TechSera turns retailers’ information into insight

More than 15 years in the world of supply chain technology affords plenty of opportunities to learn. Abhijeet Singh’s career in the sector began at Manhattan Associates, where his work spanned R&D, consulting and services. As he went through the implementation cycle and saw the number of systems the firm’s customers wanted to leverage — enterprise resource planning, warehouse management and automation, to name a few — he realized retailers faced some big data stream challenges.

“For the supply chain ecosystem to work and to be agile and fluid, these systems need to talk to each other,” Singh says. But even when the platforms successfully sent information back and forth, the results still weren’t ideal. “To these entities, the data is just a series of zeroes and ones. The system in the middle was just directing traffic. It wasn’t understanding the data stream.”

TechSera President and CEO Abhijeet Singh
TechSera President and CEO Abhijeet Singh

TechSera and its x.SIP system came from a desire to build a platform for the supply chain environment that helps organizations address those data insight gaps. Singh, president and CEO of the company, says the x stands for transaction and SIP is for supply chain integration platform, a reference that x.SIP was designed to understand the various data streams and systems connected to it.

“Is it order-related data?” Singh asks. “Is it customer-related data? Am I transmitting ship confirmations?” A platform with the brains to do more than just move data from one place to another could finally give retailers the understanding of their supply chains that seemed to be missing from so many earlier implementations.

Singh offers a simplified example of the connections retailers need to manage in today’s omnichannel environment: If Macy’s places an order from Columbia Sportswear, the x.SIP platform helps facilitate communications between the two brands. “We can tell Columbia that this is a wholesale order and let their ERP system know the order has shipped from the distribution system,” Singh explains. “We can also send that information to Macy’s to tell them their order from Columbia has shipped, and they receive that data in the form their system expects.”

Similar translations occur when consumers place an ecommerce order. “While x.SIP is letting Columbia know the order has shipped, we also want to let the customer know, via text message, email or push notification, and say, ‘Thanks for your business, your order has shipped.’”

The inclusion of tracking information means brands benefit from an additional touchpoint that helps deliver a good customer service experience. “We've given visibility to the end customer and to the retailer much earlier in the process by putting a supply chain platform in the middle that understands the nature of the order flow,” Singh says.

Marketplaces such as eBay, Amazon, Walmart and others have already gained popularity in Europe and are also growing domestically. Singh is excited about the future opportunities they offer to small businesses, where even mom-and-pop operations can sell to a wide range of customers without the expense of buying large amounts of inventory or maintaining bricks-and-mortar locations. “Everyone has exhausted the traditional sales channels,” he says.

To stay ahead of the curve, x.SIP boasts integrations with at least 15 of the top marketplaces — Amazon, Walmart, eBay, Shopify, Magento and PrestaShop among them. “If my customer wants to sell tomorrow on Shopify, x.SIP is already integrated with them. It’s just a matter of turning it on and they can start selling on Shopify, and that order will be fed to the Columbia Sportswear system,” Singh says, adding that existing integrations with retail and manufacturers’ brands enables them to feed order data directly into those systems as well.

Julie Knudson is a freelance business writer who focuses on retail, hospitality and technology.

 

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