BLOOMINGTON, MINN. (03/17/2000) - TransScape, a division of Pitney Bowes Inc., this week began shipping Conquest, server software to manage order fulfillment and shipping in a business-to-business environment.
Intended for small and midsize businesses, NT-based Conquest can accept incoming purchase orders over the Web, via e-mail or through an electronic data interchange network link. Conquest can determine which type of truck, air or rail shipment is best based on where ordered goods are warehoused and the cost to ship it to the buyer.
Conquest does this by checking a continually updated library of 179 carriers so when a supplier decides to ship goods a certain way, the freight transport can be arranged online. When that's done, Conquest sends out a shipping notice as e-mail, fax or EDI to the organization ordering the goods.
The software, which starts at $25,000 and runs to about $100,000, can share this fulfillment data with back-end enterprise resource planning systems from Oracle, SAP, PeopleSoft, Baan and Primac. Both supplier and buyer can obtain a Web-based view of the shipping status by logging on to Conquest.
InStep, a manufacturer of baby carriages and other equipment in Mendota, Minn., was an early adopter of Conquest for use in exchanging EDI-based purchase orders and shipping notices with JCPenney, WalMart, Sears and Target.
These retailers require suppliers to use EDI for order fulfillment, says Tim Gallagher, InStep chief financial officer. Since each chain uses EDI in slightly different ways, Conquest simplifies deployment of EDI - it comes with different software "kits" for each EDI partner, such as Kmart or WalMart.
"It's a good product for people without big IT departments," says Gallagher, adding it was fairly easy to integrate Conquest into the manufacturer's warehouse management software, MAS 90.
"We'll get an EDI order from Target every week, and we have to ship within three days," Gallagher notes. "The Conquest server can send the EDI information directly on as a flat ASCII file to our warehouse in Au Claire, [Wisconsin]" Conquest also handles the printout of bar code labels.
Conquest represents the more modern rendition of an older TranScape product called Ascent, now used by about 15,000 companies, which lacked a Web-based view into its database.