Users left in the dark by Ability withdrawal

Channel players using supply chain software from Ability and its predecessor Masterpack have been left without support after the...

Channel players using supply chain software from Ability and its predecessor Masterpack have been left without support after the company pulled out of the UK market.

Ability's customer list includes such players as Watford Electronics, Action Computer Supplies and distributor Orchid UK.

The company's South Africa-based parent company, Ixchange, issued a statement to the stock exchange in its home territory saying it had closed down its UK operation because of a "poor economic outlook".

"Although the region performed to target, the outlook is poor. Therefore, while the US and UK operations have performed according to expectations, Ability considers it more strategic to retain its Atlanta headquarters," the statement said.

Derek Kreunen, CEO of Ixchange, assured MicroScope that Ability CEO John Buys was to meet with UK managing director Angela Lovegrove to discuss the issue of ongoing support for customers.

"Provision is being made to offer support to users," Kreunen said.

But James Twigg, finance director at Orchid UK, which bought a system from Ability last month, said he had not even been told the company had closed down.

"We're supposed to be going live on 1 June and this is the first I've heard of it," he said.

One industry insider said companies which had been using the older Masterpack systems were less likely to be affected by any lack of support because any problems had been sorted out.

"The company only signed two deals, so it didn't have anything to build on," another source claimed.

Ability is understood to have employed between 20 and 30 people in the UK.

Dominic Hall

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