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9/8/2004
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Intuit Launches Software To Connect Distributors To Vendors, Customers

Eclipse Business Connect XML can help distributors reduce or eliminate fees associated with portals and value-added-network connections.

Intuit Inc. on Wednesday released Eclipse Business Connect XML, software designed to help wholesale distributors avoid paying high monthly portal and value-added-network fees to connect with customers and vendors. Connect XML, which resides on top of Intuit's Eclipse ERP software for distributors, uses XML technology to enable real-time electronic trading among partners through portals or marketplaces, or via direct connections that dispense with additional fees.

Van Meter Industrial, an industrial distributor, is one of the first Intuit customers to install and run Connect XML. Dave Cahill, VP of information technology at Van Meter, says Connect XML gives Van Meter and its customers the flexibility to transmit orders directly, bypassing value-added-network and portal fees, which the company used to pay when it used EDI. Using the technology helps Van Meter save time and reduce errors, Cahill says.

BC Bearing Engineers Ltd., a worldwide distributor of industrial products and services, recently deployed Connect XML as well. "The system-to-system connections will give us an advantage when it comes to acquiring price and availability information," says Mike Ashworth, VP of information services at BC Bearing Engineers. "Some manufacturers can even supply production information, which can be extremely helpful when dealing with orders that require long lead times."

Customers drove the development of the product, according to Intuit. "We call this customer-driven innovation," product manager Kevin Hartley says, "where the needs come from customers and we create a product based on their needs."

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