Web Based Global Supply Chain Launched

Global Logistics Technologies and New Meadows Venture Partners last week launched SupplyLinks, an Internet-based global supply chain network, to link customers to various transportation modes and service providers through a single platform.

San Francisco-based SupplyLinks, an application service provider powered by G-Log's Global Command and Control Center logistics software, is targeting the high-tech, aerospace, heavy equipment, pharmaceutical and health-care industries.

The SupplyLinks portal wants to streamline the use of a supply-chain management system to allow companies to automate and simplify buying, transporting and managing their products by providing them access to established carriers worldwide.

SupplyLinks will also create an online marketplace enabling shippers to calculate and compare the costs from various transportation providers, and then execute transactions, said Chairman and CEO David Beatson.

In addition, buyers can compare the landed, or total, cost of finished goods, parts and components, as well as transportation costs before choosing a vendor, he said. That includes insurance, duties, taxes and other customs and clearance fees.

"Buyers will be able to make sourcing decisions based on up-to-date information," added Eric Chasin, SupplyLinks' chief technology officer.

And transportation providers can electronically track shipments and notify customers if there's a problem in transit, allowing customers to make any necessary changes, Beatson said.

"SupplyLinks allows [companies] to figure out the most cost-effective way to move their products," he said. "And carriers can pick up orders they don't ordinarily have access to," Beatson said.

One advantage that SupplyLinks may have over its competitors is its ability to calculate the total cost of ship goods around the world.

According to a Bear Stearns report titled "E-gistics, How E-Commerce and the Supply Chain Click," international trade logistics is the wave of the future in e-commerce.

The complexities of shipping goods purchased online across national borders is a limiting factor for e-commerce, the report said. The report also noted that 85 per cent of online merchants can't accommodate international orders because they are unable to get a total landed cost estimate for an international shipment in near-real time.

Freight transport firms and logistics providers without this online capability will be at a distinct disadvantage, Bear Stearns said.

Chasin said Beatson's experience and the shipper and carrier relationships he brings to SupplyLinks will also help distinguish SupplyLinks from similar ventures. Beatson has been in the transportation and freight forwarding industry for 25 years. He has a worldwide network of contacts that will prove invaluable in helping his new company build its client base, Chasin said.

"Dave's strength is that for the last two years he was the chairman, president and CEO of Circle International, a global freight forwarder, and before that he spent seven years with Emery Worldwide, as vice president of sales and marketing and then president and CEO," Chasin said.

Those relationships are very important in the world of logistics, according to Donald Broughton, an analyst at A. G. Edwards & Sons in St. Louis.

Broughton said that because there isn't much to distinguish one logistics service provider from another, only those that bring pre-existing relationships to the virtual world will survive.

"The logistics exchanges out there have to have alliances with several suppliers and buyers [and transportation carriers]," Broughton said. In the end, he added, only those players that already have those relationships will survive.

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