Optiant Squeezes More Efficiency Out of Supply Chains

New software links processes, profits.

Developers are readying software with new functionality to enable corporations to squeeze more efficiency out of their supply chains and tie their performance to Wall Street earnings expectations.

Optiant Inc., of Burlington, Mass., this week will announce Power Chain Summit, a software module that links corporate goals for profitability and market share to a supply chain strategy.

Part of Optiants Power Chain suite, Power Chain Summit identifies areas in the supply chain that affect corporate metrics. Those areas are converted into initiatives that can be evaluated and prioritized. At the same time, the software determines the business value associated with implementing supply chain initiatives by calculating an initiatives corresponding increase or decrease of cost, service or time-related metrics.

Power Chain Summit, due next month, determines each initiatives time and resource requirements and evaluates initiatives across the supply chain, officials said.

The Power Chain suite includes three modules in addition to Summit. Power Chain Inventory establishes optimal inventory targets and policies to rein in inventory costs. Power Chain Architect is used to design optimal supply chain configurations, material sourcing, manufacturing processes and distribution methods. Power Chain Echelon allocates production and warehouse capacity across products to help balance production efficiencies and inventory targets.

A manager of global inventory deployment for a large Midwestern manufacturer that is testing Power Chain Summit said it addresses specific requirements he has.

"Summit [provides] a quick and easy way to understand the impact of different projects on your inventory needs in the supply chain—or for that matter, your service needs," said the manager, who asked that his company not be named. "So if an executive calls me and says, Give me a working cost analysis of going from supplier A to supplier B, I can, with a few quick clicks of a mouse, give a very, very accurate answer."

Also this week, partners KPMG LLP, of New York, and SeeCommerce, of Palo Alto, Calif., will announce their SeeRisk software and services offering, which helps companies monitor risks and controls along the supply chain.

SeeRisk provides nine modules to help companies determine tolerances that have been breached around specific metrics and then to act on those breaches.

For example, if sales are below expectations for a particular product line, SeeRisk will alert the chief financial officer that specific targets will be missed. The software provides color-coded screens that enable users to drill down on alerts to find the root causes, and a Web-based collaboration tool lets users collaborate with partners and suppliers for issue resolution.

Information such as demand chain data and business applications information can be culled from any back-end system, SeeCommerce officials said.