IBM and IBS Form Global Strategic Alliance to Support Supply Chain Management Integration

Distribution, Wholesale and Industrial Sectors to Benefit From Reduced Costs and Lead Times

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STOCKHOLM, Sweden - 23 Jan 2002: IBM and IBS (International Business Systems) today announced a global strategic alliance to deliver e-business and Supply Chain Solutions for mid-sized businesses in distribution, wholesale and international industrial sectors.

The alliance incorporates IBS' Virtual Enterprise Supply Chain collaboration software with key IBM middleware products, eServer and IBM Global Services Supply Chain Management services.

The combined offering provides an easy to install, comprehensive integration solution linking different ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) applications and integrating supply chain business partners. The alliance will help customers reduce costs and manual processes, increase customer service and cut lead times.

"The challenge for companies today is to integrate and harmonize processes both internally and externally across company trading boundaries. The trick is to place technology on top of existing enterprise systems, to act as a unifying layer. Software like IBS' Virtual Enterprise use this approach and when combined, under this partnership umbrella, with the power and resources of IBM offer an attractive solution proposition,'' explained Simon Pollard, VP European Research, AMR Research.

Increasingly, midmarket customers need to integrate and coordinate different ERP systems within a geographically dispersed group of companies and between supply chain partners to enable integrated SCM (Supply Chain Management) and order fulfillment. Investments in integration give high returns by maximizing existing investments in different brands of ERP systems or tailoring software already present in the organization.

Fran Miller, MIS Manager for Miele US said, "Since implementing IBS software, Miele USA has reduced its inventory level by 15 percent whilst coping with 30 percent growth. Miele and IBS have partnered in a number of countries giving us the benefit of greatly increased productivity and profits.

The two companies will jointly market and implement the integrated solutions worldwide. IBM Global Services will establish consultancy practices in selected countries and provide customization and integration services for joint IBM and IBS solutions.

IBS' new generation of Virtual Enterprise software utilizes Java** and WebSphere development platform. Virtual Enterprise is unique in combining the supply chain and multi-company integration with advanced business logic.

Murray Mitchell, vice president of IBM Global Services' Buy & Supply consulting practice, said, "This alliance expands a relationship that began 25 years ago and will allow customers to maximize prior technology investments through tighter systems integration across their organizations.''

"The alliance with IBM will significantly enlarge our capability and resources to deliver world class supply chain management solutions to demanding international corporations,'' says Staffan Ahlberg, CEO of IBS. "We believe that it will have a major impact on our competitiveness.''

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