McVey - May 4, 2000
Industri-Matematik, the $75 million vendor of advanced order management,
CRM, and warehouse management applications recently announced the sale
of its e-fulfillment solution to CoShopper.com, a reverse auctioneer with
operations in Norway and Singapore.
entered the Asian market by acquiring BuyItTogether.com, a reverse auction
site in the vein of U.S.-based Mercata. Reverse auction sites like CoShopper,
which link product price to demand in a sort of real-time volume discount,
offer an attractive alternative to online superstores and traditional
auction sites for certain goods.
has licensed IMI's eFulfillment applications to help it manage the distribution
and delivery of items to successful bidders in a rapidly expanding geographic
area that will include eight additional European countries before August
2000 and another seven countries by year end.
Though CoShopper.com is a relatively small contender amid the multitude
of online auction houses, the deal has the potential to make or break
Stockholm-based IMI's ability to sell in Asia. All evidence suggests that
IMI has taken the proper steps to ensure a successful experience at CoShopper.
IMI will deliver its advanced order management application, the most mature
of its products, in release since 1997. The stability of the product coupled
with IMI's extensive implementation experience greatly improves its chances
for a smooth conversion at CoShopper, an event that could be critical
for earning the confidence of other Asian firms.
the move aligns well with IMI's stated goal of penetrating into Asian
markets to bolster its revenues, which fell by nearly ten percent from
1998 to 1999. IMI derives 97% of its revenues from clients in Europe and
North America, with the remainder from Australia.
opportunity for IMI to demonstrate proficiency in enabling global distribution
provides another strong incentive for the company to succeed, as this
will place it on a par with competitors such as Canada-based, Descartes
Systems Group, who derives 80% of its revenues from e-commerce-related
businesses. Global logistics is becoming a hot area for software companies,
and both supply chain management mainstays and startup companies are launching
applications to address this space. i2 Technologies plans to add global
logistics features to its FreightMatrix technology and a new firm, Global
Logistics International, focuses entirely on software providing these
spite of the potential for the deal, success in Singapore may be easier
to achieve that in other parts of Asia. The Singaporean government has
passed legislation to foster growth of the Internet economy, though some
barriers to entrepreneurs still exist, including restrictions on land
use and building controls. Singapore's somewhat atypically high level
of Internet adoption limits its value as a proving ground for IMI in Asia,
but still offers a foothold opportunity. Countries like China (without
Hong Kong) and even Japan will prove more challenging, although each has
strong potential for B2C due to their high populations.
Users who sell products to consumers over the Internet, such as auction
sites or e-tailers, should review their ability to deliver products to
customers in a timely manner and maintain updated online product inventories.
IMI and other supply chain management companies offer applications that
can provide visibility to product inventories and plan distribution and
delivery to consumers as well as support online order querying. Users
should be cautious in selecting a partner to ensure that its back-end
fulfillment applications can be integrated successfully with their Internet
store fronts. Many vendors, including IMI, have only recently assumed
roles as "e-business enablers."
trains and certifies third party consulting firms in the U.S. and Europe
(e.g., Cap Gemini and Andersen Consulting) and maintains a customer support
center in Australia, but does not have an appreciable service and support
network in Asia, an issue that may present a problem for some businesses
in the region.
does support double-byte characters in its AOM product, but has not yet
extended this functionality to its WMS and CRM applications. The company
is working to homogenize the multi-language capabilities of its suite
and is also adopting the Unicode standard for code internationalization.
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