ryder partnered with Florida International University to bring customers, partners, academics and other industry professionals together to discuss best practices in building and managing "green" supply chains.

From smarter transportation lane strategies to optimization of the reverse logistics process, Ryder's efforts are helping customers reduce their carbon footprints and improve asset utilization.


SAS
Cary, NC/USA
www.sas.com
Large
1976
Order/Demand Capture, Sourcing, Procurement, CRM, Decision Support

The benefits of becoming "demand-driven" are multi-fold, such as higher forecasting accuracy leading to reduced stock-outs, reduced back-orders, better inventory control and overall better customer satisfaction. Another factor driving "demand-driven" initiatives is quantifiable ROI. Demand-driven supply chains deliver that return on investment. In fact, according to a recent study by AMR Research, companies that have better demand forecasting accuracy, have 15 percent less inventory, 17 percent stronger order fulfillment and 35 percent shorter cash-to-cash cycle times than typical companies.

SAS Demand-Driven Forecasting is designed to enable companies to profitably respond to demand by not only forecasting demand accurately, but also by enabling them to understand the financial impact of changes in product and marketing strategies on their bottom line using "what if analysis" and scenario modeling capabilities. The solution automatically creates a weighted consensus forecast by tracking variation between forecasted and actual to aid the S&OP process. With SAS Demand-Driven Forecasting, companies can translate their customer and other upstream data into a demand plan that maximizes profitability, market share and customer satisfaction.


SciQuest, Inc.
Cary, NC/USA
www.sciquest.com
Private
1995
Order/Demand Capture, Sourcing, Procurement, Fulfillment/Logistics, Integration & Infrastructure/ERP, Decision Support

As SciQuest sees it, there is growing fatigue with the monolithic IT systems once intended to solve all enterprise procurement needs. In the past, ERP systems and one-size-fits-all, horizontally-oriented e-procurement applications were seen as the solution to all purchasing needs. For the purchase of the direct goods used for manufacturing and just-in-time inventory, their use has been honed to near perfection; however, they have proven to be ineffective in the purchase of indirect goods and services, SciQuest asserts.

The "next wave" of supply chain innovation has already begun as organizations strive to manage indirect spend with the same level of precision, best practices and solutions found in the direct supply chain, the solution provider says. To accomplish this, procurement must evolve from a processing function into one that engages all participants in the purchase of indirect goods and services – including all types of end users, administrators and suppliers – together in one integrated and interactive environment. In this way, every component of the purchasing process becomes transparent and automated, providing all involved with real-time access to the information they need to make better, more strategic decisions.

SciQuest offers software-as-a-service solutions that it says are aimed at tackling the challenges presented by indirect procurement, with a focus on environments such as healthcare, bio-pharma and medical research, as well as higher education. The company's provides a Web-based shopping platform that allows buyers to browse and comparison shop. Instead of having to fill out forms, work through an administrator or chase down approvals, they add items to their virtual shopping cart and the rest of the process is automated. The result, SciQuest says, is that procurement becomes easier and less time-consuming – a key factor in user adoption – while procurement staff gain visibility into where spending occurs and with whom.


SigmaQuest

SigmaQuest
Sunnyvale, CA/USA
www.sigmaquest.com
Small
1996
PLM

SigmaQuest said there are three compelling events in the high-tech/electronics industry that will shape the next wave of product lifecycle management:

1. Warranty Expenses – Aberdeen Group estimated that warranty claims cost U.S. companies $2 billion per month. However, most manufacturers are not certain of what causes the product defects that lead to warranty claims and product returns, or what they can do to fix those quality problems quickly.
2. Outsourcing – Managing supplier quality and in-process quality are significant challenges for manufacturers in a outsource environment. Autonomous facilities resist having to march in line, so getting composite metrics across plants is elusive.
3. Quality Mandates – Requirements for data collection and reporting are dictated by the company's business practices, customer requirements and government regulations.

SigmaQuest solutions offer a closed-loop quality system by tying quality management to warranty or supplier management. This allows customers to become performance-driven organizations. It enables manufacturers to track the quality of components as they come off assembly and test lines. Its SigmaSure product suite allows users to associate specific components with specific finished products, and to track and analyze the performance of those products and components throughout their lifecycles. Using SigmaQuest's Suite, customers can reduce the impact of recalls, better manage suppliers and even apportion warranty liability to suppliers who may have been responsible for bad parts.


Silvon Software Inc.

Silvon Software, Inc.
Westmont, IL/USA
www.silvon.com
Medium
1987
Decision Support

A number of external demands have changed the basic nature of the way that consumer goods manufacturers (CGMs) manage their businesses. Today, mass merchant retailers like Wal-Mart and The Home Depot dominate the customer bases of most CGMs and expect their suppliers to accept more responsibility for quality, on-time delivery, product availability and performance reporting regardless of their size. Should nonperformance occur, CGMs face consequences, including the loss of customers and/or the imposition of vendor-compliance fees.

In addition, CGM manufacturing operations are increasingly dispersed and reliant on third-party trading partners, whether moved offshore or outsourced completely. This has led to longer and more complex supply chains for them, longer manufacturing lead times and less visibility across their supply chains.

As a result of these market forces, according to Silvon Software, CGMs are moving to adopt a "Demand-Driven Supply Network" strategy for sensing and responding to real-time demand across a network of suppliers, employees and customers. Key demand information such as syndicated and point-of-sale data must be analyzed to create a demand signal from which more accurate forecasts can be driven to meet retailer requirements and more efficient operational plans can be generated to better balance supply with demand.

Historically, though, companies have cobbled together spreadsheets and reports to help a select few within the organization (like business analysts and IT staff) better manage their customer data. Silvon believes the business intelligence (BI) software space is evolving from an industry of labor-intensive and custom-built processes and reports constructed with software tools to a model of Web-enabled, pre-built applications wherein procedures, reports, event management and workflow are based on best management practices encompassing the entire organization. Silvon developed its Stratum suite of applications to capitalize on this next wave of the BI analytics industry by providing a server-based, Web-enabled system that controls and manages the full lifecycle of decision-making across all operational areas of the business.

Stratum integrates with and leverages data from a company's existing systems to provide a single data analysis and reporting platform for management. The brand's packaged applications for planning and performance management run on top of this platform and are designed to provide enterprise-wide visibility to our customers by addressing the key operational areas of manufacturing and distribution within their organizations.

To further support this next wave of planning and performance management, Silvon will soon be announcing the availability of a new point-of-sale data connector that will allow CGM companies to import, cleanse and analyze the consumption-based data that they receive from their retailers with greater ease and flexibility. Plus, the company said it will be adding two more strategic planning applications to the product suite, both of which are critical to the success of CGM businesses and represent a natural extension to the planning and performance analysis capabilities currently inherent in Stratum.


Source One Management Services, LLC
Willow Grove, PA/USA
www.sourceoneinc.com
Private
1992
Sourcing, Procurement, Decision Support

How much are you willing to pay for a procurement tool? How about free? Does free work for you? Source One Management Services offers free procurement tools and contingency-based services as a way of providing low-risk solutions to businesses of varying sizes. Source One has developed WhyAbe.com, a free sourcing toolset available on the Web with access to RFP and RFQ management tools, reverse auctions and a contract management repository system. In addition, Source One provides services on a pay-for-performance basis, so clients can gain access to professional resources without any out of pocket cost – payment is made to Source One only upon the realization of measurable and tangible bottom line savings.


Sourcing Interests Group
Truckee, CA/USA
www.sourcinginterests.org
Small
1991
Sourcing, Procurement, Integration & Infrastructure/ERP, Decision Support

Sourcing Interests Group (SIG) is a membership-driven organization comprised of sourcing and outsourcing professionals. Members are focused on improving bottom-line performance, quality and customer service through strategic sourcing/procurement and outsourcing initiatives. SIG is acknowledged by many as a world leader in providing an ongoing forum and services to assist companies in strategy development, the improvement of goods and services sourcing, and the implementation and management of corporate services through outsourcing, offshoring, insourcing and shared services. SIG services like the Semi-Annual SIG Sourcing Summit/Conference and SIG Peer2Peer Network Program help sourcing professionals share best practices and meet requirements of the "next wave" of supply chain innovation.


SPS Commerce
Minneapolis, MN/USA
www.spscommerce.com
Small
1998
Order/Demand Capture, Fulfillment/Logistics, Integration & Infrastructure/ERP, Decision Support

Today businesses of all shapes and sizes are expanding operations to all points on the globe – particularly to Asia. Suppliers range from huge multinational corporations with facilities on several different continents to tiny one-person shops located in the owner's garage. With this increasingly global business environment comes new challenges for suppliers of any size: collaborating with trading partners and customers, minimizing the cost of conducting business and providing real-time operating capabilities.

B2B integration through EDI remains, for many enterprises, the backbone of the automated supply chain, yet until recently remote trading partners had no practical means to access the enormous amounts of data in these systems to help them to perform functions on the supplier's behalf such as logistics and sourcing. As such, EDI has become one of the first software-as-a-service (SaaS) applications to gain industry wide acceptance and, SPS Commerce believes, represents the "next wave" of supply chain innovation.

Last October SPS Commerce unveiled the latest update to its Web-based B2B integration service, with a focus on easing the exchange of information with third-party or remote factories and warehouses across the global supply chain. This outsourced EDI service offers a browser-based interface for suppliers and 3PLs to exchange business documents electronically with their customers. With the 2007 update, SPS Commerce's outsourced service now enables remote factories to receive packing instructions online and print and affix barcode labels onsite for faster and more accurate shipping.


Staples Inc.

Staples, Inc.
Framingham, MA/USA
www.staples.com
Large
1986
Procurement

While Staples Contract continues to help some of the world's largest organizations build efficient supply chains by delivering on its promise to help customers achieve "low total delivered cost," the company says the "next wave" of supply chain innovation is not only focused on reducing waste for business sake. More companies of all sizes are focused and committed to reducing waste because it's good for their business and the environment. As a result, they increasingly need unique solutions to help them achieve both goals.

Staples Contract recently introduced innovative solutions to help customers achieve their green procurement goals, including the office product industry's first online catalog for contract customers to drive greater convenience, efficiency and compliance for the procurement process. Staples Contract has also expanded its green catalog offering to include a dedicated online catalog for Staples' wide selection of green products. The Staples "Green Guide" makes it easy for customers to find and select hundreds of eco-friendly products ranging from paper and toner to unexpected categories like desk accessories, furniture and cleaning products.


Sterling Commerce
Dublin, OH/USA
www.sterlingcommerce.com
Medium
1996
Order/Demand Capture, Procurement, Fulfillment/Logistics, Payment, CRM, Integration & Infrastructure/ERP

In spite of retailers' best efforts, according to Sterling Commerce, 67 percent have yet to successfully meet customer's expectations of a seamless purchasing and delivery process across multiple channels. The company believes the "next wave" of supply chain innovation will be the delivery of multi-channel selling and fulfillment capabilities to achieve seamless cross channel excellence. Sterling Commerce is working to innovate these areas to enable companies to deliver a better shopping experience for their customers in the most cost-effective way.


ToolsGroup
Cambridge, MA/USA
www.toolsgroup.com
Small
1993
Order/Demand Capture, Fulfillment/Logistics, Decision Support

With millions of possible SKU/service level combinations, the best a company's planners can often do is estimate the high level trade-offs and then spend time compensating, either by expediting, or, in the case of retailers, by discounting.

By contrast, ToolsGroup's modeling technology understands the SKU-by-SKU demand variability that is at the heart of inventory issues. It sets targets at an SKU level, not aggregate level, for each stocking location. And because it precisely targets and continuously optimizes inventory, its customers don't blindly overstock; they buffer where there is a likelihood of demand and sales.

The company accomplishes this through its Service Optimizer 99+ percent (SO 99+) solution, which optimizes inventory mix by understanding each SKU's stock to service relationship, balancing working capital and customer service objectives. Customers improve short-term forecast accuracy and correctly set safety stocks, achieving up to 99+ percent customer service levels while significantly cutting inventory.

Case Study: Mohawk Paper Mills Goes for 99+ Percent

In 2005, Mohawk Paper Mills, a privately-owned company known for its brands, including Strathmore, Navajo, Becket, Via and BriteHue, acquired the Fine Papers division of International Paper, significantly increasing the size and complexity of their business. After a best practices gap analysis, Mohawk was determined to create a strong central sales and operations planning (S&OP) process to manage the business, which would enable Mohawk to focus on decisions that immediately impacted performance. Some of the main benefits included:

  • Higher service levels on made-to-stock business and more aggressive pursuit of made-to-order business.
  • Reorganization and management of the interdependency of target service level and inventory investment.
  • Reduction of inventory and delayed capital investment in buildings while supporting increased sales.
  • Resolution of capacity issues based on product profitability and business contribution.

To achieve these benefits, the company employed ToolsGroup's SO 99+, which defined inventory targets for each stock item at each location across the network and performed forecasting, service level planning, and inventory mix optimization. It also handled requirements planning, resupply of regional (level two) DCs and passed manufacturing replenishment requirements to their production scheduling system.

Over the course of project, Mohawk's customer service level metric was changed from "order lines shipped complete within five days" to "order lines complete and available at time of order." Within six months customer service levels leapt from 85 percent to 93 percent; this was accomplished in spite of the more demanding goal and in the wake of significantly reduced expediting. In addition, the company reduced global inventory 25 percent, while supporting an 8 percent increase in sales, resulting in a 40+ percent improvement in inventory turns. Both the improved service levels and the optimized stock inventory mix have led to improved profitability to the company.


TradeCard, Inc.
New York, NY/USA
www.tradecard.com
Private
1999
Order/Demand Capture, Sourcing, Procurement, Payment

Try technology that not only extends visibility into the movement of payment, product and data as they flow through the extended supply chain, but also provides a central hub for all parties in a supply network to access the same data. Enabling trading partners with a single version of the truth can help encourage cross-party collaboration. TradeCard, for example, says its solution offers a multi-enterprise sourcing hub that brings together buyers, suppliers and service providers and provides visibility into sourcing, logistics and supply chain finance processes.


Transplace
Frisco, TX/USA
www.transplace.com
Private
2000
Sourcing, Fulfillment/Logistics, Payment, Integration & Infrastructure/ERP, Decision Support

As a leading provider of transportation management services and logistics technology, Transplace is aggressively developing technical- and process-oriented solutions to address supply chain challenges. Through its fully integrated technology platform, Transplace tailors its solutions to meet each customer's individual needs for their distinct supply chains. From the use of a highly-orchestrated dedicated fleet operation across multiple customers' freight networks, shippers are able to achieve a "best in class" result in deadhead freight by developing complex routing optimization algorithms to collaborate at the shipment level across Transplace's customer's freight networks.


TrueDemand Software
Los Gatos, CA/USA
www.tdemand.com
Private
2005
Order/Demand Capture, CRM, Decision Support

In spite of innovation in sales planning and supply chain processes, consumer packaged goods (CPG) manufacturers have not seen improvement in the shelf availability of their products for more than 20 years, according to TrueDemand Software. The "next wave" of supply chain innovation in the CPG/Retail sector is focused on lifting sales by improving execution between account teams, distribution centers and the retail shelf. TrueDemand said it uses proprietary science to enable CPG companies to identify and capture a significant portion of the nearly $100 billion in lost sales that occur every year across the industry. The company's software-as-a-service (SaaS) solutions use retailer point-of-sale (POS) data to identify, predict and prioritize new sales opportunities and to foster coordinated actions across the retail supply chain.


Verian Technologies

Verian Technologies
Charlotte, NC/USA
www.verian.com
Small
1996
Procurement

While the supply chain has undergone massive transformation – much of it via automation – in the past two decades, one link in the supply chain has not experienced the level of automation others have. Where? Just walk through the accounting department and look for the stressed out employees buried under stacks of paper. Welcome to Accounts Payable, home of the next wave of supply chain innovation, according to Verian Technologies.

Underappreciated, viewed as non-strategic, and a link in the supply chain that's often taken for granted, Accounts Payable can be a surprisingly costly and inefficient bottleneck to supply chain effectiveness. Aberdeen Group reported last year, "Only one-third of all enterprises have any significant level of automation in place." Their research also revealed that "demand for e-payables solutions is on the rise."

Although most purchasing is conducted electronically these days, Aberdeen reports that 85 percent of the invoices resulting from these purchases still arrive in a paper format. The average cost to process an invoice – paper and electronic combined – is around $22. Multiply that by the hundreds of thousands of invoices that the typical Fortune 1000 company receives each year, and the annual costs are easily in the millions. Just to pay the bills.

But the costs of an inefficient financial chain don't stop there. They affect the material supply chain as well. Paper invoices are notoriously inefficient, and days to pay a paper invoice are significantly longer than for an electronic invoice. Consistently late payments erode Purchasing's relationships with suppliers and buyers' leverage in negotiating more favorable rates and terms.

In addition, the ability to take early pay discounts is often a pipe dream for organizations with high volumes of paper invoices. Simply taking 2-10 Net 30 terms is the equivalent of achieving a 36 percent annual return on money owed. Where is your average, law-abiding company going to find investment opportunities paying 36 percent?

As the economy becomes more uncertain, CFOs, Treasurers and Controllers are scrutinizing working capital more than ever. Visibility into working capital has become a holy grail of sorts. Finance is playing a more active role in helping plan the timing of capital purchases to maximize cash on hand. What can obscure that visibility is outstanding invoices – usually ones for purchases that do not originate with a purchase order. These non-PO invoices are received by field offices and sit on desks for weeks or months before they are finally approved and sent to centralized AP. These outstanding invoices represent cash that has to be paid – a "liability" in financial terms. With poor visibility into these invoices, working capital is hard to forecast. For publicly held companies or companies with public debt, an incorrect statement of liabilities violates the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, which can bring financial penalties, loss of shareholder confidence and even jail.

Verian Technologies says it is investing in developing "next-wave" solutions that improve supply chain effectiveness by reducing the bottleneck in AP. Specifically, Verian offers a blend of solutions that enable electronic invoice capture (supplier portal, EDI, XML, document imaging, outsourcing). In addition, Verian has developed technology aimed at reducing the need for human involvement in reducing invoice exceptions and is offering its customers the ability to take advantage of "dynamic discounting" capabilities through a portal that allows suppliers to offer an early-pay discount and specify the discount amount and days to pay.

The convergence of the physical and financial supply chains presents a "next wave" for supply chain improvements, and Accounts Payable is an important common link between the two chains. Verian says that it recognizes this link and that it is poised to help organizations convert AP from a bottleneck to a strategic asset.


Vinimaya
Shelton, CT/USA
www.vinimaya.com
Private
2000
Procurement

Consider e-procurement solutions that leverage B2C e-commerce technologies such as meta-search and intelligent agents that take better advantage of the Internet and online content rather than conventional database-centric solutions. Vinimaya, for example, says it offers solutions that allow users to search and shop directly from suppliers' Internet-based web sites, industry marketplaces, catalog aggregators and supplier networks (without requiring XML punchout support), as well as their internal catalog database, all from a single user interface, without ever leaving the e-procurement system. The result, Vinimaya says, is that its customers are averaging 90 percent of their catalogable spend available to requisitioners.


Xcitec GmbH
Munich, Germany
www.xcitec.com
Private
1999
Sourcing, Procurement

Xcitec specializes in software for supplier management and supplier relationship management (SRM), and its Supplier Rating solution enables a purchasing organization to evaluate the supplier cross-functionally. Importantly, the reverse rating method actively incorporates the suppliers themselves in the evaluation process, allowing suppliers to rate the company they supply and/or to evaluate themselves. In this way, discrepancies between a company's self-perception and how it is perceived by the buying community can be identified as a basis for further negotiations and improvement projects. Over the long term, reverse rating can provide a basis for strengthening relations between companies and suppliers through useful feedback and improvement methods.


Zebra Technologies
Vernon Hills, IL/USA
www.zebra.com
Medium
1969
Integration & Infrastructure/ERP

Case Study: Odom's Tennessee Pride: A Prime Example

Odom's Tennessee Pride is a well-known producer of high-quality sausage meat products sold to major supermarket chains and specialty retailers. Because of the volume of Tennessee Pride products required to fill orders, the company could not take a slap-and-ship approach to meeting its customers' RFID compliance mandates. In addition, outsourcing RFID labeling to the company's dedicated cold storage third party logistics provider (3PL) was not an option because the 3PL did not have RFID capabilities.

"Our process required that we be able to apply RFID tags in a real-time, in-line process in our plant," said Mike Hader, Odom Tennessee Pride's director of information technologies. "We were also interested in using RFID not only to meet the mandate but also to improve our own processes."

That brought a new set of challenges because plant operations were highly automated and efficient, so the RFID system had to fit in without slowing things down. Tennessee Pride runs production for two shifts, then tears down and cleans its lines during the third. The lines are in constant use, so there is no time available to shut down to test and troubleshoot RFID configurations. "We looked for a partner who could provide a reliable, scalable system and bring in vendors with world-class capabilities to fit into a large-scale IT infrastructure, while causing minimal change to the processes we already had in place," said Hader.

After careful evaluation, Tennessee Pride found the solution partners it was seeking. Rush Tracking Systems provided the integration and engineering expertise and relied on Zebra Technologies to provide high-performance, reliable and integration-friendly RFID printer/encoders. Rush integrated Zebra's R110XiIIIPlus printer/encoders and RFID middleware from OATSystems into Tennessee Pride's production lines and industrial control system.

The system passes data from Tennessee Pride's ERP application to an R110XiIIIPlus on the production line, which generates a carton label with bar code and human readable information, plus an EPCglobal UHF Gen 2 RFID tag. An automated applicator from Weber Marking System applies the smart label to the moving carton at production speeds.

The system can handle regular orders requiring RFID labels interspersed with orders that do not require RFID. After the cartons are automatically labeled, the conveyor and industrial control system route them to the appropriate palletizing station. Once the pallet has been robotically stacked and wrapped, workers use a Zebra cart-mounted R110XiIIIPlus printer/encoder to produce the pallet label, which is hand-applied. Labeled pallets are then brought through an RFID portal reader for order validation prior to releasing them for shipment.

With this world-class system in place, Tennessee Pride met its goal of compliance without compromise. Plant operations continue to run as quickly and efficiently as before, but the RFID labeling system is running even more smoothly than Hader expected. Tennessee Pride is also meeting its goal of using RFID to improve operations.

"One of the ways Tennessee Pride attempts to be a leader in food safety and quality is through our use of technology. We are using the data we get from our RFID system, and we are always looking for ways to improve our processes and the technology that our processes depend upon. We find that RFID is a great benefit," Hader concludes.

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