JDE and Baan Bolster B2B Capabilities

Mid-market ERP developers J.D. Edwards & Co. and Baan are bolstering their software suites with new and enhanced B2B capabilities.

Two mid-market ERP [enterprise resource planning] developers, J.D. Edwards & Co. and Baan, are bolstering their software suites with new and enhanced business-to-business capabilities.

JDE, at its user conference in Denver this week, announced an update to its Demand Consensus module, collaboration enhancements to its Product Distribution Planning module and a new Tactical Network Optimization [TNO] module. The new software coincides with the release of JDEs ERP 8.0.

The enhanced Demand Consensus module has improved forecasting capabilities that combine human projections with historical data. TNO is basically JDEs Strategic Network Optimization [SNO] module re-architected for the mid-market with a simplified user interface for configuring supply chain models. TNO enables users to conduct what-if scenarios with the supply-chain network.

Repackaged with lower price points, TNO has about a 12-week implementation time, officials said.

Otis Spunkmeyer, a mid-sized company that makes cookies and pastries for fast-food establishments, has been using JDEs SNO module since last summer and its Demand Planning tool for the past three weeks.

With SNO, Otis went from about 4.3 weeks of inventory coverage to 3.8 weeks.

"What that means is we can reduce our inventory on hand by about 100,000 cases, which opens up a lot of opportunities," said Kevin Tyschper, manager of production and demand planning at Otis Spunkmeyer.

The company, based in San Leandro, Calif., is looking to implement JDEs ERP system.

Separately, Baan, a division of Invensys plc, is moving into the hotly contested product lifecycle management market with its announcement today of a new PLM strategy, business unit and products.

Extending its iBaan for PLM suite, Baan launched its iBaan Product Data Management, Lifecycle Analyzer, Product Packager and PartnerNet solutions.

The new software additions fit into Baans strategy of enabling the tracking, management and monitoring of products from design to manufacture to service, according to Susan Heystee, president, Baan Americas.

"Baan has built a reputation in the engineer-to-order sector, and product data management has always been a part of that," said Heystee from Baans press conference in Boston. "Going back two years ago, we saw the need for solutions to go beyond PDM, into a broader market that allows collaboration and a tighter control over that PDM information."

Baans iBaan PDM bridges the gap between an organizations CAD [computer aided design] and ERP [enterprise resource planning] environments with a data transmission component. The Lifecycle Analyzer tool, announced today, provides collaboration capabilities that help users determine the effect of change on various factors like cost, stock, production-line schedules and product quality.

PartnerNet extends Baans PDM software to a companys extranet, so customers, suppliers and partners can communicate better. The Product Packager allows users to transmit information on a need-to-know basis, and view information in a pre-determined format.

Baan also announced today that it will begin linking its customer relationship management software to its PLM offering.

"When you talk about PLM, you dont always link that with CRM. You just dont," said Heystee. "More and more, were seeing companies look to how they can conserve costs on the services and seals side, and carry that through on the configuration side, and link that through to the customer."

While both Baan and JDEs software announcements take them further away from their core ERP products, Baans Heystee said thats where opportunity lies.

"The enterprise backbone is always going to be part of our offering," said Heystee. "But companies right now are looking at leveraging the software they have now. Where there is a lot of growth is with companies that have gaps in their legacy ERP backbones. They still want to squeeze life out of that backbone, but they dont have functionality. For example, old ERP is missing collaboration, PLM, planning and execution."

Heystee said the next technology step is the real-time enterprise.

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