New Retail Solutions from IMI, Manhattan Associates

Plus: trade facilitation Web service from NextLinx, SME travel exchange from Rosenbluth

Tempe, AZ  June 26, 2002  New product announcements and upgrades this week from a quartet of providers, including retail-focused solutions from IMI Americas and Manhattan Associates, as well as new offerings from trade services provider NextLinx and a travel exchange for small and midsize enterprises from Rosenbluth International.

Retail Industry Supply Chain Solution

Mt. Laurel, N.J.-based IMI Americas this week rolled out its supply chain solution for the retail industry. IMI Retail is intended to help retailers drive out excess inventory costs by eliminating supply chain inefficiencies and increase product availability on the store shelf by centering replenishment processes around actual customer demand.

IMI said its Retail solution addresses the specific needs of grocery, hard goods, drug and convenience stores, many of which face customer satisfaction challenges resulting from poor ordering and out-of-stock items. The solution provides retailers with replenishment capabilities that focus on eliminating stock-outs all the way to the store shelf.

The IMI Retail suite includes several components, including:

·        IMI Store, which leverages retail sales forecasts and point-of-sale data to generate recommended replenishment orders based on local conditions that are matched with product available from warehouses;

·        IMI Replenishment, which utilizes the forecasting information from store replenishment processes and shares it with warehouse replenishment process, as well as with manufacturers and suppliers so the entire retail value chain is working from the same, sales forecast and inventory data to meet consumer demand;

·        IMI Order, which enables retailers to capture and process orders in high-volume environments and manage orders from multiple channels and disparate sources, such as wholesalers, Internet merchants and independent retailers; and,

·        IMI Warehouse, which enables companies to provide value-added distribution services and deliver product on time by automating warehouse processes to enable fast distribution and flow-through operations.

Price Chopper Supermarkets, a major grocery chain in the northeast United States, has completed an initial pilot and has moved into the implementation phase of its IMI Retail software to manage store replenishment for more than 100 supermarkets.

Supply Chain Execution for Retail

Atlanta-headquartered Manhattan Associates took the wraps off the latest version of its supply chain execution system, which the provider says includes functionality enhancements that increase visibility and control of inventory throughout the supply chain.

Manhattan said that, with the release of PkMS 2002R1, organizations that rely on the solution to manage their distribution centers (DCs) will have greater control of activities both within and beyond the four walls, and can improve collaboration with their partners and customers through tighter integration with complementary enterprise applications including transportation and enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems.

Major enhancements include an enhanced yard management system, allowing distribution centers to expand inventory tracking beyond the four walls of the distribution center; improved lot management functionality, providing greater flexibility in defining and tracking inventory based on lot expiration date, which is primarily critical for the food and healthcare industries; dynamic routing, enabling dynamic determination of routing instructions from the supplier to the retailer's transportation optimization systems and the ability to make updates, real-time, when those instructions change; and enhanced streamlining of system's usability, including receiving, putaway and user interface enhancements.

Functionality that will be particularly beneficial to retailers includes rules based route determination, stock keeping unit renumbering, and enhanced receiving and putaway, including rules based functionality to sort product upon receipt for efficient putaway within the DC.

This version is now available for users operating on iSeries platforms. Manhattan says that a version for distributed architectures on UNIX or Windows platforms will be available later this summer.

Trade Facilitation Web Service

NextLinx Corp., of Rockville, Md., has launched a new Web service that the provider said is the first automated solution that simplifies and accelerates the preparation and filing of all documents, licenses and permits required for international shipping.

NextLinx said its Trade Documents incorporates all business rules associated with each document at the time of document selection and provides user features controls such as edit/preview capabilities, supports customer-specific logos and protects final document modes.

In addition, the provider said its product provides sophisticated error-handling capabilities, supports multiple languages and provides access to a growing number of international trade documents expected to reach 2000 templates by the end of 2002. The current documents include over 500 commercial documents in 10 different languages.

The electronic generation of all documents allows organizations to maintain full regulatory compliance with the most up-to-date trade rules and regulations and ensures customs clearance at port of departure and port of entry, the solution provider contends. The solution comes with standard adapters for major ERP systems and can be integrated into existing legacy systems.

Atlanta, Ga.-based Cendian Corporation, a lead logistics provider focused exclusively on the chemical and plastics industries, is currently using Trade Documents.

Travel Exchange for SMEs

Philadelphia-based travel management company Rosenbluth International announced this week that it has set up a Web-based B2B marketplace intended to provide the $66 billion small to midsize enterprise (SMEs) market access to travel suppliers worldwide.

According to Rosenbluth, 13 million SMEs in the United States comprise 60 percent of the total annual corporate travel spend in the country, yet they are also expected to pay full airfares while their larger competitors frequently enjoy substantial discounts. While more programs are being developed to maximize small company travel programs, negotiating discounted airfares with the airlines has, up until today, been virtually impossible, the firm says.

On the new Rosenbluth Exchange, SMEs can record their travel policy information, upload historical travel data and provide targeted discount areas. Suppliers can then bid for the companies' business. Negotiations take place online until a deal is accepted, and a partnership is formed between the buyer and supplier.


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