May 7, 2003, 12:00 AM

Collaboration software provider Syncra Systems targets retailers in WWRE

In a move that increases its exposure among retailers as well as its traditional manufacturer customers, Syncra Systems Inc. will provide supply chain collaboration services to companies through the WorldWide Retail Exchange.

In a move that increases its exposure among retailers as well as its traditional manufacturer customers, Syncra Systems Inc. will provide supply chain collaboration services to companies through the WorldWide Retail Exchange, the Internet-based b2b service for retailers and their suppliers. “The WWRE will open us up to more retailers as customers,” Syncra CEO Jeff Stamen tells InternetRetailer.com.

For WWRE, the inclusion of Syncra will provide an alternative collaboration platform to the TradeMatrix system provided through WWRE by i2 Technologies Inc. WWRE’s retail members, which include J.C. Penney Co. Inc., Best Buy Co. Inc., Albertsons Inc. and Walgreen Co., decided to seek an alternative provider after i2 said several months ago it would limit its technical support for WWRE’s TradeMatrix collaboration application, says Nick Parnaby, global director of member development and marketing for WWRE.

Parnaby notes that WWRE is able to directly support TradeMatrix with its own copy of the software code, but that its retail members wanted the extra assurance of having another collaboration application available. Both the i2 and Syncra collaboration applications are installed and hosted by WWRE for members and any non-members who also wish to subscribe to them. Retailers and manufacturers use the applications to coordinate orders with changes in the levels of available supplies and current demand.

Stamen, who like other industry experts has criticized WWRE and other retail industry exchanges in the past for failing to offer effective services, says that WWRE has come a long way in the past year or so to focus on an effective strategy. “We feel the WWRE is the vehicle to extend collaboration for the retailer,” he says.

Stamen adds that a key difference in the way WWRE operates today, as opposed to the past, is that it lets manufacturers and retailers use its exchange to collaborate with other companies whether or not they’re members of the exchange and whether or not they keep their data behind their corporate firewall or place it on WWRE. “That’s a major breakthrough,” he says.

Syncra already provides its supply chain collaboration technology through Transora, the b2b exchange designed for manufacturers in the CPG industry. Although Transora focuses mostly on its web-based catalog that lets retailers integrate with product information provider by member manufacturers, it also provides collaboration services.

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