Supply Chain Software Vendor eBots Becomes Ultriva

Originally an EAI player, the vendor changes its name to reflect its growing specialization in "lean manufacturing."

eBots, a leading maker of supply chain software for "lean manufacturing," has changed its name to Ultriva Inc., after receiving $4 million in a new round of financing.

"eBots was more a name of the 90s," Michael Coates, a company spokesperson, said in an interview. "It might even make you think of robots, or something."

At the same time, the company has changed the names of its products, which are being deployed by midrange to large customers such as IR-Hussmann Corp., Ingersoll-Rand Co. Ltd. and Invensys to reduce inventory levels, increase on-time delivery and cut manufacturing costs.

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"Ultrivas venture capitalists were right on the nose in making that investment. Lean manufacturing is very hot right now," Ralph Rio, an analyst at ARC Advisory Group Inc., said in an interview.

Rio estimated that the lean manufacturing software market currently enjoys an 80 percent growth rate among discrete manufacturers.

"In comparison, many other software [categories] are lucky to grow at 5 to 10 percent [overall]," he said.

Moreover, after automating the plant floor, manufacturers are now looking for ways to bring the same type of efficiency to supply chain relationships, by streamlining the flow of goods from the plant to suppliers, the analyst said.

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Ultrivas products represent the next wave of manufacturing software, according to Rio.

Essentially, the software vendor has developed a way to automate the "kanban," a manual, card-based inventory tracking method first developed by Toyota Inc., Ultrivas Coates said. Ultrivas software-based system is much more efficient, he said. For one thing, it eliminates the problem of lost cards, and it also "integrates with ERP systems."

The newly renamed Ultriva Electronic Kanban is aimed at eliminating stockouts, for example, through a process known as consumption-driven replenishment. Ultriva Lean Scheduling works with Electronic Kanban to optimize production schedules around the customers "want date," or requested completion date.

Beyond the name changes and new financing, the company has added two new faces to its management team: Ashley Stirrup has been appointed CEO and Rao Kola joins Ultriva as chief technology officer.

In favor of the name change, ARC Advisorys Rio said the company started out as an EAI (enterprise application integration) specialist. "But along the way, they developed this piece of software for lean manufacturing," he said. "Ultriva is a much better name for a different product in a different era."

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