Many business process modeling and management technologies automated back-office functions such as procure-to-pay and invoicing. Apriso Corp. and i2 Technologies Inc. are taking a different approach with software targeted at managing business processes in a companys supply chain.
Apriso, of Long Beach, Calif., last week introduced a suite of software that automates business processes in a companys supply, production and distribution operations. FlexNet 2003 comprises distributed management applications that interact globally, in real time, to orchestrate, oversee and operate processes in production, quality management, maintenance, materials handling, receiving, fulfillment and labor management.
FlexNet 2003 has four main components: process design, process execution, metrics and analytics. Each component is implemented as a distributed Web service application to drive processes from start to finish and alert end users of issues.
Separately, i2 in December will release Version Six.One of its namesake supply chain software, which adds BPM (business process management) functionality in the Supply Chain Operating Services component.
i2 Six.One synchronizes processes between the planning and functional silos of a supply chain.
A Master Data Management module synchronizes a companys supply chain data with that of its partners and suppliers so that IT events are in line with business events. For the design and adjustment of business processes, a new BPE (Business Process Execution) tool provides a graphical workflow with drag-and-drop capabilities that enable companies to design and change business processes on the fly.
i2 Six user Nikhil Sagar, senior project manager at Whirlpool Corp., is interested in Six.Ones BPM capability. Collaborating on process design "is something that would be a value add," said Sagar, in St. Joseph, Mich. "Especially when it comes to [collaborative planning, forecasting and replenishment], there are a lot of process mapping sessions that come with that. When we start mapping, there are a lot of touch points between Whirlpool and a partner. A tool [such as BPE] would save us a few trips on some processes."