(Nov. 18) TORRANCE, Calif. — It’s finally here.

After several months of rumblings, Agribuys has released version 10.5 of its online trading platform, complete with a new name and several new capabilities.

Now known as Fresh Foods Link, the software package features expanded transportation management functions as well as a promotions management capability.

Laurence Sotsky, vice president of sales and marketing, said the name came about as a way to establish a brand identity for the Agribuys system.

“What we’re trying to imply with the name is that all different members in the supply chain can be linked together,” he said.

The system has been broken down into three trademarked modules: Order Link, Receiver Link and Logistics Link. Customers can purchase individual modules or the entire package.

The logistics module now features extensions that will allow grocery buyers to also become sellers and set up a complete wholesale channel for a variety of customers.

Functions have been added to the receiver module that will allow retailers to implement cross-docking operations for fresh food. Retailers can use the new incoming/outgoing inventory control feature to receive bulk produce, perform quality control inspections, and create smaller lots for shipments to branch stores or other customers.

Improvements to the quality control information flow have been added to the order module to ease communications between shippers and buyers. Sotsky said this would speed invoice reconciliation.

A promotions tracker system has been added as well that will allow retailers to tie pricing policies and inventories directly to their planned advertising programs. Sotsky said the system works by providing improved information flow within the logistics module allowing shippers to maintain adequate supplies for items that have been discounted or otherwise specially advertised.

Sotsky said Agribuys isn’t stopping there. Its offshore engineers are already working on Version 11 of Fresh Foods Link, which is planned to be released in the first quarter of 2003.

“Our offshore development capabilities are allowing us to roll out these releases as quickly as we do,” Sotsky said, referring to the company’s recently opened offices in Pule, India. “We’re working to get a new release out every quarter or every two quarters, depending on what our customers need.”

Sotsky said he isn’t worried about the rapid release of new versions adding to the confusion of potential customers.

“We just have to make sure that the enhancements that we make will be easily understood,” he said. “We’re always looking to make the product better, not looking to make it harder to use. “

For more information, visit www.-agribuys.com or call (877) 499-3052.