The Software Corner

Apr 26, 2006 10:57 PM  By

This is the first in a quarterly series by industry veteran Ernie Schell highlighting developments and trends within the order management and fulfillment software field.

Ecometry Expands “On Demand” Options
Ecometry Corp., a leading supplier of software for multichannel commerce, has expanded its partnership with Acquity Group to offer Ecometry’s order management and warehouse management functionality via Acquity’s Commerce OnDemand solution for multichannel merchants.

Ecometry already offered a hosted, browser interface with its Blue Martini e-commerce platform. Because Acquity used Blue Martini for the “guts” of its own on-demand Ecommerce offerings, the acquisition of Acquity was a logical extension, particularly since they specialize in streamlining and optimizing commerce solutions in an on-demand environment.

Acquity’s resources can now be applied to integrating a comprehensive suite of on-demand applications for multichannel merchants, from full e-commerce management and contact center order management to inventory management, fulfillment, customer service, and customer database services.

OrderMotion Partners with Agile Network
OrderMotion, a provider of Web-based order- and fulfillment-management systems for multichannel merchants, has announced an automated shipping module that it says is four times more efficient than its current process of preparing a package for a courier. AgileExpress, developed in partnership with Agile-Network, is fully integrated with OrderMotion’s “software as a service” (SaaS) order management solution, providing merchants and their customers real-time shipping information. Eliminating the need for manual uploading and downloading of data, AgileExpress allows merchants to send packages via all national providers with a single scan of a wand.

Neeps, which operates 13 pet-supply Websites, has been using the module since the beginning of this year. It found that using AgileExpress dropped the average time to handle packages from 47 seconds per package to 10 seconds. OrderMotion calculates that at industry averages for salary and benefits for shipping personnel, this reduces the staffing costs of shipping from $0.28 per package to $0.06, a savings of nearly 80%.

Junction Solutions Rebrands Offerings
Earlier this year Microsoft consolidated its Axapta, Navision (parent of Axapta), Great Plains, and Solomon applications under a new umbrella called Microsoft Dynamics, a line of financial, customer relationship, and supply chain management solutions delivered through a network of channel partners providing specialized services. Eventually all these applications will be consolidated under the Dynamics name. For the moment, there is Dynamics AX, Dynamics GP, etc.

In the multichannel merchant world, Junction Solutions is the primary Microsoft value-added reseller (VAR). It has now rebranded its own offerings:

* JunctionMCR: the “enterprise backbone of its suite” including order management, customer service, Ecommerce, fulfillment, catalog/content management, and supply chain management

* JunctionIIS: a .NET-based retail management and point-of-sale (POS) application

* JunctionRQW: an integration of RetailQuadWare to offer business intelligence through a data warehouse and OLAP analysis for multichannel merchants.

Junction Solutions also services the food and beverage market. As such, it has acquired Mrs. Fields Famous Brands as a premier client, its first to simultaneously use its multichannel retail and food and beverages solutions. Mrs. Fields Gifts will use the multichannel retail solution to perform major operational processes, including order entry, customer service, fulfillment and inventory management, purchase orders, inventory receipts, and financials. Mrs. Fields will use the food and beverages solution to handle food-specific needs for its baked goods, including recipes, inventory control, and production processes, facilitating compliance with critical food safety requirements.

Sterling Commerce Dubbed “Visionary”
Columbus, OH-based Sterling Commerce has been positioned in the “visionary” quadrant of research firm Gartner’s “Warehouse Management Systems 2006 Magic Quadrant.” Such companies “must be anticipating user requirements across all areas of a business process platform strategy, WMS/TMS consolidation, and a chaos-tolerant supply chain.” A key element of Sterling’s solutions offerings is the Yantra Networked Warehouse Management Solution, which it acquired last year for $170 million. Yantra’s application suite provides distributed order management, supply collaboration, inventory synchronization, reverse logistics, and delivery and service scheduling.

Ernie Schell is director of Marketing Systems Analysis (www.schell.com/msa) and the manager of the Guide to Direct Commerce Systems and Services.