SOURCE: GT Nexus, Inc.

June 23, 2005 09:30 ET

GT Nexus Expands Into Electronic Global Trade Document Services

U.S. Importers Using New Web-Based "eDocs" Platform to Unite Suppliers, Service Providers, Create and Manage Digital Documents, Share Order, Item and Shipping Data

ALAMEDA, CA -- (MARKET WIRE) -- June 23, 2005 -- GT Nexus, the leading provider of on-demand software and services for global logistics and supply chain management, today announced general market availability for its new Global Document Control solution.

Delivered as an integrated, network-based service over the Web, the product ushers in a new era of electronic data and digital document management software specifically designed to accelerate and improve supplier collaboration and management, trade compliance and international shipping operations.

A recent study examining globalization strategies of nearly 200 companies cited effective management of information and documents for cross-border trade to be the most pressing challenge faced by businesses as they go global. It is an exceedingly difficult, inefficient and expensive task, according to Beth Enslow, vice president, enterprise research for Aberdeen Group, a technology research firm, and author of the study.

"Our study found that global trade remains highly inefficient because it is still such an unautomated, paper-intensive process," said Enslow. "Companies are fed up with paying partners to re-key data into their local systems and they are fed up with not knowing the status of their orders and inventory. This is contributing to the unacceptable lead times and unanticipated supply chain costs that plague 91% of the firms we surveyed."

The GT Nexus online trade document control system is in production supporting the import operations of two major US retailers. It has been introduced and taken live with suppliers in China and other Asia-Pacific countries, Europe and the Middle East, as well as several 3PLs, consolidators, customs brokers and ocean lines.

How it works

The system centralizes four principal activities surrounding effective document management, coordination and control for global import operations:

--  Purchase Order Distribution - suppliers can receive, acknowledge and
    manage a buyer's (importer's) global purchase orders electronically in a
    simple, yet novel approach requiring only an Internet connection and common
    Web browser, or an email inbox. No hardware or software installation is
    required at the buyer or supplier.
    
--  Supplier Enablement - any supplier worldwide can securely access the
    platform, select a customer's orders to ship, notify transportation service
    partners, "auto-create" associated freight and commercial documents, and
    then manage document flow with partners, all in a single, comprehensive,
    easy-to-use Web-based system.
    
--  Online Document Flow - Key documents for order and shipment processing
    are stored centrally, represented digitally, indexed and searchable. The
    importer can share these documents with partners, giving them role-based
    access to create, amend, view, act upon and process them in a structured
    online environment.
    
--  Customs Broker Collaboration - Instead of waiting for documents to
    arrive by pouch, fax or email, the importer's Customs Broker can access the
    system at any time to obtain digital commercial invoices or other
    transportation and trade documents, which can be "pushed" as data into the
    broker's system to speed clearance processing and improve compliance.
    
The system comes pre-built with a set of digitized, configurable documents that are the heart of today's typical import operation. This base package includes:
--  Purchase Order (or its equivalent)
--  Booking Request (or Shipping Order from Factory to 3PL/Consolidator)
--  Commercial Invoice
--  Packing List
--  Cargo Manifest
--  Bill of Lading
--  US Customs Entry Form (7501 Entry Summary)
    
The system also has "upload" tools so any network partner can "attach" a previously scanned document to an import transaction record. This enables necessary but less frequently used documents, which may have been created outside of the system, to be uploaded, digitally filed and indexed to a particular order or shipment. These become part of a digital "document pouch" that travels on its own electronic highway following the physical movement of the cargo. The digital document pouch can be accessed by all network participants and is updated in real-time.

Extending, complementing existing systems across the supply chain

As a "neutral" platform, the GT Nexus system complements and extends existing ERP, MRP, TMS or other partner platforms. Typically, the importer will integrate their order management system with the platform to transmit purchase orders and other electronic messages either by EDI or XML, by flat file or other format. Where a system is not available purchase order and other product or shipping data can be input via Web form.

Since it also serves as a data integration hub, the buyer/importer, suppliers and logistics partners can "pull" data from the platform to enhance their legacy systems and processes -- and update related demand planning, inventory or freight operations activities. All participants gain efficiencies from handling documents online as data and not paper -- which improves accuracy and eliminates costly re-keying of information among multiple systems.

"Web-based systems are emerging as a powerful solution," said Aberdeen's Enslow. "They provide companies with what they want -- the ability for them and their partners to use a secure, common platform to access data, create electronic trade and shipping documents, and manage the process. This streamlines global trade and solves numerous regulatory compliance, logistics, and data quality issues."

The challenge of going global, the advantage of "on-demand"

Today's new Web-based network models, where the infrastructure, integrations and software are managed by the technology vendor and delivered "on-demand," can be launched rapidly and begin improving processes faster. All participants across the supply chain can benefit from these networks, introducing more secure, efficient and accurate processing and transmittal of commercial trade and shipping documents.

"Every time we keypunch data or handle information on paper, there is potential for mistakes to occur, through simple error or misinterpretation," explained Cindy Stoddard, CIO for NOL Group, the parent company of APL Logistics, which participates on the GT Nexus eDocs platform with major importers and their suppliers.

"With this technology, documents are presented, modified and managed electronically. We're working with data -- not paper," she said. "Just as importantly, this system also enforces a security structure that legislates control, and retains a record of document access, change and workflow. That's huge for compliance.

"We have to take every opportunity to get off the global trade paper trail," Stoddard concluded. "The benefits and advantages of these online management systems are just too compelling. Properly deployed, they can provide the answer to many of the trade compliance and cost management issues we face jointly with our customers."

ABOUT GT NEXUS -- GT Nexus is the leading provider of hosted, on-demand software and services for global transportation, logistics and supply chain management. Founded in 1998, the company provides integrated software products and IT services, provisioned through a single Web platform, used by enterprises and their partners to control, optimize and manage the flow of goods and information from order to delivery, worldwide. The GT Nexus platform is backed by an industry consortium of leading ocean carriers who transact over the system with some 70 3PLs, hundreds of freight forwarders and over 6,000 importers and exporters to manage and execute international shipping. For more about GT Nexus, visit www.gtnexus.com

Contact Information

  • Media Contact:
    Gary Frantz
    GT Nexus, Inc.
    510.747.3214
    415-819-6013
    Email Contact