DES MOINES, Iowa GCommerce, with support from Microsoft Corp., recently unveiled a new market technology solution called the Virtual Inventory Cloud (VIC), which provides inventory visibility and efficiency for drop ship special orders between distributors/retailers and manufacturers/suppliers, and is designed to work with existing special order solutions and technologies within the automotive aftermarket.
GCommerce, a provider of B2B solutions for the automotive aftermarket that offers "Software as a Service" (SaaS), is using elements of cloud-based technologies to automate procurement and purchasing for national retailers, wholesalers, program groups and their suppliers.
“VIC enables hundreds of distributors and retailers in the automotive aftermarket to improve margins and increase customer loyalty through better visibility into parts availability from suppliers," said Rick Main, executive vice president, sales and marketing, GCommerce. "The solution opens the door to connect into capabilities that only the largest companies could afford through heavy IT investments. This is representative of a new transformative wave of business innovation that extends capabilities beyond the four walls of an enterprise, enabled through adoption of cloud platforms. The cloud will exponentially accelerate GCommerce’s ability to serve the automotive aftermarket market and others like it, and complements the existing technologies and solutions.”
According to GCommerce, the automotive aftermarket has had difficulty implementing a real-time inventory inquiry and procurement model for drop ship special orders. With thousands of commercial buyers, sellers and brands, the disparate procurement and fulfillment mechanisms and protocols that are either automated or manual are numerous. Data from GCommerce shows that the automotive aftermarket averages hundreds of millions of transactions traded between B2B partners per year. A large portion of the revenue dollars in this market is for replenishment orders, but the drop ship special orders account for more than 80 percent of the transaction volume and cost associated in the supply chain, the company says. VIC is designed to help reduce these costs, while driving up special order revenue and net profitability of the transactions. Key components of the drop ship order business include procurement, inventory management, fulfillment and speed of response and transaction.
“Customers are increasingly turning to cloud-based solutions for the innovation needed in their supply chains because the centralized access to processes and information is well-suited to the multi-enterprise nature of today’s supply chains,” said Dennis Gaughan, vice president, AMR Research.
Windows Azure and Microsoft SQL Azure enable VIC to be a more efficient trading system capable of handling tens of millions of transactions per month for automotive part suppliers. GCommerce’s VIC implementation with support from Microsoft allows suppliers to create a large-scale virtual data warehouse that reduces dependency on paper-based processes and leverages a technology-based automation system that empowers people. This platform has potential to transform distribution supply chain transactions and management across numerous industries.
“As today’s announcement demonstrates, Microsoft SQL Azure and Windows Azure enable mission-critical enterprise processes that deliver agile, cloud-based solutions for our partners,” said Rahul Auradkar, director of the Cloud Services Team in the Business Platforms Division at Microsoft. “The automotive aftermarket industry faces a large-scale, complex challenge in implementing business processes like the real-time inventory and procurement process for drop ship special orders. Microsoft SQL Azure and Windows Azure deliver the agility, efficiency and scalability that GCommerce needs to meet this challenge and transform the automotive aftermarket supply chain.”