Due to compliance regulations and sustainability, the relationship between small companies and the larger entities they often do business with is getting more complex.
The issue is that larger companies want more visibility into their supply chains. Sometimes this is because of compliance issues, but more often than not it's just plain old good business. Many of them have become keenly aware of how dependent they are on small suppliers for critical parts and services. As a result, they want to know more about what's actually happening inside the operations of their suppliers.
Unfortunately, many of those organizations only have rudimentary IT systems, largely consisting of spreadsheet and QuickBooks application. The folks at Fishbowl, a provider of inventory management software, however, say that rather than imposing a heavy enterprise application on these suppliers, the more natural thing to do is bring them along using a QuickBooks application environment they are already familiar with.
To that end, Fishbowl has extended its lineup to add an asset tracking application that gives smaller suppliers a tool that allows them to get their operations in order. Once collected, that information can then be shared with any number of other applications via any third-party middleware construct a larger vendor may choose. The challenge, says Fishbowl CEO Dave Williams, is finding a way to make it easier for smaller companies to collect that information in the first place.
Williams says even small divisions within larger companies, such as Lowe's, Nordstrom, Mercedes-Benz and Boeing, have adopted the Fishbowl Asset Tracking software simply because it's simple to use and easy to deploy. But the bulk of the opportunity, says Williams, is going to be serving the needs of smaller companies that with each passing day are being asked to account for every asset no matter how small or seemingly inconsequential.