J.D. Edwards Courts Manufacturers, Verticals

Software upgrades aim to automate more of the business processes of the company's manufacturing customer base.

J.D. Edwards & Co. at its Quest User Conference this week rolled out a broad slate of upgraded software targeted to automate more of the business processes of its manufacturing customer base, including those that use the iSeries server platform.

Key upgrades in J.D. Edwards 5, due next quarter, revolved around supply chain management and adding functionality for vertical industries, said Lindley Hensarling, group vice president for product management, in Denver.

An updated Engineering Project Management module aggregates information on products made to specific customer specifications in a way that J.D. Edwards officials said would maximize profits.

Among the dozens of other new features are capabilities for configuration management, production and distribution planning, demand forecasting, product variants management and advanced cost accounting.

The Logistics Management module in J.D. Edwards 5 features a new cross docking functionality.

J.D. Edwards user Leah Hansen, application manager at Canwell Distribution Ltd., said the enhancements relating to managing pricing information for sales representatives would be helpful to her company, a building materials distributor. In addition, she welcomed enhancements in the purchasing module that will automate the process of tracking supplier rebates.

The software sends supplier purchase information "right through to the [general ledger]," said Hansen, in Vancouver, British Columbia. "Right now we are doing that manually."

For vertical industries, J.D. Edwards introduced such new features as the ability for consumer packaged goods companies to better handle marketing promotions and to track goods by lot number. Lot tracking would also be useful for life sciences companies, Hensarling said.

The enhancements "shore up what [vertical industries] we already have," Hensarling said. "Youll see our wholesale distribution vertical getting more active in the future."

Early in the week, J.D. Edwards Chief Executive Bob Dutkowsky addressed customers on the reasons he favored a merger with PeopleSoft Inc., and why he thought an Oracle Corp. takeover of PeopleSoft was a bad idea.

Also at the show, J.D. Edwards announced the following:

  • an offering to help companies comply with the Sarbanes-Oxley financial reporting law
  • a rapid implementation program for users of iSeries, xSeries and ProLiant servers
  • a package of J.D. Edwards and IBM software targeted for small and medium-sized businesses.