2008 Supply & Demand Chain Executive 100

100 ways to innovate your supply chain with the providers of next-wave supply chain services and solutions


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.

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