ecUtopia: Transaction-Powered Supply Chain Visibility

Eric Wensley, Co-Founder & SVP of Technology, ecUtopiaEric Wensley, Co-Founder & SVP of Technology
Visibility into supply chain parameters outside the enterprise, such as a shipment’s landed date, has for long remained inaccessible to most retailers. Not anymore. ecUtopia, a force to reckon with in the 3PL technology space, leverages standard transactional data, such as PO’s, to address the shortcomings in supply chain visibility. “The term ‘EDI’ typically defines specific standard for exchanging data,” explains ecUtopia’s Eric Wensley, co-founder and SVP of Technology. He says that the term ‘EDI’ is now used to encompass all methods of exchanging data such as vertical XML schemas and Web APIs. As a disrupter, ecUtopia possesses a deep understanding of EDI‘s business challenges that had remained unaddressed or unrecognized for so long. Wensley says that data exchange constitutes a function outside the core expertise of retailers and vendors. He further adds that while management of EDI and other methods require some technical skill, business prowess is critical for understanding business data flow. He says most companies that take on EDI in-house incorrectly categorize it as a technical role. “Our solution is 5 percent technical and 95 percent business,” he adds. ecUtopia promotes synergistic trading partnerships between vendors and retailers. Wensley says that ecUtopia fosters the ‘partner’ in ‘trading partnership’ to create a win-win situation for the retailer, vendor, supplier, and carrier.

ecUtopia’s core solution, uLink, is a robust SaaS application that manages all sides of the supply chain—vendors, retailers, and carriers. Featuring a robust and intuitive user interface, uLink offers visibility and management of the supply chain. “Our customers call uLink ‘EDI’s ERP.’ uLink puts a friendly and familiar face on processes involving order fulfillment, invoicing, payments, shipment details and much more,” says Wensley.

Our solution is 5 percent technical and 95 percent business

For example, ecUtopia’s application allows its vendor users to receive thousands of PO’s from multiple retailers, maintain dedicated inventories and item masters for each retailer, and generate thousands of acknowledgments, invoices and shipping notices instantaneously—with or without back-office integration. Even small carriers can meet retailer’s requirements by quickly creating freight invoices based on data from prior transactions. Additionally, the integration between retailer and carrier functions within the ecUtopia environment allow retailers with or without a TMS to gain all the benefits of traffic management including creation of load tender and status updates for domestic shipments and track and trace of overseas shipments. Even dock scheduling and yard management at the receiving location is handled by ecUtopia.

ecUtopia’s drop ship to consumer (DSC) management capabilities have introduced omnichannel selling to their retail and vendor base. A regional $700m retailer increased sales by more than 10 percent year over year with the introduction of ecUtopia’s DSC module. ecUtopia allows the vendor to fulfill the order and ship direct to the consumer while easily meeting the retailer’s branded packing slip and third-party billing requirement for shipping. Through ecUtopia, vendors easily provide retailers their product catalog that includes all items—even those not normally kept in the retailer’s brick and mortar inventory. ecUtopia also manages available inventory, ready-to-ship dates and more. Once the order has been shipped to the consumer, ecUtopia enables passing of tracking data and proof of delivery to back the retailer or their eCommerce platform.

ecUtopia has recently completed development of order status visibility to fill the void between PO Acknowledgement and shipment for items with longer lead times—the holy grail for most retailers. Over the next 12 months, the company plans to expand its DSC capabilities by integrating LTL booking for large products and expand its track and trace capabilities for overseas shipments.