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A selection of recent alliance announcements from the supply chain community

March 28, 2003  Following is a selection of recent alliance announcements that have come into the iSource Business newsroom. These press releases are, for the most part, presented as received. Datelines have been edited for consistency, and trademark and similar notations, as well as "forward looking statement" and similar notices, have been removed.



Microsoft Business Solutions and Surebridge Launch CRM Online

Redmond, WA, and Lexington, MA  March 18, 2003  Microsoft Business Solutions and Surebridge Inc., the leading application outsourcer for the middle market, today launched a fast, easy and affordable way to use Microsoft Business Solutions Customer Relationship Management.

CRM Online by Surebridge enables midsize businesses to obtain immediate access to all the functionality of Microsoft CRM anywhere and any time, without the responsibility of deployment or daily management of the technology.

By choosing the CRM Online solution, customers can begin to see the benefits of a customer relationship management (CRM) solution the same day they sign up for the online service. With Surebridge experts handling the deployment and ongoing management of the technology, customers can focus on the business processes of their CRM solution. In addition, CRM Online delivers all the benefits of an online application without compromising flexibility and functionality, and can be easily integrated into other Microsoft solutions including Microsoft Office, Microsoft Exchange and Microsoft Business Solutions financial management applications, as well as Microsoft-centric third-party CRM applications.

Surebridge, a Microsoft Business Solutions Inner Circle member, is the first application outsourcer to offer Microsoft CRM in a hosted environment. Surebridge recently bolstered its Microsoft Business Solutions expertise and national footprint with the acquisition of ManagedOps.com Inc., a Microsoft Gold Certified Partner for Hosting and Application Services. The combined company offers mid-market organizations considerable CRM expertise and front-to-back office integration capabilities.

The companies collaborated on the development of the online service and have agreed to jointly market and support CRM Online, which will be sold through Surebridge's network of Microsoft-certified channel partners.

Surebridge is offering CRM Online for an introductory monthly fee of $99 (U.S.) per user, with a one-time $695 setup fee, not including Microsoft CRM licensing. Pricing for Microsoft CRM licenses range from $395 (U.S.) per user plus $995 (U.S.) for the server for the Standard Sales level to $1,295 (U.S.) per user plus $1,990 (U.S.) for both sales and service servers at the Professional Suite level.

Customer Choice

Time to market was a leading reason why CNC Systems Inc., an international machine tools distributor based in Kennebunkport, Maine, chose the online service over an in-house deployment. "We had all the necessary technological ingredients to implement the software, but calculated that getting our salespeople equipped quickly with CRM Online would be far more valuable for developing business and servicing our customers," said Mark Kilburn, controller at CNC.

"We're very excited to have Surebridge offer CRM Online because the company provides the expertise needed to ensure customers have a successful deployment in a hosted environment," said David Thacher, general manager for CRM at Microsoft Business Solutions. "The combination of Microsoft CRM and CRM Online by Surebridge enables midmarket organizations to increase their business productivity, maintain a low total cost of ownership for their CRM solution, and integrate with other Microsoft and third-party solutions. CRM Online will provide a flexible option for companies looking to deploy Microsoft CRM in a hosted environment."

"We are pleased to be extending our relationship with Microsoft Business Solutions as the first application outsourcer to offer Microsoft CRM in a hosted environment," said Peter J. Boni, chairman and CEO of Surebridge. "For a low monthly fee, CRM Online by Surebridge alleviates the complexities of deployment and the ongoing management of the solution. Companies can be assured they will receive a world-class solution delivered with exceptional customer service from a financially viable provider with a solid track record of success."

Microsoft CRM enables midsize businesses to build more profitable customer relationships through increased sales effectiveness and more-consistent customer service. Microsoft CRM is designed for rapid deployment, ease of use, and integration with Microsoft Office and Microsoft Great Plains back-office solutions. It helps increase information reliability, employee usage and productivity.

About Surebridge

Surebridge, the leading application outsourcer for middle market companies, delivers brand name application choice, such as Microsoft Business Solutions, and affordable strategy, implementation and outsourcing services. Surebridge is a member of the Microsoft Business Solutions Inner Circle, an accomplishment earned by firms whose sales achievement ranks them at the top echelon of Microsoft Business Solutions' global network of value-added reselling partners. Surebridge, which achieved profitability early last year, is the only application outsourcer that can provide a comprehensive portfolio of totally integrated front-to-back end ERP, CRM and eBusiness solutions. By providing outsourced business-critical enterprise-level applications, Surebridge provides tremendous cost savings to its customers. In addition, Surebridge's offerings are enhanced with a constant eye toward value through high-touch customer service. Surebridge offers vertical expertise in the manufacturing/distribution, financial services, healthcare/pharmaceutical, services, publishing/media and communications, retail and public sector industries. The company was founded in 1997 and is headquartered in Lexington, Mass. For more information, please visit http://www.surebridge.com /, or call 781-372-3222.

About Microsoft Business Solutions

Microsoft Business Solutions, a business group of Microsoft, offers a wide range of integrated, end-to-end business applications and services designed to help small, mid-market and corporate businesses become more connected with customers, employees, partners and suppliers. Microsoft Business Solutions' applications optimize strategic business processes across financial management, analytics, human resources management, project management, customer relationship management, field service management, supply chain management, e-commerce, manufacturing and retail management. The applications are designed to provide insight to help customers achieve business success. More information about Microsoft Business Solutions can be found at http://www.microsoft.com/businesssolutions/.

About Microsoft

Founded in 1975, Microsoft is the worldwide leader in software, services and Internet technologies for personal and business computing. The company offers a wide range of products and services designed to empower people through great software  any time, any place and on any device.

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DemandStream and FlowVision Partnership Leads the Market Enabling Customers to Realize the Benefits of Demand Pull and Lean Manufacturing

Minneapolis  March 20, 2003  SoftBrands Manufacturing announces the integration of the DemandStream Lean Supply Chain Solution with the Flow and Lean consulting and education services of FlowVision, LLC. DemandStream is a lean manufacturing solution that increases profitability and provides manufacturers with a clear competitive advantage. FlowVision is a full service provider of Lean and Flow manufacturing services. This key industry partnership will provide customers with automated replenishment of materials based on Demand Pull methodologies.

The combined solution helps businesses understand and deploy the tools and methodologies of Lean and Flow manufacturing in their specific environment. Together they will help mutual customers realize the benefits of Demand Pull and Lean Manufacturing: immediate ROI, increased overhead expenses and a more flexible supply chain.

"The alliance of DemandStream and FlowVision places us in a market leadership position," stated Randy Tofteland, president of SoftBrands Manufacturing. "The new relationship draws on the strengths of both companies in the areas of Demand Pull and Lean Manufacturing products and services to help customers optimize their extended supply chain processes in the new on- demand era."

The two companies intend to:

  • Jointly market DemandStream and FlowVision products and services.

  • Provide "best-of-breed" consulting and training services for their customers' entire supply chain, beginning with customer demand and continuing through the product manufacture and into the supply base.

  • Explore the possibility of joint product development surrounding the Lean and Demand Pull methodologies.

"Today, FlowVision and DemandStream are placing themselves at the forefront of a new supply chain model," said David Pytel, co-founder of FlowVision. "The agreement with DemandStream is a natural extension of FlowVision's portfolio. Teaming with DemandStream provides customers with senior level assistance that provides practical yet innovative results in Lean/Flow solutions."

About SoftBrands, Inc.

SoftBrands is a global supplier of enterprise application software. Currently focused on the hospitality and manufacturing industries, the company intends to expand both internally and through acquisitions. With more than 5,000 customers in over 60 countries now actively using its Fourth Shift, evolution, DemandStream, PORTfolio and RIOGrand products, SoftBrands has established a worldwide infrastructure for distribution, development and support of enterprise software. The company, headquartered in Minneapolis, Minnesota, has over 700 employees with branch offices in Europe, Asia, Australia, the Middle East and Africa. Additional information about SoftBrands can be found at www.softbrands.com.

About FlowVision, LLC

FlowVision, LLC is a full service provider of Lean and Flow manufacturing services. FlowVision helps businesses understand and customize the tools and methodologies of Lean and Flow manufacturing to their specific environment to achieve significant financial results in manufacturing and office arenas. FlowVision's clients have enjoyed benefits such as dramatically reduced inventories, industry leading customer response times, improved cash flow, greater productivity and unparalleled quality levels. FlowVision helps their customers achieve these goals through hands on customer workshops and on site support services. Their 100% client reference network is proof positive that not only is your vision possible, it is achievable. Additional information can be found at www.flowvision.com.

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nMetric's 4C to Help Software One Customers Obtain Shop Floor Visibility

Provides Mid-Sized Manufacturers with Real-Time, Live Scheduling, Monitoring and Tracking of Manufacturing Status

Clawson, MI  March 20, 2003  nMetric today announced that it is partnering with Software One (Clawson, Mich.) to help mid-sized manufacturers proactively manage by integrating and coordinating scheduling with real-time tracking and updating of all resources, materials, labor and capacity. With nMetric's 4C, Software One customers can leverage the systems they already have instead of investing in new systems to get a real-time view of scheduling.

"Plugging the gap between scheduling and execution to obtain real-time visibility is an effective way for our customers to increase their profits," explains Theresa Dunn, president of woman-owned Software One. "By accelerating work and order flow, management fosters increased revenues. Inventories, WIP and otherwise, will drop as their shop floor visibility is enhanced. Optimizing manufacturing resources will also boost operational margins and delay capital investments."

"The technical staff and industry specialists at Software One have extensive practical experience and expertise in various areas, including manufacturing, supply chain management, financial and accounting management, automotive, EDI and e-commerce," reports Tom Carpenter, nMetric CEO. "Now, they can show their customers how their present software can become the provider of data used by 4C@Site, affordably linking scheduling and execution to foresee potential production hotspots before they become problems."

With nMetric 4C, orders are continuously monitored at every moment throughout the production process in real time to assure status and provide notification to all members in the supply chain if delivery expectations are not going to be met. When and if resources or demands change or might change, 4C attempts to resolve any problems that could affect delivery dates and/or proactively notifies all specified parties so they are aware and can plan accordingly. If there are prospective large shifts in plans or resources, users proactively use 4C to manually determine the impact of various "what-ifs" on present order dates in the queue. Management can then anticipate what the effects of each change will be before making them.

About Software One

In 1983, Software One, Inc. was founded to provide quality software services and products to users of IBM midrange systems. Headquartered in Clawson, Mich., with a remote location in Akron, Ohio, SOI has employees with extensive experience in software support, implementation, education and technical knowledge. This experience has been with clients in size from $20 million to divisions of Fortune 500 companies. By limiting its focus to the midrange marketplace and the manufacturing and distribution environment, SOI has been able to emerge as an industry leader. Phone is 248-280-0550 and website is www.swone.com.

About nMetric

nMetric's 4C system is the only software that provides mid-sized and smaller manufacturers with live scheduling, monitoring and tracking, messaging updates and analyses so that they can completely oversee all steps of their manufacturing process and proactively supervise the dynamics of their supply chain in real time to accurately predict what will happen. Company headquarters are at 3070 South Bristol Avenue, Costa Mesa, Calif. 92626. Phone is 888-561-9700. Website is www.nmetric.com.

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Zalton and TradeCard Bring Seamless Trade Transaction Flow to Retailers; Partnership to Provide Online Transaction Capabilities from PO to Settlement

Hong Kong  March 20, 2003  TradeCard, the leading financial supply chain service provider that enables online management of global trade transactions, announced today that it will collaborate with Zalton Enterprises Ltd., the Hong Kong-based auto-identification systems company, to provide seamless transaction capabilities for traders.

The partnership will enable customers to complete their trade purchasing transactions completely online from electronic purchase order delivery and generation of Advanced Shipping Notices to financial settlement. Zalton, which has developed customized Supply Chain Management solutions for specific customers, including US retailers GAP, JC Penney and Target, will work with TradeCard to integrate their services to offer straight-through processing to their customers.

Kurt Cavano of TradeCard said: "Zalton and TradeCard have the same objective: to automate the manual and paper-laden tasks in trade transactions associated with ordering, fulfillment and settlement. Procurement in the retail industry is particularly complex and profits rely heavily on the correct goods being on the shelf in the right season, so we focused on providing an easy-to-implement solution to help our customers succeed."

"Identifying the goods is crucial and this is where Zalton bring our expertise into this partnership but TradeCard takes this one step further by moving the information about the goods along the supply chain through to automated document matching and financial settlement," said Danniel Woo of Zalton Enterprises Ltd. "Our collaboration makes absolute sense and will give our customers the perfect tool to take their global procurement to a new level."

About TradeCard, Inc.

TradeCard is a financial supply chain service provider and manages trade transactions from procurement through to settlement. The TradeCard solution aligns the documentary and financial requirements of a domestic or international trade transaction with the physical movement of goods, eliminating time-consuming and error-prone manual processes. By streamlining and enhancing the steps necessary for purchase order approvals, payment decisions and settlement, TradeCard provides a cost-effective, practical and patented service for financial supply chain management.

TradeCard can send and receive trade information and documents to and from any country in the world. Our money movement capabilities allow us to move money to any country that has a modern banking system. Our network of financial institution partners allows us to facilitate services such as payment assurance, cargo insurance and trade finance in dozens of countries.

TradeCard, Inc. is headquartered in New York City with offices in the San Francisco Bay Area, Hong Kong, Taipei, Seoul and Tokyo.

TradeCard is a registered trademark in the United States and elsewhere throughout the world. TradeCard can be found on the World Wide Web at http://www.tradecard.com.

About Zalton

Zalton Enterprises Ltd, founded in 1992 in Hong Kong, is a leading supplier of thermal transfer tags, printing equipment and labeling systems for all commercial and industrial sectors. In addition to providing leading edge printing equipment and a wide assortment of labels, Zalton also provides customers with high performance data capturing solutions, in particular focusing on Barcode Technology through mobile computing and EDI applications for logistics management and control. Zalton has branch offices in China and services customers in countries including Indonesia, India, Sri Lanka, South Korea, the Philippines and Singapore. Zalton's customers are in various industries such as government, hospitals, logistic companies, retailers, wholesalers and manufacturers and customers include GAP, JC Penney, Brooks Brothers and Target. Zalton can be found on the World Wide Web at www.zalton.com.

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Agrex to Resell Axeda DRM for Remote Monitoring and Service of Intelligent Devices

Offers System Integration Solutions for Device Relationship Management In Multiple Japanese Markets

Mansfield, MA  March 24, 2003  Axeda Systems Inc., the world's leading provider of device relationship management (DRM) enterprise software and services, announced today that Agrex Inc., one of Japan's major information technology (IT) system solution providers, has entered into a reseller agreement to offer the Axeda DRM system as part of their comprehensive solutions offering. Agrex will sell and support the Axeda DRM System and provide related implementation, system integration, and service offerings to their customers in multiple Japanese markets including high technology equipment, medical instruments, and industrial machines.

"While device relationship management is a new market segment in Japan, major equipment manufacturers already understand that it will fundamentally change how customer service is delivered in the future," said Mr. Yasushi Kudo, chief executive director of Agrex Inc. "Agrex recognizes that Internet-based remote service and management will become a competitive requirement for leading companies, and we see this as a key initiative to expand our business opportunity. We believe Axeda DRM is the best solution on the market today and, as part of our solutions portfolio, it will enable our customers to maximize equipment uptime, and improve customer satisfaction, operational efficiency and cost management."

"Agrex is an ideal partner for Axeda and we are already working successfully together to address the systems integration needs of our major customers," said Mr. Koichi Terasawa, president of Axeda Systems KK, Tokyo, Japan. "They have extensive expertise in offering information technology and enterprise solutions to major OEMs, and they bring the critical resources needed to fulfill the growing demand for Device Relationship Management solutions in Japan."

Agrex offers a wide variety of enterprise software products and service solutions covering areas such as customer relationship management (CRM), supply chain management, automation systems, and enterprise resource planning (ERP). Agrex has formed a dedicated team of sales and service professionals that will work with Axeda Systems KK to expand the market for Device Relationship Management in Japan.

The Axeda DRM system is a distributed enterprise software solution that lets service organizations proactively monitor, manage, and service intelligent devices deployed at remote customer sites anywhere in the world, cost effectively and in real time. The system leverages patent-pending Firewall-Friendly technology to ensure the secure transmission of instrument data via the Internet from remote instruments to service representatives, alerting them if a device is operating outside preset performance standards.

Axeda DRM helps minimize support calls and time on the phone, reduces the number of costly, unscheduled or unnecessary service visits, and increases device uptime to further enhance customer productivity and satisfaction. The system also enables new, high-value managed-service offerings such as automated consumable replenishment, system upgrades and pay-for-use billing programs. Ultimately, Axeda DRM enables full-lifecycle product and customer feedback that can be used to benefit multiple parts of the business including product development, marketing, sales, operations, and manufacturing. Users gain competitive advantage by increasing their operating efficiency and profitability while simultaneously increasing customer satisfaction and retention.

Please contact Axeda at info@axeda.com or call +1-508-337-9200 in the USA or + 81-3-5652-9891 in Japan. Visit www.axeda.com for more information.

About Agrex Inc.

Agrex Inc. (JASDAQ: 4799), is a leading provider of system integration services and system solutions in Japan. The company, incorporated in 1965, is headquartered in Shinjuku, Tokyo, Japan, with branch offices covering all of Japan in major cities such as Fuchu, Amagasaki, Sapporo, Osaka, and Tama. Agrex has 1,100 employees with annual sales of approximately US$ 132 million in FY2001. For more information, please visit www.agrex.co.jp or email sol-sales@agrex.co.jp.

About Axeda

Axeda Systems Inc. (NASDAQ:XEDA) is the world's leading provider of device relationship management (DRM) enterprise software and services. Axeda helps businesses become more competitive by using the Internet to extract real-time information hidden in their intelligent devices. The company's flagship product, the Axeda Device Relationship Management System, is a distributed software solution that lets businesses remotely monitor, manage and service intelligent devices, deployed around the world, allowing them to optimize their service, development, sales and manufacturing operations. Axeda customers are Global 2000 companies in many markets including Medical Instrument, Enterprise Technology, Printer and Copier, Industrial and Building Automation Equipment. Axeda has sales and service offices in the US, Europe and Japan, and distribution partners worldwide. More information about Axeda is available at www.axeda.com.

About Device Relationship Management

Today's "intelligent" devices - such as medical instruments, computers and storage systems, printers and copiers, energy systems, building control units, and industrial equipment - are an important new source of business information. Device relationship management (DRM) systems allow companies to tap into valuable device performance and usage information any time, anywhere. Pioneered by Axeda, DRM technology provides a distributed information management system that leverages the Internet to allow timely, accurate and unbiased information to be communicated directly and automatically between remotely deployed intelligent devices and service personnel or enterprise business systems. DRM helps turn reactive businesses into proactive businesses operating with increased efficiency at lower costs and generating new sources of revenue, with an ROI that is often measured in months.

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Sybase Teams with Distributor Resource Management to Boost Analytical Capabilities for Foodservice Supply Chain

Sybase Industry Warehouse Studio provides Distributor Resource Management (DRM) with the analytical foundation to help its clients identify purchasing trends, track and analyze earned-income data

Dublin, CA  March 24, 2003  Sybase Inc., a leading enterprise integration company, today announced that Sybase Industry Warehouse Studio (IWS) will act as the analytical infrastructure for TRACKMAX, Distributor Resource Management's premier earned-income tracking software for the foodservice industry. IWS is an enterprise analytic infrastructure that "jump-starts" the design, development and implementation of focused enterprise analytic applications. DRM's business analytical solutions provide a focal point for the integration and analysis of supply chain data from multiple points within its customers' organizations, allowing DRM customers to add directly to their bottom lines through better management of internal knowledge and data stores.

DRM, established in 1996, serves distributors and manufactures in the foodservice industry as well as vertical markets such as janitorial and paper supply companies. DRM's TRACKMAX solution focuses on increasing customer profitability by providing them with software specifically designed to manage complex buy or sell side contract pricing programs, track earned income programs (both buying group and local programs), and produce effective management reports with line item detail invoicing to trading partners.

Software solutions such as DRM's TRACKMAX, the food industry's first earned-income tracking system, act as a central location for its customers' corporate transaction data and converts existing data into business intelligence that yields significant competitive advantages.

With Sybase's Industry Warehouse Studio as its analytical foundation, DRM's TRACKMAX allows distributors to:

  • Properly report earned-income and prevent overstatement of quarterly and annual earnings

  • Strip inefficiencies from trading partner transactions, which significantly reduces the invoice-to-payment processing of earned income data

  • Gain insight into earned-income potential, yielding more accurate projections of revenue

  • See customers in new ways, to help increase revenues and profits with information stored in existing databases

  • Analyze historical information and trends

  • Provide trading partners insight into personalized earned-income data

  • Achieve a streamlined, automated reconciliation process

"The earned-income tracking process for foodservice distributors can be inefficient, frustrating and often inaccurate," said Tom Rawson, president and founder, Distributor Resource Management. "While our TRACKMAX solution provides our clients with an organized, streamlined earned-income tracking system to help them increase their bottom line, they require a wider enterprise view of their business. Incorporating Sybase's IWS analytical infrastructure, we can now integrate data from multiple sources to provide our clients enterprise data warehousing capabilities with point and click ease. The substantial success we've experienced with TRACKMAX, and our partnership with Sybase, will allow us to replicate the success we have had with our foodservice industry customers in other industries."

"We needed an automated, cost efficient and reliable system to automatically track rebates and growth monies without waiting for year-end reports, " said Donald D. Hindman, president and chief operating officer, Clark Foodservice, Inc., the Midwest's leading broadline foodservice distributor. "In the past, we had to rely on our suppliers to provide us with the data they based their payments on. Now, with the help of TRACKMAX, we own the necessary data and can provide the suppliers with the information they need to make their payments. We receive our money in a timelier fashion and have eliminated the use of time-consuming spreadsheets."

"We are pleased to support DRM in the development and execution of an application that is so clearly contributing to the bottom-line growth of its customers," said Roger Travis, vice president of worldwide sales for Sybase's Business Intelligence Division, "Sybase and DRM have provided the right tools for foodservice distributors to strip inefficiencies from the earned-income tracking process, solve problems and at the end of the day, make more money."

Sybase teams with industry-leading solution providers and developers to bring innovative technologies to market to help customers transform their data into economic value by improving the speed, flow and quality of data within an enterprise. To learn more about partnering with Sybase, please visit http://www.sybase.com/partner.

About Sybase, Inc.

Sybase pioneers software that integrates platforms, databases and applications. Sybase solutions create Information Liquidity - transforming data into economic value. With Sybase, companies can attain maximum value from their data assets by getting the right information to the right people at the right time. To learn more about Sybase, visit www.sybase.com.

About Distributor Resource Management (DRM)

DRM is the distribution industries leading provider of Earned Income Tracking software and solutions. DRM's mission it to provide its customers with the business intelligence infrastructure necessary to improve their ability to make crucial decisions. Its data warehousing, integration and earned-income tracking technologies can improve the Speed, Flow and Quality of its customers' data. DRM's solutions are modular and are designed to relieve some of the increasing pressure on IT budgets.

For more information about Distributor Resource Management and TRACKMAX, please visit http://www.trackmax.com/welcome.cfm or call 239-540-9200.

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