GCommerce’s Virtual Inventory Cloud (VIC) will transform the special order cycle, in some cases from 15 minutes to 15 seconds, says the company. GCommerce made the announcement at Microsoft’s Worldwide Partner Conference (WPC) 2010 in Washington, D.C. GCommerce says it has added some of the most well known auto parts industry players as early adopters, The Automotive Aftermarket Parts Alliance (The Alliance), Federated Auto Parts, Gates, ISN, Tenneco, Lisle, K&N, Transamerican/4 Wheel Parts, and FinishMaster. GCommerce has launched VIC in the North American automotive aftermarket to automate parts availability inquiries from wholesalers/retailers to manufacturer/suppliers seamlessly through the cloud network. Parts inventory will eventually exceed nine million parts with millions of queries each day. VIC’s current virtual inventory consists of more than three million active parts in the cloud across more than 10 market segments that serve thousands of commercial enterprises. Integrated Supply Network (ISN), one of the largest tool and equipment wholesalers, did not have an automated model for special orders. The manual process of checking on supplier inventory via phone and websites, coupled with an unstructured ordering process was cumbersome wasted employee time, and lead to lost sales. “Now with VIC, we will see a 100X return on our investment, by creating an end to end special order process with a 1/10th the people, at 1/10th the cost in 1/10th the time,” said Pete Weber, managing partner at ISN. “We see a huge cost and economic advantage of utilizing a seamless platform to match demand without incurring huge capital outlays.” For buyers and suppliers in the automotive aftermarket that do not use VIC, staff spend several hours each day seeking availability and lead times and parts that are not in stock. Compare this to the use of VIC where it takes 15 seconds to determine part availability and place the order. VIC serves as an electronic bridge between wholesalers/retailers and manufacturer/suppliers, giving the buyer visibility to inventory available from existing suppliers. Due to increased parts proliferation, special orders account for more than 80% of purchase order volume, and associated costs in the supply chain, with tens of millions of manual transactions every month. VIC will enable companies to capture the sale, while also saving billions of dollars by speeding up and streamlining the process. “Cloud capabilities are disrupting how enterprises collaborate across their boundaries to execute business processes across their broad ecosystem and the long-tail of customers, partners and suppliers,” said Simon Witts, corporate vice president, Enterprise & Partner Group (EPG), Microsoft. “Enterprises are shifting from the traditional era of ‘within-the-four-walls’ application and process integration to extended inter-enterprise business processes leveraging innovative applications, data and processes built on cloud computing platforms. An excellent example of Microsoft’s cloud momentum in the automotive industry ecosystem, GCommerce’s VIC represents this new transformative wave of business innovation that extends capabilities beyond the four walls of a company.” “With the enhanced visibility of inventory, quality and supply capability enabled by the cloud, we expect increased industry sales at lower cost with less waste across the entire automotive aftermarket and multi-industry supply chains that rely on a distribution model for goods and services,” said Steven Smith, CEO, GCommerce. “As the fast adoption of VIC clearly shows, we have developed a solution that will have a tangible positive impact on the highly fragmented and underserved $300 billion automotive aftermarket industry, where special orders are an industry challenge in the billions. For most manufacturers, 80% of orders generate only 20% of sales revenue, but represent 80% of operational costs. VIC changes that math. VIC automates the incoming order at the point of origin where the inquiry is made, putting the entire parts industry inventory at the resellers fingertips, sales up, costs down.” The GCommerce VIC solution built atop the Microsoft Windows and SQL Azure platform enables hundreds of commercial wholesalers and retailers to improve margins and increase customer loyalty through better visibility into parts availability from suppliers.