VerticalNet offers new supply-chain applications

Fresh off the heels of last week's improved second quarter financial results, VerticalNet Inc. is rolling out this week its new sourcing and procurement applications, while eyeing the supply-chain visibility market.

The Horsham. Pennsylvania-based enterprise software company is rebranding itself with the launch of its e-business and supply-chain products after moving away last year from solely focusing on building online storefronts.

VerticalNet's eXtended Enterprise solutions are designed to provide visibility to key cross-enterprise data. Core to the platform are the company's Execution Applications -- an integrated suite that offers auctions, reverse auctions, and structured negotiations -- and its Content Hub - an internal portal for corporate procurement data.

Pepsi Bottling Group has tapped VerticalNet's Content Hub, and high-tech exchange Converge has been using the execution applications product, said Chris Larsen, VerticalNet's executive vice president of global field operations and marketing.

Enterprises are increasingly interested in moving reverse auctions in-house as opposed to using a service to set those up for them, Larsen said.

"For their direct materials ... they know in some cases it's these specific five or six vendors that they want to deal with," he said. "They feel the ROI is there for moving that specific thing in house. The flexibility has to be there to uniquely decide how you're going to interact over the Web ... do they want the auction to automatically close or should it be a manual close?"

VerticalNet also has launched a sourcing management solution, which is designed to allow a company to aggregate its spending across multiple business units.

Eventually, the company plans to extend this platform to allow companies to gain visibility into demand data for their products, Larsen added. In addition to this demand visibility foray into supply-chain management, the company also is interested in adding other applications, like logistics, to its product portfolio via partnerships with other technology vendors, he said.

Last week VerticalNet announced that revenue for the quarter ended June 30 was US$33 million, a 35 percent increase over the $24 million in revenue for the corresponding quarter in 2000. VerticalNet's pro forma loss was $23.8 million compared to $25.5 million for the second quarter of 2000.

VerticalNet expects positive pro forma earnings in the fourth quarter of 2001, officials said.

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