UPS (NYSE: UPS) today announced enhancements to its global ocean and air freight forwarding product, UPS Supplier Management, with the introduction of UPS Order WatchSM, a cloud-based technology platform that allows customers to more efficiently collaborate with international suppliers and better manage their inbound supply chains. Enhancements to the service include added capabilities to enable greater accuracy and timeliness of overseas vendor bookings; improved processing and management of suppliers; automated exception management; near real-time shipment status and detailed line-level visibility of in-transit inventory; improved internal operational processes; and facilitation of purchase order (PO) consolidation and optimized shipping plans. The enhancements, along with highly-refined logistics processes stemming from decades of experience, are now available to current customers. The UPS Order Watch platform will be available to new customers starting in early 2013. "Companies are beginning to look to the cloud for opportunities to improve supply chain collaboration and reduce operational inefficiencies," said Tom Boike, vice president of supplier management at UPS. "Through scalable cloud-based supply chain management technologies such as UPS Order Watch, companies are not only able to streamline management of vendors, but also manage all of their inbound shipments via a single platform. This can provide opportunities to consolidate ocean freight shipments and improve container usage to realize cost savings, which is increasingly important as COOs are looking for ways to mitigate ocean transportation costs following the ocean carrier rate increases in 2012." The improved UPS Order Watch vendor booking system will dispatch system-generated exception alerts to help ensure vendor adherence to customer requirements and provide an online system for approvals, facilitating PO-specific communication between vendor and customer. The improvements to the Supplier Management service will eliminate time-consuming email communication and also reduce the need for additional record keeping by the customer. Enhanced monitoring of vendor bookings against purchase order details and ship windows can further increase customer control, enabling intervention in early or late shipments or improper order quantities. Once an order is placed, PO-level shipment planning and execution capabilities enable visibility and control from order creation through shipment delivery, providing customers with a virtual on-hand inventory view of incoming orders and merchandise. UPS Order Watch also facilitates improvements to inbound supply chain visibility by enabling a "single version of the truth" due to the entire value chain community, from ocean carriers to trucking companies, being linked to the host network as opposed to the common method in place today of electronic data interchange, or EDI, file exchanges. For more information on UPS Supplier Management services, visit UPS Solutions.