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IBM Supply Chain Tool Cuts Costs

IBM has unveiled a consulting tool that allows companies to reduce both costs and carbon dioxide emissions in their supply chains.

The offering -- which IBM (NYSE: IBM) calls the Supply Chain Network Optimization Workbench, or SNOW -- comes as companies are under pressure to both slash expenses amid a slumping global economy and reduce impact on the environment.

Built with IBM-branded software, SNOW helps clients review the number of distribution centers they need and decide whether to do manufacturing themselves or through a third party.

In a test, Chinese shipper and logistics company COSCO Ltd used the system to reduce the number of distribution centers it uses to 40 from 100, lowering costs by 23 percent and cutting carbon dioxide emissions by 15 percent, IBM said.

"When you improve the overall efficiency of a system you can almost automatically lower cost, waste, and environmental impact," Eric Riddleberger, head of IBM's business strategy consulting practice, said in a statement.