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Supply Chain Management of Intuit Inc.

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Netra Shetty
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Supply Chain Management of Intuit Inc. - January 11th, 2011

Intrado Inc. is the leading supplier of 911-related support services in the United States. The company produces technology to inform emergency dispatchers of potentially lifesaving information, such as the identity and location of 911 callers. It serviced 221 million of 252 million 911 records in the United States in 2003, according to Investor's Business Daily. The company supports 200 million 911 calls a year.

Wire-based 911 services accounted for two-thirds of revenues in 2003. Intrado has developed Enhanced 911 systems for mobile phones to instantly inform emergency personnel of the location of 911 callers. Intrado also supplies emergency notification systems allowing public safety authorities to broadcast warning messages to residents of a specific geographic area. A project in development in late 2003 automatically alerts authorities in the event of a motorist becoming incapacitated.

Colorado Origins

Intrado was launched by George K. Heinrichs and Stephen M. Meer in 1979 as a part-time consulting business called Systems Concepts of Colorado Inc. (SCC). The founders were just 21 years old at the time. Meer was a former paramedic who also managed 911 technology for the Boulder County Sheriff's Department. Heinrichs was also a deputy there. The two turned in their badges to work for SCC full time in 1985. Heinrichs would become the company's chairman, president, and chief executive officer, while Meer served as vice-president and chief technology officer.

The original focus of the business was systems integration. An early product was jail management software. SCC launched a vitally important new product in 1986: database software for storing names and addresses of phone users for the purpose of informing emergency personnel. Enhanced 911, or E911, automatically displayed this information to dispatchers during 911 calls.

Changing Focus in 1993

In 1990, SCC landed its first venture capital backing, from Hill-Carman Ventures of Boulder. The company was renamed SCC Communications Corp. in 1993. It had 110 employees, and ended the year with $15.3 million in revenues. Inc. magazine put SCC on its list of fast-growing small companies.

According to the Denver Post, about this time, the company shifted to the business of managing data for its clients, rather than simply selling them computer platforms. SCC landed its first $100 million, ten-year contract in 1994. Chicago-based Ameritech and BellSouth were early clients. In 1996, SCC won a ten-year contract to maintain the E911 database for US West (later Qwest) of Englewood, Colorado, throughout a 14-state region.

Revenues were $27.1 million in 1996. By early 1997, reported the Rocky Mountain News, 100 million phone numbers were in E911 databases developed by SCC. The company's employment then stood at 240.

A war room called the SCC National Data Services Center monitored but did not directly handle incoming calls. It was located at SCC headquarters and backed up by 15 remote locations.

SCC then developed, in partnership with SignalSoft of Boulder, a system to identify the number and location of mobile phone callers. Providers, under an FCC mandate, had until April 1998 to install the technology, though they succeeded in getting this deadline extended. The first phase system used the position of cell phone towers to identify the location of callers. In early 1997, Meer told the Denver Post mobile phones accounted for 20 to 40 percent of 911 calls. AT&T Wireless Services, with more than seven million customers, contracted with SCC to provide E911 in 1997. SCC launched E911 cell phone service in Clark County, Washington, in April 1998. It caught on more slowly than expected. Only 2 percent of wireless phone users had enhanced 911 service in 1999, reported the Denver Post.

SCC also had developed the Computer Aided Dispatch system for tracking the location of emergency personnel. In July 1997, SCC sold this unit, which employed 50 people, to Anaheim, California-based Printrak International Inc.

1998 Initial Public Offering

SCC went public on the NASDAQ National Market System in June 1998 under the ticker symbol SCCX; 3.3 million shares were offered at $12 each. Part of the proceeds was earmarked to pay down a $4.6 million debt. By this time, the company had added MCI and Sprint PCS to its client list.

An Enhanced 911 system for wireless phones developed by SCC with SignalSoft and SnapTrack Inc. was tested in Colorado in August 1998. SnapTrack, based in San Jose, California, supplied the global positioning system (GPS) used to identify the precise location of the handset making the call. This was the second phase of E911. (The first phase traced callers to within a few hundred feet of a cell phone tower.)

SCC developed a new product, the IntelliCast Notification Service, to allow public safety authorities to broadcast warning messages to residents in a particular geographic area. The system helped evacuate parts of Boulder County, Colorado, during a series of forest fires in 2000.

Investor's Business Daily reported that SCC management brought in a Denver investor relations consultant, Genesis Select, in April 2000 to help gain some attention for the com- pany's languishing stock among institutional investors. It worked; within two-and-a-half years, eight analysts were following Intrado shares, and institutional ownership rose from 9 percent to more than 80 percent. Improved financials would help, though SCC posted a net loss of $9.5 million on revenue of $43.1 million in 2000. The company had 680 employees, most of them in Colorado.

Turning the Corner in 2001

In May 2001 SCC acquired Lucent's Public Safety Systems wireless 911 unit for $29.1 million, mostly in stock, plus future performance-based payments. There was little overlap, SCC CEO George Heinrichs told the Boulder County Business Report, and the assimilation of the new unit, whose 85 employees remained based in Chicago, went smoothly. The Lucent deal made SCC the undisputed market leader in 911 services. SCC was then renamed Intrado Inc. in June 2001; its NASDAQ ticker symbol became TRDO.

The September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the United States gave a new sense of urgency to the development of E911 to enhance mobile phones' potential as safety devices, as one FCC official described it to Investor's Business Daily. Phone number portability provided another market for Intrado, which developed products to spare long-distance carriers the costly mistake of billing the wrong local phone companies.

The company ended 2001 with about 700 employees. Revenues rose 81 percent to $78.2 million, and the company was again posting quarterly profits after nearly three years of losses. Investors noticed; Intrado had Colorado's best-performing stock in 2001, reported the Denver Post. Its 911 products were used by nearly 205 million subscribers. Intrado's sparkle was all the more dramatic against the backdrop of failed tech companies.

By the end of 2002, Intrado's IntelliCast Target Notification system was being used in more than 30 cities. In addition to warning residents of fire and weather emergencies, it was being used to broadcast instant alerts following child abductions. Intrado charged a setup fee between $25,000 and $200,000 depending upon the size of the city, reported the Rocky Mountain News, plus 20 to 25 cents per completed call.

In 2003, Intrado was beginning to offer the capacity to include callers' medical conditions in its E911 databases. Sales rose nearly 16 percent to $124.7 million in 2003, while net income was up 3.6 percent to $10.7 million.

Going into 2004, the company was working on technology to automatically inform authorities when the driver of a vehicle became incapacitated. Intrado was testing the system with the Houston Police Department.

In February 2004, the company went global by buying bmd wireless, a ten-year-old network messaging infrastructure firm based in Switzerland. Intrado paid $4.2 million in cash and 735,000 shares of stock for bmd, plus an additional amount of stock based on future performance.

Principal Subsidiaries: bmd wireless AG (Switzerland); Intrado Communications Inc.; Intrado Communications of Virginia Inc.; Intrado International Limited (Ireland).

Principal Divisions: Competitive Local Exchange Carrier (CLEC); Direct; Incumbent Local Exchange Carrier (ILEC); Wireless.

Principal Operating Units: Wireline; Wireless; New Markets.

Principal Competitors: HBF Group, Inc.; Independent Emergency Services, LLC; Openwave Systems Inc.; Sigma Communications Incorporated; TeleCommunication Systems, Inc.
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