IBM has joined forces with i2 Technologies, the leading supply-chain software company, in an alliance that wraps Big Blue's consulting and systems integration services around i2's planning, scheduling, and Internet-based fulfillment software. IBM's Global Industries group, based in White Plains, N.Y., and i2, headquartered in Irving, Tex., also will share efforts in areas of supply-chain marketing and research. "This partnership marks IBM's entry into the supply-chain market in a far more deliberate and coordinated fashion," says Bill Paulk, vice president of supply-chain solutions in IBM's Global Industries group. "We plan to use our relationship with i2 as a cornerstone to deliver total supply-chain solutions to clients." One of the companies that chose the IBM/i2 combination for supply chain is Delta Faucet. "We were hoping to get a product that would help us leapfrog the competition and get out ahead of the market," says Steve McFarland, CFO at Delta Faucet. "We've seen firsthand the benefit of combining IBM's end-to-end capability, from business consulting on the front end to systems integration on the back end, with i2's advanced functionality." i2 president Greg Brady said the joint services-software offering will make things simpler for manufacturers looking for solutions. "In the past, customers have had to invest excessive time and resources evaluating and choosing among multiple vendors rather than focusing on business performance improvement," he adds.