Winter Newsletter  |  2009
News & Announcements | Datalliance Update | Events
Welcome to the Winter 2009 edition of the Datalliance Newsletter

As this is our first newsletter since the end of 2008, I’d like to start off by recapping our results for last year. In general, 2008 was another very solid year for Datalliance. Substantial growth was realized in several key areas including overall customer base, customer locations and SKU’s managed. The Datalliance customer base grew by 32%, individual customer locations managed by Datalliance increased to 26,500, and total SKU’s managed by Datalliance increased to 10.2 million. Our new customers represent a broad range of industries and they are all leaders in their respective industries. The press release below provides more detailed information.

Mark your calendars for May 5-6, 2009 for the Datalliance User Forum to be held in Cincinnati. You should have recently received information on the event. The User Forum has grown every year and is a unique opportunity for you to meet the Datalliance staff and other companies that are using the Datalliance VMI service.

The Feature Article below is very timely for the challenging business environment that we are operating within. In this article about how to use recessionary times to improve company profitability, VMI is identified as a key initiative that companies should consider in recessionary times when markets are down. I encourage you to read the summary below and to link to the complete article. Along this same topic, on Thursday, March 18th at 2:00 EST, Datalliance is sponsoring a free webinar on how to use VMI as a strategic tool to strengthen customer/supplier relationships in today’s challenging business environment (see announcement under Industry Events below). Lora Cecere, Vice President, AMR Research will participate in the webinar along with executives from Hubbell Inc. and Graybar.

Also in this addition you will see numerous items dealing with new Datalliance customers, success that existing customers are having with their VMI programs, new Datalliance product release, and updates dealing with the Datalliance staff, Customer Care and Operations.

I encourage you to continue to provide us with input on topics for future editions of this newsletter. Please feel free to contact me at carl@datalliance.com with your ideas and suggestions. Please visit www.datalliance.com for more information on Vendor Managed Inventory and Datalliance.

Carl Hall
President, Datalliance


Feature Article

Recession Opportunities, Jonathan Byrnes, MIT Senior Lecturer

In this article about how to use recessionary times to improve company profitability, author Jonathan Byrnes – Senior Lecturer at MIT, author of a monthly column in Harvard Business School’s Working Knowledge e-newsletter, and a consultant to many large companies – identifies VMI as a key initiative that companies should consider in recessionary times when markets are down.

The article explains that recessionary times can create opportunities for suppliers and distributors to enhance profitability. "Today, customers and suppliers are desperate for improvements in their own profitability and cash flow. In these tough times, they will be unusually receptive to new ways of doing things. This creates a unique and valuable opportunity for managers to lock in high value-added relationships with the best partners.

Supply Chain partnerships can have a huge impact on customer and supplier profitability and cash flow. For your best customers, offering intercompany operations like Vendor Managed Inventory (VMI) can greatly increase their asset productivity on their handling of your products. At the same time, you can gain control of their order pattern, and through this process significantly lower your own cost of operations. The benefits of these operating partnerships are so strong that sales often increase by 30-40% even in highly-penetrated accounts."

The author on to say: "You will seldom have this strong an opportunity to drive permanent innovations upstream and downstream in your supply chain. If you act now, you will reap the rewards for years, and it is likely that most of your competitors will be paralyzed by their obsession with unfocused cost cutting."


News & Announcements

Timken Selects Datalliance Vendor Managed Inventory Service

Timken to use Datalliance VMI for industrial, heavy-duty, and automotive aftermarkets

Datalliance announced that Timken, a leading global manufacturer of highly engineered bearings, alloy steels, and related components and assemblies, has selected the Datalliance VMI service to support their expanding VMI program.

Tom Tecklenburg, Director – Global Automotive Aftermarket, explained changing industry factors that have put added pressure on Timken’s channel partner network. "Technology advances have fueled the pace of product change in our industry and accelerated the proliferation of aftermarket parts. As this dramatic increase in parts continues, we know that managing inventories and working cooperatively with our channel partners is even more critical. We need to take advantage of VMI and other systems to increase forecast accuracy and working capital turns. VMI is so important, because as it gives us the capability to proactively identify and satisfy end customer demand in this dynamic environment…"

Please click here to read the entire article.

Datalliance Recognizes Steady Growth in Vendor Managed Inventory for 2008

Customer base grew 32%

Individual customer locations increased to 26,500

Total SKU’s managed increased to 10.2 million

Datalliance announced 2008 fiscal growth statistics for its Datalliance VMI service. Substantial growth was realized in several key areas including overall customer base, customer locations and SKU’s managed. The Datalliance customer base grew by 32%, individual customer locations managed by Datalliance increased to 26,500 (36% increase), and total SKU’s managed by Datalliance increased to 10.2 million (14% increase).

Growth in the Datalliance VMI business was a combination of existing customers who are expanding their VMI programs to include additional distributor locations and new Datalliance customers. Some of our new customers in 2008 included industry leaders such as Affinia, Champion Labs, Lithonia Lighting, Maple Pictures, Ortronics, Siemon, Ward Manufacturing, and WIKA

Datalliance Appoints Andy Tate Director of Sales, Consumer Packaged Goods (CPG) & Retail

Addition of Tate part of Datalliance commitment to expand Datalliance Vendor Managed Inventory (VMI) efforts in CPG & Retail

Datalliance announced the addition of Andy Tate to the Datalliance sales & marketing organization. As Director of Sales, Consumer Packaged Goods & Retail, Tate will be responsible for growing the Datalliance VMI business in the CPG & Retail industry. In addition to being a leading provider of VMI services in a variety of industries, retailers currently working with Datalliance customers include organizations such as Best Buy, Blockbuster Video, Home Depot, Lowe's, Shoppers Drug Mart, Safeway and Sears…

Berk-Tek and Graybar Featured in Electrical Wholesaling Article on Benefits of Vendor Managed Inventory

VMI helping Graybar to be lowest-cost, highest-value channel partner to their manufacturers and customers

Berk-Tek increases sales through better product line visibility

Datalliance customer Berk-Tek, and one of Berk-Tek’s key distributors Graybar, were recently featured in Electrical Wholesaling magazine. The article, written by Executive Editor, Doug Chandler, discusses the evolution of VMI in the electrical industry and the benefits that both Berk-Tek and Graybar have received as a result of their Vendor Managed Inventory (VMI) relationship.

The results have been positive for all involved. Berk-Tek saw an immediate increase in sales through Graybar, which it attributes to fewer stock-outs and better visibility of its product line, as well as making it easier to conduct business with confidence. "At the same time that we were increasing sales, we also enhanced our market share within Graybar by increasing the number of active SKUs over 18 percent," says Paul Trunk, senior vice president of sales and marketing. "Inventory turns improved nearly 30 percent and stock-outs were reduced to an all-time low of 3.1 percent, which tells us that VMI is helping us run our business more effectively."

Please click here to read the entire article.

Hubbell Reduces Cost and Effort with Datalliance Vendor Managed Inventory (VMI) Service

Datalliance replaces Hubbell’s first-generation VMI system – providing latest technology at much lower cost

Hubbell distributors realize increased service levels, improved inventory turns, decreased stock-outs, increased sales and reduced transaction costs

Hubbell Incorporated, an international manufacturer of quality electrical and electronic products for a broad range of non-residential and residential construction, recently replaced their first generation VMI system with the Datalliance VMI service. The result has been reduced cost and effort while improving business results.

Though Hubbell was realizing value from their VMI program, the costs and effort to support and maintain the system were high. "We moved to Datalliance to take advantage of the latest technology and the Software as a Service (SaaS) approach," says John Riley, Manager of ePrograms. "It gave us all the benefits of our existing VMI program and more - but at a much lower cost. By taking the IT system and infrastructure costs out of the picture, we dramatically reduced the costs of running our VMI program."

Please click here to read the entire article.

Datalliance Delivers New Release of Vendor Managed Inventory and Retail POS Data Analysis Services

Datalliance VMI and Datalliance Sales Insight SaaS applications enhanced through input from growing user community

Datalliance announced immediate availability of the latest release of the company’s Datalliance VMI and Datalliance Sales Insight services. Both are delivered as managed services via the Internet using the ‘Software as a Service’ (SaaS) model. Enhancements are immediately available to all users and are based on input from the growing community of companies using each service.


Updates

Datalliance Operations/Data Center Update

Over the past several months, the Datalliance Operations Group completed two infrastructure upgrades and performed our yearly disaster recovery exercise to test our ability to ensure service continuity in the event of a critical system failure.

  • Infrastructure upgrades significantly improve performance and reliability
  • Migration to fiber Internet connection quadruples throughput speed
  • Disk expansion reduces backup time by 30%
  • Successful disaster recovery exercise completed within target time

Customer Care Update

Customer Care Implements "Emergency Redirect" Procedure

Cincinnati was recently inundated with a large, two-day snowstorm. Between the separate snows, there were 18 hours of sleet and freezing rain, making it difficult for all Customer Care team members to make it into the office. We maintained full support with all team members working online to handle customer questions and concerns.

In anticipation of other situations like this in the future, Customer Care has identified the need to continue to provide a live voice response to the toll free Customer Care line, through an Emergency Redirect plan. When this plan is activated, here is what will happen:

  • System users will be notified via email that Customer Care has activated Emergency Redirect.
    • Datalliance Customer Care has implemented the Emergency Redirect plan, and all calls to (888) 364-3361 will be forwarded to an operator. You can still access the Customer Care team via email at ccare@datalliance.com.
  • Calls to the toll free Customer Care line will be forwarded to a member of the Customer Care team.
  • The operator will take your information (name, number, issue or question) and forward it to the appropriate team member to address your issue. A member of the team will get back with you, either with an answer or to get further information to work on the problem.
  • During this time, you can still access all members of the Customer Care team via the ccare@datalliance.com email address.
  • System users will be notified by a second email that Customer Care has returned to normal operating status.

We want to ensure that the same high level of support from Customer Care that you have come to expect will continue through these localized, "mini-emergencies."

Customer Care Tip

Return and/or Redistribution of Excess Inventory

Customer Care has received an increasing number of inquiries related to functionality available within the Datalliance® system to recommend the return and/or redistribution of excess inventory due to economic challenges faced by distributors. Distributors are focused more than ever on reducing inventory levels and often call their suppliers for help in getting excess inventory off their shelves. Given a VMI relationship exists, it is logical that the system making replenishment decisions be called upon and utilized to make suggestions as to the return/redistribution of inventory. The Datalliance® system offers functionality that provides suggestions for both return and redistribution of inventory. This Customer Care tip will focus on returns exclusively and will not cover the redistribution functionality.

Please click here to read the complete update.


Events

User Forum

Mark Your Calendars for:

Datalliance User Forum 2009, May 5-6

Datalliance hosts an annual User Forum for both suppliers and their customers (e.g. distributors, retailers, OEMs, and product end users). Attendees share experiences through interactive panel and discussion sessions, gain insights from industry experts, and learn about new and planned capabilities of the Datalliance VMI service.

Please click here for more information.

Webinars

Free Webinar – Now is the Time to Strengthen Customer/Supplier Relationships – VMI is a Great Way to Do It, March 18, 2:00 PM EST

Lora Cecere
Vice President

AMRResearchLogo

John Riley
Manager of ePrograms

Hubbell

Rick Turner
National Inventory Manager

Graybar

Vendor Managed Inventory (VMI) – also known as Continuous Replenishment Planning (CRP) – is one of the most effective ways of strengthening customer/supplier relationships in a way that is difficult for competitors to displace. As a collaborative process, VMI aligns partners around common business objectives to increase sales and reduce costs for both parties.

On Wednesday, March 18th at 2:00 EST, Datalliance - the world's leading independent provider of VMI services - is sponsoring a free webinar on how to use VMI as a strategic tool to strengthen customer/supplier relationships in today’s challenging business environment. Attend this webinar to:

  • Hear AMR Research's Lora Cecere Discuss
    • How industry leaders take advantage of a down economy to distance themselves from the competition
    • How VMI removes the latency in demand sensing to improve an organization’s agility
  • Hear industry leaders Hubbell Inc. and Graybar describe:
    • The tactical and strategic benefits they’ve seen from VMI as supplier and distributor respectively
    • How the Software as a Service (SaaS) approach dramatically reduces the effort and cost to manage their VMI program

Please click here for more information and to register for the webinar.

Upcoming Customer Care Webinars

At Datalliance, we are committed to offering on-going support and education to our customers to help them do the best possible job in managing their customer’s inventory. With that in mind, we have a series of webinar sessions to raise awareness of Reporting and Performance Improvement.

  • Option-Based Metrics; March 18 - 2:00 pm
  • Performance Review; April 22 - 2:00 pm
  • Distributor Configuration; May 20 - 2:00 pm

Industry Events

Conferences and Trade Shows

Throughout the course of the year, Datalliance participates in a variety of industry conferences, seminars, and trade shows. Listed below is a schedule of events for the coming months. If you are planning on attending any of these events, be sure to look for Datalliance.

Mid-American Trucking Show
March 29-21, 2009
Louisville, KY
http://truckingshow.com/
 

GMA IS/LD Conference
April 5-8, 2009
Miami, FL
http://guest.cvent.com/EVENTS/Info/Summary.aspx?e=aa1526ee-d248-47dc-986b-3672d4d1783b
 

KBIS Kitchen/Bath Industry Show & Conference
May 1-3, 2009
Atlanta, GA
http://www.kbis.com/index/
 

IWD/Truck Pride Annual Membership Meeting
May 13-17, 2009
Tucson, AZ
http://www.truckpride.com/
 

©Copyright 2009 Datalliance
4380 Malsbary Road, Suite 250 | Cincinnati, Ohio 45242
888-364-3361

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