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Supply Chain Innovator Integrates Facebook-ish Service to Portfolio PDF Print E-mail
Written by Rob Guerriere   
Sep 23, 2009 at 07:26 PM

RollStream GXS Community ManagementGXS, the 151st most innovative technology business according to InformationWeek, has partnered with a new start-up company, RollStream, who is fast becoming the Facebook of the B2B supply chain information world. Remember webMethods? Well, RollStream was founded by the same guy, Phillip Merrick, and his partner Nick Parnaby.

So how is it possible that a social networking site can increase productivity and cut costs from the supply chain?

Well, it's not social networking like Facebook, it's ‘Community Management'.

"Community management continues to be a challenge for enterprises and is often a cost center versus a source of savings or profit," said Bobby Patrick, senior vice president and chief marketing officer at GXS. "With RollStream, customers will be relieved of much of the day-to-day burden of community management by enabling their trading partners themselves to maintain their data in a centralized fashion. Furthermore, the service provides on-going community support, ensuring exceptional performance and compliance with current and future trading partner requirements."

Everyone shares the personal experience of trying to manage and find the right contact information, which might not be up-to-date. It's time consuming, the CRM system has one contact, MS Outlook has another, LinkedIn has the contact in another country, and based on searching emails, hand written notes from phone calls, and possibly fax transactions, you might have to do some detective work in order to get the most up-to-date information. Now imagine having thousands of employees and suppliers and other trading partner companies, it becomes a time consuming task of almost every employee to manage and update contact and communication data. And when you are talking about mission critical tasks and transactions in the supply chain, a single breakdown of outdated information can result in lost revenue.

So why not outsource the updating of contact information to the individual who is the contact? They would know best and have a vested interest in keeping the information updated. But isn't that what business professionals are using LinkedIn for? Perhaps.

Rollstream has the LinkedIn attributes but takes it three layers further. Clients are able to group, manage and sort contacts, broadcast task managed projects, share performance and demand information, promotions, which leads to optimized collaboration and gives one synchronized server level view of ‘the truth'. In addition, with use of the dashboard view and reporting tools, the system offers a central location which employees can manage multiple communications with the trading partner.

RollStream GXS Community Management

GXS has integrated the Rollstream service into the Trading Grid. You can imagine the combination of real time business intelligence data based on EDI/XML transactions, coupled with the RollStream community management service is a powerful tool for buyers, the warehouse, accounting, supply chain directors, and chief executive officers. Today it is a competitive advantage for clients like UK's Tesco, but I can see the combination becoming a business requirement within two years.

According to Rollstream, customers who have already implemented RollStream Onboarding have cut their vendor registration lead-times by 60 percent and averaged $1.5 million in net new annual revenue growth by accelerating the time to bring suppliers and their products to market. Owens & Minor, a FORTUNE 500 healthcare supply-chain management company that is the leading distributor of national name-brand medical and surgical supplies, improved its contact data accuracy by 98 percent through RollStream's Onboarding technology. The company was also able to align with multiple functional contacts per supplier, allowing it to reach targeted business audiences within seconds.

"To fuel continued growth, our company is managing an ever increasing number of strategic supplier and customer development programs. In vendor onboarding programs alone, RollStream has reduced our ramp-up time from weeks to days, and in some cases, to mere hours," said Gavin Jeffs, Vice President, Owens & Minor Supplier Relations.

Expect to see the company Rollstream in the news a lot more over the next year. The value makes a lot of sense to big companies managing a large trading partner base. This summer one of the biggest players in grocery singed up, Ahold USA, (which means all of Ahold USA suppliers just joined as well). Rollstream has already conquered the drug distribution business, with clients like McKesson, Owens & Minor, and Walgreens.

All this growth leads to another challenge for RollStream; finding top talent to continue growing. And, yes, they are hiring.



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Last Updated ( Sep 23, 2009 at 07:59 PM )

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