Descartes Systems Group bulked up its offerings to help retailers collaborate with logistics service providers, acquiring BearWare Inc. of Cleveland, Ohio, for $11.25 million.
By using mobile technologies to scan cartons at each point from a distribution center through to a storefront, BearWare's system helps identify inventory replenishment needs, reduce theft and claims for lost cartons, and streamline shipment payments.
The BearWare platform also supports pool distribution, helping retailers such as Restoration Hardware Inc. and General Nutrition Centers Inc. (GNC) reduce their logistics costs and minimize store disruptions; the software eliminates unconsolidated direct shipments from suppliers and retailer distribution centers into the stores. Other BearWare clients include Aeropostale Inc., American Eagle Outfitters, and Ralph Lauren Media LLC.
The move comes just two days after Descartes spent $83.5 million to acquire another software company; the company bought Columbia, Md.-based MK Data Services LLC for its "denied-party screening" service that allows clients to avoid doing business with banned partners by searching for their names on multiple government sanction lists.
MK could help Descartes, of Waterloo, Ont., play a bigger role in the Global Logistics Network (GLN), an collaborative web of logistics firms that pool their standards and resources to facilitate global shipping and compliance through electronic data exchange.
The BearWare merger could help Descartes in two additional ways, Descartes said. First, it will add depth to its Routing, Mobile, and Telematics platform. That division offers fleet-management software with a single platform for optimizing route planning, route execution, and driver and vehicle performance.
The new acquisition also complements Descartes' Airclic product, a cloud-based, mobile solution that automates traditional paper-based, customer-touching, "last mile" logistics processes, the company said. Descartes also created that service through an acquisition, purchasing Airclic for $29.7 million in November 2014.
Together, these ingredients could help remove bottlenecks that happen as retail product moves from a shipper's distribution center, consolidation point, or bypass facility through third-party transportation-provider networks, and ultimately to stores.
"Omnichannel retailing is putting tremendous pressure on retailers to leverage their assets more effectively and be responsive to the market," Descartes CEO Edward J. Ryan said in a release.
"The BearWare solution provides retailers with another way to move their goods efficiently through the supply chain to help ensure that they have the right goods, in the right location, at the right time, and for the lowest cost," Ryan said.