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1/18/2005
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Manugistics And Inovis Among The Vocal At Retail Trade Show

Announcements at the National Retail Federation show include customer wins, partnerships, and product enhancements.

Manugistics Group Inc. and Inovis Inc. were among the more vocal technology vendors at a conference hosted today by the National Retail Federation, a retail trade association. Announcements from those companies at the conference, held in New York City, include new partnerships, customer wins, and enhancements to retail-oriented product suites.

Manugistics and IBM are teaming to help retailers connect their point-of-sale and other systems to gain visibility into store-level transactions, says Jerry Blanford, senior account manager of retail sales at Manugistics. Disparate systems lack clean data and contribute to poor visibility, increasing the likelihood that retailers run out of stock on popular products and are left with excess inventory of slower-moving products. Manugistics hopes to help retailers develop end-to-end systems by combining its store-level forecasting and replenishment software with IBM's portals, integration, and data-synchronization technology.

Manugistics also announced at the conference that Limited Brands Inc. has selected its Web-based demand and supply-chain management software, including collaborative logistics management, for inbound and outbound planning, optimization, and execution. Limited Brands is deploying the software across its chains, which include Victoria's Secret, Bath and Body Works, Express, Limited Stores, The White Barn Candle Co., and Henri Bendel.

One long-standing Manugistics customer, Canadian Tire Corp. Ltd., which sells home goods, leisure products, and clothing, is using Manugistics' Web-based software for demand forecasting and replenishment . Canadian Tire is now able to synchronize and optimize its product demand and fulfillment needs nearly 26 weeks in advance, says Geoffrey Frodsham, VP of logistics at Canadian Tire. "The concept of visibility is enabled through the [Manugistics] forecasting tool," says Frodsham. "And we're using the visibility construct to make sure we're deploying capacity ahead of growth."

Inovis, in an attempt to further gain traction in the retail industry following its acquisition of QRS Corp., has upgraded its software to include expanded support for global standards and features for small and midsize businesses. Inovis Catalogue now offers GTIN-14 compliance for customers who wish to take advantage of expanded trade-item identification numbers that became available with the Uniform Code Council's 2005 Sunrise compliance initiative.

Retailers should comply if they're planning to deploy radio-frequency identification, says AMR Research analyst Scott Langdoc. "GTIN-14 is necessary for collaboration and [data] synchronization. As a retailer, if you're considering an RFID initiative, it will fail unless you're Sunrise and GTIN compliant," Langdoc says.

In addition, Inovis Catalogue now offers a flat-file upload tool, which allows companies using spreadsheets such as Excel to get important data directly from desktops using Inovis' Web-user interface. "In the past, smaller companies had to do this manually using the phone, fax, or E-mail, but now they can simply upload their flat files into Inovis and it will convert them into XML or another required format," says Melanie Ligons, director of product management and data synchronization applications at Inovis. "As a result, the companies are able to better manage their trading partners by keeping their information accurate and updated."

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