What's in a Name for Supply Chain Vendors?

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What's in a Name for Supply Chain Vendors?
S. McVey - February 9th, 2000

Event Summary

Adexa/Paragon is the latest in a series of re-christenings to occur over the past year among niche supply chain management vendors.

As explained in its recent press release, "within the name Adexa are implications of 'adaptability' and 'dexterity'. Adexa's collaborative planning solution, iCollaboration, helps companies adapt their operations to the new rules of e-business while increasing the dexterity and responsiveness of their extended supply chains through improved communication and collaboration with customers and trading partners."

Of course, it also gains a certain alphabetical advantage in vendor directories and search engines. The rest of the new faces:

Provia Software: On July 12, 1999, warehouse management system (WMS) vendor Haushahn Systems and Engineers became Provia Software. According to the company, "the name Provia was chosen because of the word's combined Latin roots. The word Provenio means 'proven'. The word Via means 'a way'. The combination of the two reflect the notion of a proven way to success." Provia's VIAWARE suite of supply chain execution products includes warehousing, transportation and yard management solutions.

Intrepa: Formerly The Summit Group, Intrepa has a slightly more complicated origin. In 1998, The Summit Group merged with CIBER, Inc., a provider of management consulting and IT services. Two of the original Summit founders, now of Intrepa, purchased their product Logistics PRO back from CIBER in October 1999. Logistics PRO offers warehouse management and transportation management capabilities for the AS/400 with an NT version due out in the first half 2000.

Essentus International: On January 17 of this year, Richter Systems changed its name to Essentus, presumably to promote what it feels is the essential nature of its solutions in providing the backend fulfillment infrastructure for web-based retailers in the fashion industry. Essentus's supply chain execution products are targeted for softgoods manufacturers and distributors .

Market Impact

For Intrepa, Essentus, and Adexa, the name change is part of a initiative for positioning in the electronic fulfillment market. On the other hand, Provia has taken a more conservative stance, hoping the new name communicates its good track record of solution delivery to its 350 customers.

The basic theme underlying all the moves is the desire for differentiation in a crowded marketplace. There are at least ninety small and mid-sized supply chain execution (SCE) vendors vying for attention and competing for growth in the U.S. alone.

In addition to being shorter and easier to pronounce, the makeovers provide each vendor a chance to make a new start, though it is difficult to say whether more tangible changes will one day accompany the catchy names. Many of the smaller supply chain execution vendors will not find success independently and will ultimately choose to merge or drop out of this fragmented software market .

User Recommendations

For most of these events, users need only make note of the new names, update their bookmarks, and revise information in their supplier databases. Other than that, little else will change in the short term.

Whether the changes ultimately provide better market visibility, spark revenue growth, improve chances for a strong IPO, or drive changes within the vendor organizations is an question that will not be answered for at least 12 months.


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