2009 Readers' Choice Survey: Editors' Pick

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2009 Readers' Choice Survey: Editors' Pick

This year's Readers' Choice survey spans 10 categories, but some companies do not fit snugly into any one group due to their size or focus. In response, we created the Editors' Pick section to recognize companies that are making a respectable impact on the industry and should be dually noted.

Their footprints may not be large enough to secure a top spot on the Consulting list, but these firms are undoubtedly helping consumer goods companies enhance their business processes and IT capabilities.

ArchPoint Consulting
ArchPoint Consulting provides hands-on support and experienced counsel to clients for marketing, sales, operational and financial challenges.  "You can depend on ArchPoint Partners to drive focus and value creation while more effectively harnessing the 'people power' of the organization," says Bob Landis, SVP - Personnel & Organization, Mars North America.

Digital Tempus
Some companies hope for growth, market leaders plan for it. Digital Tempus helps companies implement demand-driven business strategies, identify growth opportunities and realize working capital efficiencies. Digital Tempus provides consulting and business intelligence services to deliver results. In 2008, Church & Dwight teamed with Digital Tempus to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of its planning process.

K2 Professional Services Inc.
K2 Professional Services is experienced in complex supply chain projects in the consumer goods industry. Its consultants are skilled in SAP applications, including SCM/APO, BI and Manufacturing and aim to help clients get the most out of their investments in sense and respond systems, advanced VMI and supplier network collaboration. In 2008, K2 Professional Services enhanced its "Better Forecasts with APO" package based on its recent experiences with consumer packaged goods companies in the United States and Europe.

Plan4Demand Solutions Inc.
Plan4Demand Solutions Inc. is a consulting services firm specializing in supply chain management business processes and technologies. In 2008, David C. Healey, a senior consultant, was recognized by the editors of Supply & Demand Chain Executive magazine in its annual list of supply chain Pros to Know, which spotlights individuals who personally helped raise the profile of supply chain planning and operations as a strategic business function.

The companies that are listed here provide either niche solutions or business-to-business solutions that help to improve the exchange of trading partner data throughout the entire supply chain.

BravoSolution's technology and consulting services aim to create, execute and measure innovative sourcing and supplier performance strategies for everything from raw materials to logistics services. In 2008, Aberdeen Group recognized long-time customer and consumer packaged goods giant Unilever for innovative transportation management -- driven by BravoSolution Collaborative Sourcing.

CaseStack's sustainable supply chain management offers a myriad of logistics solutions to retailers, distributors and manufacturers, including transportation, value-added services and warehousing. The company operates 10 warehousing locations strategically located across the United States, offering both one- and five-warehouse consolidation programs to clients to increase customer savings, delivery timeliness and business efficiency. This year, Deloitte recognized CaseStack as one of  its Fast 500, a list of the fastest-growing technology, media and entertainment companies in the United States for a second time.

Demand Solutions
As consumer packaged goods companies search for ways to reduce inventory costs in a volatile economy, Demand Solutions offers a solution that focuses on the one aspect of their business that they can control -- the supply chain. Its supply and demand planning software has helped enable consumer packaged goods companies to reduce inventory and gain competitive advantage for 24 years.

ICG Commerce
ICG Commerce defines itself as a procurement outsourcing specialist that delivers comprehensive source-to-pay as well as strategic sourcing services to companies such as Kimberly-Clark and Goodyear. The International Association of Outsourcing Professionals (IAOP) recognized ICG Commerce as one of the world's top outsourcing service providers in 2008 in the IAOP Global Outsourcing 100.

Market6 Inc.
Market6 aims to deliver innovative technologies and services to improve marketing, operations and supply chain efficiencies. By delivering more accurate forecasts of consumer demand and store inventory requirements, Market6 helps retailers and consumer packaged goods companies increase performance by controlling out of stocks and better managing store inventory, as featured in "New Ways of Working Together" by Wegmans and The Coca-Cola Company in 2008.

ORTEC provides logistics optimization solutions specifically targeted at the distribution processes of consumer products companies. Its solutions are utilized in both SAP-embedded format and as stand-alone applications. In 2008, and in conjunction with three leading consumer packaged goods companies, ORTEC developed a new methodology for fully utilizing and forecasting transportation capacity at the point of demand creation, which will go live in the first quarter of 2009.

Prescient Applied Intelligence
Prescient provides solutions and services that help enable retailers and suppliers to work collaboratively to improve profits, efficiencies and customer service. Prescient's supply chain, merchandising and store-level solutions aim to improve shelf performance through improved sales, out of stocks and shrink. Prescient is in the midst of an acquisition by Park City Group Inc., a software development and consulting services company, scheduled to be complete this month.

TraceGains Inc.
TraceGains offers advanced brand protection and promotion solutions to help customers prove and promote brand and pedigree claims to boost product quality and profitability, minimize costs and long-term brand damage from recalls, and catch problems in the supply chain and before they ship to customers. The TraceGains Product Suite is "SAP Certified for Integration via Enterprise Services."

These companies support consumer goods companies in their quest for competitive advantage and growth through innovative products and processes.

Centric Software
Centric Software is a provider of product lifecycle management (PLM) and sourcing solutions for fashion, consumer goods and private-label products industries. Centric solutions help enable companies to speed new products to market, drive margin improvement, and improve global collaboration and compliance. Designed specifically to meet the needs of the consumer goods industry, Centric enables teams and partners to improve global collaboration, execution and business performance.

In addition to developing PLM strategies and deploying PLM solutions, Kalypso's service offerings include product innovation, strategy, development, introduction, commercialization, consumer/shopper immersion, go-to-market capability and organization design. In 2008, Kalypso formed a comprehensive pricing practice to help clients achieve pricing excellence and deliver profitable products and services.

Specializing in PLM, Linx/AS helps consumer goods companies optimize time to value on product innovation and solve product compliance challenges -- such as traceability -- using SAP technology. In 2009, Linx/AS will be launching its i360 Enterprise, a best practice platform for PLM that leverages the Web environment of SAP NetWeaver.

These companies can't be "boxed" into any one category due to their unique product and service offerings to consumer goods firms.

For consumer goods companies, brand compliance and transparency into marketing processes across geographies is a huge challenge. Assetlink's Marketing Operations Management solution provides a comprehensive framework to manage all aspects of marketing from planning to execution, content management and analytics. Consumer packaged goods companies that use the solution can optimize and manage digital assets while streamlining design and packaging processes, leading to significant savings.

Global 360
Global 360 helps consumer goods and retail companies streamline processes, such as procure-to-pay and order-to-cash, and remove costs from the supply chain. Through business process and document management solutions, companies can identify problems through real-time performance data, reduce cycle times and improve service levels. Global 360's Business Process Management (BPM) suite was profiled as a leader in Gartner Magic Quadrant and Forrester Wave reports.

Hybrid Intelligence
Hybrid Intelligence provides analytics and reporting to companies through a hosted, subscription model. Designed for visual thinking, reporting is delivered in a way that allows displays and graphics to become instruments for reasoning about quantitative information. In 2008, the company was formed by alumni of consumer goods companies that were frustrated with the usual limitations they experienced in analyzing data and communicating insights.

Consumer goods manufacturers face tighter margins and ever-higher expectations from distributors, retailers and consumers. Intermec rugged mobile computing, bar code and RFID solutions serve to help manufacturers, like San Pellegrino Group and Pepperidge Farm, to achieve more timely and accurate store delivery, build a stronger brand image, improve plant utilization, lower inventory costs and make substantial improvements to overall operations.

Motorola's Enterprise Mobility business offers barcode scanners, RFID and voice technologies, mobile computers and wireless network infrastructure that seamlessly and securely links people, assets and information both indoors and outdoors for a truly mobile and global workforce. In 2008, Motorola led industry initiatives such as item-level RFID tagging to gain greater visibility into supply chains, while simplifying the inventory and in-store replenishment process.

O4 Corporation
O4 Corporation is a global provider of mobile software solutions that optimize field sales, merchandising and direct store delivery (DSD) operations for consumer goods companies. Running on handheld devices, O4 solutions automate workflow processes and enable real-time reporting of in-store conditions for proactive retail planning and execution. O4 deploys solutions in multiple languages and currencies. Recently, Procter & Gamble rolled out its solution to several countries in multiple continents.

One Network Enterprises
One Network Enterprises is an innovator of multi-party supply chain solutions for the global networked enterprises, delivered in the form of software-as-a-service (SaaS).  One Network operates very large industry-specific networks and applications that aim to rapidly remove latencies and cut costs. One Network has more than 2,800 customers in the retail, consumer products, high tech, defense and logistics industries. In August 2008, One Network announced its official expansion into China.

Launched in September 2008, Quantivo offers an on-demand solution for customer behavior analytics that uncovers actionable insights to help drive sales and gain customers. Quantivo aims to make analytics accessible to business users in order to quickly increase customer loyalty, marketing and promotion effectiveness, lifetime value, Web traffic and more.

RW3 Inc.
RW3 Inc. is a business solutions provider of strategic consulting, custom reporting, analytics and flexible technology for consumer goods companies. Solutions are provided through InStore, a web-based and device-specific solution that collects and segments sales data based on your specific go-to-market strategy, and via the Insights Group, its on-call reporting and analytics consulting team.

Sequoya's Predictive Modeling & Optimization technology offers the platform to forecast consumption and build better plans. Optimizer version 2.2.5 automates baseline forecasting and promotion simulation in a single application. According to Sequoya, it is the first predictive modeling application with pre-configured integration to Trade Promotion Management solutions.

Spring Wireless
Spring Wireless is a mobile platform and services company that uses an end-to-end delivery model and platform of pre-built applications and services made in order to empower workers to connect to the information they need on any device. Spring Wireless solutions aim to help global consumer packaged goods companies increase sales, streamline distribution, enhance marketing, increase customer loyalty and gain strategic insight into their business. In December 2008, Spring Wireless was positioned in the leader quadrant of Gartner Inc.'s Mobile Enterprise Application Platform Magic Quadrant.

Telligent provides community and collaboration software for the enterprise. Its solutions aim to connect people to brands and power many of the world's largest online communities, including Associated Press, Conde Nast, Dell, Electronic Arts, General Mills, Honda, Intel, Johnson & Johnson, Microsoft, MSNBC, MySpace.com and Visa. In 2008, Telligent received $20 million in funding from Intel Capital.