Sunday, January 3, 2010

New Vallejo downtown software business will be adding workers

New downtown business will be adding workers
By Rachel Raskin-Zrihen/Times-Herald staff writer
Posted: 01/03/2010 12:00:34 AM PST

Anand Ayar says he and his team have built the proverbial better mousetrap and expect the world to beat a path to their Vallejo door -- and that means local jobs.
"We'll be hiring aggressively in the coming year," said Ayar, 48, owner of SKUforce, Inc., a merchandise storage and tracking software manufacturer headquartered in downtown Vallejo since November. "Depending on how it goes, we'll probably start with a dozen people and go from there."
Local job-seekers with computer software and entrepreneurial knowledge likely will be given preference at SKUforce, he said.
"Educated, tech-savvy, is what we'll need," Ayar said. "Also sales, marketing and development."
The firm, which developed the software program, employs six in its Georgia Street office -- more than 20 in all its offices combined, Ayar said. The firm has facilities in Chicago, Houston and New Delhi, Ayar said.
"We built a platform for a private cloud," business development director Steven Thompson said. "It's the wave of the future for managing product information."
SKUforce makes a software program that helps manufacturers, distributors, suppliers and retailers store merchandise information in one place, said Thompson, a Vallejo native living in Walnut Creek. This will save them money and time and increase revenue, he said.
"There's too much information for most companies to keep track of, on multiple, dispersed databases," Thompson, a 1975 Vallejo High School graduate, said. "They lose sales and it costs a tremendous amount of money to tack down lost items. SKUforce provides a cloud, or platform that sits above all that data, and puts it into a single, global repository of the truth."
It's not the only program seeking to do this, but it is "the most elegant solution, and the only one that's Web-based and in real time," he said.
SKUforce is already being used by several large firms like Starbucks, Southern Wine & Spirits of America Inc., and clothing manufacturer Lowepro, Thompson said.
SKUforce will do for merchandise tracking what online banking did for that industry, Ayar said.
"It's about ease of use, efficiency. What (the Multiple Listing Service) did for real estate. It's hard to imagine the world without that now." he said. "It's like that."
Ayar, a Vallejo resident originally from India, said he was "the architect," of the idea behind the software, which took three years to develop.
His buying a house on Mare Island is one reason the firm is headquartered here, he said. Easy ferry access and reasonable commute times to the East Bay and across the bay didn't hurt either, he said.
"I've been in the industry for more than 20 years, mostly in Marin County," Ayar said. "I bought a house on Mare Island and I love it. It has great views. It's a wonderful house -- calm, serene, tranquil and peaceful. Maybe that's how I came up with the idea -- meditating in the yard."
The price of office space in Vallejo also helped, Thompson said.
"Office space values here are the best in the Bay Area, and Vallejo is convenient for everyone, it's centrally located for us," he said.
In any case, Ayar said he "saw a gaping hole" in the workings of the "supply chain," and developed something to close it.
Now that SKUforce is operational, company officials are working "to get the word out, and get people to join our team," Ayar said. "We plan on staying here for a while."
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Contact staff writer Rachel Raskin-Zrihen at (707) 553-6824 or