Microsoft Drives Value Chain Initiative With Leading Transportation and Logistics Solution Providers

CHICAGO, Sept. 30, 1996 — Today at RISCON ’96, Microsoft Corp. announced the formation of the Value Chain Initiative (VCI), an alliance of Microsoft® Solution Providers and other companies committed to developing integrated Windows NT® operating system-based solutions designed to redefine transportation logistics the length and breadth of the supply chain. The goal of the VCI is to create standard tool sets for collaborative communication and management decision support between members’ various warehouse, logistics, manufacturing and distribution systems to minimize time to customer.

The initiative, led by Microsoft, includes leading logistics and transportation solution providers, hardware manufacturers, The Logistics Institute at Georgia Tech, and several logistics and transportation experts. The initial 23 developers are Bridge Data, Caps Logistics Inc., Catalyst International Inc., Distribution Architects International Inc., EDI Able Inc., EDISYS Ltd., FASCOR, Fountain Integrated Systems Inc., GE Capital Logistics, GEIS, i2 Technologies, InterTrans Logistics Solutions Ltd., ITM Corp., MPACT Immedia Corp., Net Logistics Inc., Sterling Commerce, Strategic Technologies Inc., Supply Tech Inc., Trade Compass, Transportation Information Technologies LLC (TransIT), Trebley-Winter Sales Inc. and TSI International. Hardware manufacturers Compaq Computer Corp. and Digital Equipment Corp. are also early members of the initiative.

“Today’s competitive pressures require companies to extend the enterprise and strategically align with partners in the value chain,”
said Jim Morehouse, vice president of supply chain practice at at AT Kearney.
“Strategic sourcing and extended enterprise cooperation are becoming a competitive necessity. Companies must strive for breakthrough results, which fundamentally require new levels of collaboration such as the Microsoft Value Chain Initiative.”

The initiative comes as the transportation scenario – conveying raw materials to manufacturers, goods to distributors, products to retailers and purchases to customers – increasingly requires the exchange of real-time information to ensure a product’s timely arrival.

The Internet is changing the distribution and supply chain model for doing business,
“said Mark Walker, worldwide marketing manager for transportation, EDI and distribution at Microsoft.”
Rather than waiting days or even weeks to track valuable shipping information, retailers and manufacturers can now have immediate access to their supply chain information – from raw materials to consumers’ hands.

This isn
t simply about the streamlining of current logistics practices, but is a rethinking and re-engineering of many of the fundamental processes based on the combination of PC and Internet technologies, such as Microsoft ActiveX

said Graham Clark, group manager of retail and distribution industries at Microsoft.
ìVCI will create more efficiencies in the current supply chain and enable new supply chain models that facilitate the emerging electronic retailing market.”

By creating a continuous data stream through a linked series of logistics solutions, the VCI will offer manufacturers and retailers a way to manage their transportation and logistics resources more effectively. Minimizing total logistics costs while improving customer service in real time is a significant step toward a new era in more competitive and cost-effective shipping and distribution solutions.

The Microsoft Value Chain Initiative enhances i2’s Value Chain Planner solution by providing a unique opportunity for all participants in the supply chain to replace billions of dollars of trapped inventory with information and to significantly enhance performance for the end consumer,
said Sanjiv Sidhu, CEO, i2 Technologies.

Early VCI-compliant solutions such as WWShipment, from Net Logistics Inc., are currently in use, and others are scheduled to be available in early 1997. The VCI is continuing to grow and includes some of the most innovative transportation and logistics software developers in the industry. A VCI Standards Committee will meet monthly on the Internet to determine standard tool sets for collaborative communication and management decision. More information on joining the VCI is available at Microsoft’s Transportation/EDI/Distribution Web page – .

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (NASDAQ
) is the worldwide leader in software for personal computers. The company offers a wide range of products and services for business and personal use, each designed with the mission of making it easier and more enjoyable for people to take advantage of the full power of personal computing every day.

Microsoft, Windows NT and ActiveX are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Microsoft Corp. in the United States and/or other countries.

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