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Global Inventory Collboration With The Next Generation WMS: SmartTurn Inventory Grid

Posted: June 24, 2008 by Ly Phan

Global Inventory Collboration With The Next Generation WMS: SmartTurn Inventory Grid

SmartTurn Inc. has announced the SmartTurn Inventory Grid™, the first on-demand or SaaS (Software-as-a-Service), global inventory collaboration platform for medium to larger enterprises, at eyefortransport's Annual 3PL Summit and Outsourced Logistics Conference held in Atlanta this week

The platform includes enterprise-class capabilities at an incredible starting price of $500 per month per warehouse with unlimited users and includes components unique to multi-warehouse supply chains, enabling SmartTurn customers to build agile networks through joint logistics planning based on real-time visibility. Capabilities like permission-based inventory visibility, adaptive fulfillment, exceptions management, multiwarehouse inventory planning, and distribution are especially well suited for companies and their 3PL providers who need to support supplier managed inventory or pull-based customer replenishment.

The SmartTurn Inventory Grid™ is a unique approach to the fundamental problem of extracting and sharing information about inventory in any supply chain, particularly around federated, smaller, insular warehouses often managed with legacy home-grown systems or paper—the “dark spot” that becomes the Achilles Heel of most supply chain innovations. In most cases, the upfront costs of traditional, on-premise solutions are inhibitive for these inventory locations or require error-prone duplicate data entry through multiple systems.

Uniquely delivered in a SaaS model with unlimited users, across geographic or corporate boundaries, the SmartTurn Inventory Grid allows warehouses to instantly integrate at the data and process level by simply adjusting security and permission configurations, in a similar manner to popular social networking sites like LinkedIn or Facebook. This approach completely changes the value curve of technologies available to help companies where previously, it has been a challenge for companies to adequately integrate the information flows within their own organizations, not to mention those of their loosely federated trading communities. Customers can use the SmartTurn Inventory Grid to enhance their unique capabilities without having to build custom inventory management solutions that are costly to develop and manage. With SmartTurn, all support, maintenance upgrades are included in the service.

One SmartTurn customer, Verical, selected the SmartTurn Inventory Grid to quickly integrate its customers and normalize business processes across diverse and ever-changing supply chains. Verical is a supply chain risk management software and services company that enables companies in the electronics industry to mitigate their inventory risk. By enriching customers' supply chain data and presenting it to them through the Verical online marketplace, Verical enables its customers to avoid steep write-downs on surpluses and missed sales from shortages, and to protect them from the threat of counterfeit components.

“The SmartTurn Inventory Grid will allow us to create what the industry has never offered: an industrial marketplace with real-time, accurate inventory down to the physical warehouse level” said Joe Ruef, CEO and Co-Founder Verical, “This goes beyond just a way to access software at a lower price point—the impact of multiple companies using the same set of software and data has just created a leap of value for all our customers, not just the largest ones.”

The SmartTurn Inventory Grid allows SmartTurn customers to extend their supply chain reach and ability to collaborate with customers and trading partners at the most fundamental and impactful inventory state—the physical location. Unlike traditional middle-ware add-on systems that require static, unique and customized integrations, the SmartTurn Inventory Grid is synonymous with a telephone dial-tone.

“SaaS is not simply interacting with an application over the Internet. In fact, taking a design approach guided by the principals of Service Oriented Architecture (SOA), applications as we know them today will be unbundled into services, accessible to virtually anyone inside or out of the enterprise. This isn't some future vision. It is happening now and SaaS providers are leading the way in providing demand-driven information and transaction processing for the supply chain,” John Fontanella, Vice President Research, Supply Chain Management Review.

To protect their existing investments or to ease migration to Web 2.0, larger enterprises can augment their existing B2B or B2C systems with the SmartTurn Inventory Grid to rapidly design and implement supply chain innovations that target a new market or to reduce costs.

Based on the leading on-demand SmartTurn Inventory and Warehouse Management System™, designed for small to medium-sized warehouses, the global inventory collaboration platform extracts definitive and real-world inventory location, status and flow in real-time, providing a level of visibility within and across warehouses never seen before except in the most expensive, custom and complex supply chain systems.

“We knew we wanted an existing solution that was already in the market place, we didn't want to build something from scratch. Given the IT resources we had on hand and the technology that is available today, I felt that SaaS was definitely the way to go,” said Rick Brown, Owner, R.W. Sox Logistics, LLC, “Having SmartTurn's web-based WMS is a tremendous selling tool for 3PLs. We fully expect to win more customers based on the positive feedback we have been receiving from our current customers.”

In an authentic SaaS application model that has been around for over 10 years, all customers share a single instance of the solution, and therefore, the need for physical point to point integration between warehouses becomes unnecessary except when integrating legacy systems. This unique ability creates a rapid deployment and adaptive supply chain for future pull or market-driven innovations like mass customization, or dynamic sourcing.

“We actually purchased Fishbowl Inventory and another WMS product and neither solution was able to fulfill our custom requirements; only SmartTurn was able to accomplish this for us and did so in a very efficient and uncomplicated manner,” said Corey Holland, Director of The Technology Division, Security With Advanced Technology (NASDAQ: SWAT).

Traditionally a choke point of traditional on-premise software solutions from vendors like Manhattan Associates, Inc.® (MANH), SAP WMS (NYSE: SAP), or Fishbowl Inventory™, SmartTurn Inventory Grid customers can continue, if necessary, to use their legacy on-premise WMS or inventory control systems, needing only to connect once through standard web services, after which these and every additional SmartTurn WMS in the network is instantly connected. And, because the system is built around the physical integration of real warehouse and inventory activities, the resulting visibility created is closest to reality and not an abstracted layer typical of traditional non-SaaS systems.

“For the first time, organizations can uncover the dark spots in their supply chain at a cost and efficiency value curve that allows for rapid change and adaptability to changing market pressures, ” said Jim Burleigh, CEO of SmartTurn, “Our customers can now afford to implement dynamic systems that support program-based or short-lived supply chains, without incurring the usual high expenses or latency in deployment.”

And, because the SmartTurn solutions are designed with the smaller and more nimble warehouse in mind, the SmartTurn Inventory Grid allows bigger organizations to add the platform to their existing system quickly without long drawn out consulting or implementation cycles. Typical deployments that include planning, configuration, and training range from a few days to weeks in comparison to 3-12 months for on-premise systems. SmartTurn customers can rapidly deploy a pre-integrated WMS anywhere in their supply chain, or if necessary when working with a supplier or trading partner with an existing system, SmartTurn Inventory Grid customers can also configure the system to accept electronically (SOAP, EDI, ebXML, flat files, etc.), or manual input from their trading partners or customers. And, because the SmartTurn Inventory Grid includes an allocation of WMS implementations, tiered by the customer's supply chain network they can also assign a full WMS for their partner, personalized for their own use with their own security and visibility permissions. In this way, the challenge suppliers face of having to use multiple systems for each of their customers is removed as they only have to implement the SmartTurn system once to be integrated to all their own customers.

In support of this revolutionary approach to virtual inventory, visibility is a term coined by SmartTurn called “WMS 2.0” as a broader definition of the next generation WMS that truly supports adaptive supply chains and leverages Web 2.0 Internet technologies. SmartTurn has also adopted industry open standards to ensure customers are not forced to adopt any proprietary formats for managing their inventories.

“We believe that the SmartTurn Inventory Grid is viral in nature. Because of its unlimited user license model per installed warehouse, and simplicity in enabling internet-driven, pull supply chains, 3PLs, and their customers have a transformational way to collaborate and innovate. This is supply chain SOA for the masses,” said Richard Yim, SmartTurn's Vice President of Products and Marketing.


About SmartTurn

SmartTurn™ Inventory and Warehouse Management System and the SmartTurn Inventory Grid™ are the first true on-demand warehouse management systems to provide enterprise-class functionality at a fraction of the cost of traditional license and install the software. Designed for quick implementation, ease-of-use, real-time inventory accuracy, and warehouses performance, the SmartTurn system provides visibility on every item across single or multiple warehouses. Founded on the premise that software should be smart, simple and safe, SmartTurn”s customers span the value chain of most industries to include manufacturers, wholesalers as well as 3PLs. SmartTurn is privately held and backed by leading investors, NEA and Emergence Capital Partners.

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