Provias ViaView Taken On Board By Spencer

June 19, 2002
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Grand Rapids — Provia Software, this community’s quietly growing order-to-delivery fulfillment software firm, has announced two new global steps.

The first, this summer, involved expanding its strategic alliance which takes Provia products — or rather which uses Provia products to manage the delivery of others’ product — all over South American.

Then last month the firm announced that that Spencer Gifts, one of North America's major specialty gift retailers, has signed an agreement to license Provia's ViaView supply chain execution collaboration suite.

ViaView provides its users alert and event management, visibility, decision support, and labor analysis.

Already a Provia client, Spencer Gifts has been using Provia's ViaWare WMS to manage fulfillment to the 700-plus stores served out of a 500,000 square foot distribution hub in Charlotte, NC.

The center supplies not only Spencer Gifts stores but also Spencer’s DAPY, GLOW! and Universal Studios outlets. The company’s outlets are found in the United Kingdom as well as Canada and the United States.

Spencer’s vice president for global supply chain logistics, Geoff Higginbotham, says his firm is adding ViaView to the company's logistics products in order to have a real-time global look at their supply chain.

Speaking from the firm’s New Jersey headquarters, Higginbotham said, "Wrapping ViaView around our current fulfillment execution products will give us both a 'now and later' view of our supply chain," Higginbotham said.

"The 'now' portion comes from the real-time view of fulfillment activity throughout our distribution environment,” he said.

Higginbotham said the 'later' portion is a compilation of all the firm’s transactions as time progresses.

“Being able to view our transaction history over an expanded period of time will give us the ability to identify trends, investigate problems, and increase efficiency. Overall, with ViaView we'll have a much more accurate and real-time picture of our complete distribution process.

"With ViaView, we'll have a real-time view of exactly what's occurring and the ability to adapt much more quickly as events warrant," continued Higginbotham.

He explained that  because Spencer deals with pop culture, new 'hot' or 'must-have' items are constantly changing.

“Accordingly, he said, the visibility Spencer has with ViaView will allow it to adapt more quickly to perpetual change and to react more quickly in the company’s distribution process.

“Over time,” he added, “information from this real-time view will develop into an accurate historical record of our supply chain transactional data. With this historical view, we'll be able to spot and react to trends sooner, increasing overall customer satisfaction."

Initially, staff at Spencer Gifts' DC level will use ViaView, with the long-term plan being to extendg ViaView access to the company's corporate office personnel, and ultimately to managers of all the chain’s stores.

"Initially, the visibility into current and historical data, as well as the subscription capabilities, will greatly increase the effectiveness of our customer service people, as they will be able to see everything in real-time," Higginbotham said.

"Long term, as we expand the visibility to our individual store managers, they can use ViaView to access the status of orders or inventory in real-time, 24 hours a day, and subscribe to shipments to be notified when rush orders are shipped and be able to track the shipment all the way to their store."

Provia’s CEO and president, Ken Lewis, informed the Business Journal that like Higgenbotham, many Provia clients are  are beginning see the full breadth of applications of data which ViaView can provide.

He termed the process as “adding fulfillment collaboration functionality to an existing fulfillment execution suite.”

Lewis says it creates a strong and complete logistics solution.

"After implementing an execution-based solution, the natural progression is to move to collaboration. This increases the ability of a company like Spencer Gifts to be more responsive to customers. We're excited to be able to offer this value."

Earlier this year Provia announced expanding its strategic alliance with Tecsys Latin.

With this new agreement, Provia said, Tecsys Latin America is now responsible for all marketing, sales, implementation and support for all of Latin America and the Caribbean.

Previously, Provia maintained an office in Santiago, Chile, to serve the southern cone of Latin America and as a base of support for the company's Chile-based customers, L'Oreal and Forus.

Lewis said that now operating as a single source of contact for all of Latin America will give Provia’s clients and prospects a higher level of awareness and consistency.

"With Tecsys Latin America as the single source for all of Latin America, our existing and future clients will have full service help desk, and language-specific support.

From a sales and implementation perspective, TLA's knowledge of technology, their already strong experience with Provia, combined with their trained personnel will enable Provia to grow its market share in Latin America and the Caribbean more quickly. We're excited to move forward with this agreement."

As part of the new agreement, Tecsys Latin America will use Provia's Chile operation as the base to expand its presence in the Southern Cone.

Currently, Tecsys Latin America licenses Provia Software to seven major companies in the region, including two of the regions largest 3PL operators — Almaviva in Colombia and Ceaclo in Venezuela.

Other customers include Ofixpres of the Carvajal Group in Colombia, one of the region’s fastest growing office supply distribution companies and Unicasa, a leading  supermarket chain in Venezuela with 27 supermarkets.

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