Eqos fuels the reactive supply chain

Companies – especially those dealing with low-margin consumer packaged goods – face a daunting task accurately forecasting product demand and tuning their supply chain accordingly. "Even with the most advantage planning software, I've seen people get it wrong by 300% even 3,000%," says Mike Quinn, CEO of supply chain collaboration software company Eqos.


Company: Eqos

Main activity: Supply chain collaboration software

Founded: 1997

CEO: Mike Quinn

HQ: Leatherhead, UK

Status: Privately held. £10 million in funding from venture finance companies 3i and Advent Venture Partners

Revenues: For the year to 30 Septmeber 2001, revenues were £1.5 million, but company executives predict a trebling of sales in 2002.

Key competitors: i2 Technologies, Manugistics, SAP, Oracle, PeopleSoft

Infoconomy comment: Eqos has built a prestigious customer base among retailers in the UK. But to become a major player in collaborative commerce it needs to address some watershed challenges: to broaden up its channels to market; to expand internationally; and to push beyond the retail sector.




What they lack, he argues, is the ability to view activity in real time right across the supply chain, to share information with suppliers, to build alerts and react when significant changes occur.

Over the past four years, Eqos has been refining a supply chain collaboration platform, Collaborator, that has brought some of the largest retailers in the UK market – Sainsbury's, Kraft, Guinness, Kellogg's and others – closer to that goal.

The platform establishes many of the key technologies that retailers need to collaborate with their supply base: messaging, alerts, views, reports, rules, security and integration. On top of that, it provides a rapid application development environment that companies or (more typically) their consultancy partners use to create applications that span supply chain processes.

Sainsbury's, for example, layers Eqos Collaborator on top of its core systems to carry out predictive alerting, manage on-shelf availability and promotions, monitor the performance of suppliers, and analyse stock turns. The supermarket chain claims that it has seen a £2 million return on investment from lowering its supply chain costs.

Such Eqos applications are almost exclusively build by consultancies. In fact most of the company's handful of deals to date have come through its close relationship with the retail sector practice of Accenture.

Quinn now predicts wider acceptance, particularly in pharmaceuticals and manufacturing: "Everyone involved in the supply chain will need a collaboration platform in the same way as they need a database." But to exploit that Eqos will have to deal with its own area of unpredictability: how well its product can continue to outshine the offerings emerging from the large enterprise resource planning software companies.

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Ben Rossi

Ben was Vitesse Media's editorial director, leading content creation and editorial strategy across all Vitesse products, including its market-leading B2B and consumer magazines, websites, research and...

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