Thought Leadership

How the retail supply chain was transformed

Just as the 21st Century was beginning, two startup companies formed a very unique relationship. The founders of both companies — Traverse Systems (previously Compliance Networks) and Mainstream Technologies — worked together in retail operations and IT support at a major department store. They were both retail practitioners who became IT providers.

Traverse Systems (  approached Mainstream Technologies ( to develop software for supply chain solutions that would disrupt the retail industry, saving large retail clients substantial amounts of money. Twenty years later, Traverse Systems has worked with Mainstream to develop industry-leading technology that is providing value to major customers including Burlington Stores, CVS Health, Tractor Supply Company, Neiman-Marcus & other Fortune 500 companies.

Richard Wilhjelm, Vice President of Traverse Systems, credits Mainstream with much of the Traverse success story: “Our business model can be characterized as a high-touch service. We provide technology, but we are consultants too. Mainstream has allowed us to provide that white-glove service to our customers. They are quick problem solvers with deep domain expertise, using real-world retail experience in both operations and IT. They are incredibly responsive and reliable. Their entire team is a true pleasure to work with.”

When asked about the impact of online retail, Wilhjelm noted an industry-wide prediction that the retail business is going to change more in the next 5 years than it has in the past 30 years. “What that means is you have to move and react quickly,” Wilhjelm said. “We are extremely agile and nimble in adapting to emerging trends in the marketplace, and we couldn’t do it without the support we get from Mainstream. We’re constantly evolving to meet the needs of the industry and Mainstream has helped us provide best-in-class supply chain solutions for two decades.”

Is there another disruption in the Traverse future? That remains to be seen, but they continue to innovate with a new product called Passport, a subscription service for vendors who work with retailers. Through advanced data and analytics, Passport will enable vendors to provide their retail customers with a higher level of service.

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