Supply Chain Shorts for the Week of February 25, 2013

Yet another of our weekly news round-ups from the world of supply chain. This week, we bring you some brief (and not so brief) news from SAP, TradeCard, Apriso, TECSYS, Epic Data, Waterloo Software, and Fishbowl Inventory. His Eminence, Pope Benedict XVI, may be going off duty to hide from the world, but we aren’t. The office is open, the phones are working, and the Wifi is running. We are ready to talk supply chain.

SAP announced this week the general availability of v9.0 of the SAP Transportation Management (SAP TM) application. This latest release, which follows release 8.0 from June 2011, provides some new functionality in the areas of ocean and new air freight management, transportation planning (manual and automated), cost distribution, and additional transportation management analytics and reports. The release contains, in particular, some functions specific for the freight forwarding industry, including added capabilities for airfreight order, capacity, cargo, and gateway management; comprehensive forwarding order and service product management; updates for ocean freight; manual and automated freight planning; and enhanced reporting capabilities. SAP TM is part of the portfolio of SAP solutions for supply chain management, which also includes SAP EWM and SAP Event Management. The offerings are integrated in a single platform but available as independent or interconnected solutions.

We caught up with TradeCard this week, and while the TradeCard team could obviously not talk much about the coming merger with GT Nexus, other than what has been publicly reported, TradeCard did highlight for us the geographical, functional, and industry vertical synergies that it expects to see. The merger with GT Nexus is an opportunity for TradeCard to explore, among other things, how its traction in the retail, apparel, and footwear industries translates to the range of verticals served by GT Nexus.

Manufacturing software vendor Apriso is reporting that “the year 2012 was the seventh consecutive year that Apriso grew total revenue.” Being a private company, Apriso does not provide revenue figures, but any way you look at it, this company has come a long way since it was founded as CIM Vision in 1987, having recently released v9.6 of its FlexNet solution.

TECSYS has announced its financial results for the 3Q2013. Among other things, what stands out to us in the company’s results is a reported 26% rise in “proprietary license revenue,” 14% year-to-date revenue growth, and some apparent traction for warehouse management in the small to medium business (SMB) segment.

Epic Data announced its 1Q2013 financial results this week. This manufacturing execution systems (MES) and warehouse management solutions (WMS) vendor reported revenues up nearly 35%, but a sizeable increase in net loss as well.  Most of the net loss reportedly stems from start-up costs associated with a joint venture with Huazhong University of Science & Technology in China, to supply a next-generation MES to Anhui Jianghuai Automobile Co. Ltd. (JAC Motors).

Waterloo Software has recently scored a win with PolyPeptide Group, expanding the use of Waterloo’s supply chain planning and scheduling TACTIC solution at PolyPeptide’s main facility in Torrance, CA, to a total of four worldwide manufacturing sites. You will find this Plex partner as a sponsor at Plex’s upcoming PowerPlex event in June (as good a reason as any to visit Columbus, OH).

We had an invitation to speak this week with inventory management vendor, Fishbowl Inventory. After hearing about this SMB vendor for some time, we thought it was time to find what this 10-year old firm is all about. This vendor focuses on the Intuit QuickBooks customer base. (If you are not a QuickBooks user, you can stop here.) Fishbowl Inventory offers two versions of its flagship inventory management: for manufacturing and for wholesale distribution. Intended as an inventory package that integrates easily to QuickBooks, for the SMB with from two users to up to as many as 200 users, Fishbowl is also finding some traction as a stand-alone asset tracking solution. Fishbowl has also apparently found such a steady business in training end users who may not have previous experience with inventory control, that as many as 40% of its 100-person workforce now supports its training offerings. The next release will contain some new multicurrency capability, and the vendor is watching QuickBooks Online closely as an opportunity to expand internationally. Our advice: ask how to become a Fishbowl VIP, for some special access to Fishbowl.
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