PeopleSoft, IBM Tightening Supply Chain Links

PeopleSoft and IBM are looking to help companies rein in complex supply chains.

PeopleSoft Inc. and ibm are taking different routes to help companies manage complex supply chains—the former with a software upgrade, the latter with a new research project.

PeopleSoft, of Pleasanton, Calif., this month will ship Version 8.8 of its namesake SCM (supply chain management) suite with new functionality to help manufacturers increase their agility in making goods and tracking customers orders.

For real-time analytics, PeopleSoft SCM 8.8 includes a new Manufacturing Scorecard that looks at throughput, inventory, quality and actual material costs, then delivers that information to a managers desktop. A Serial Genealogy component tracks specific parts within finished goods, helping manufacturers quickly identify products that may include a flawed set of parts.

To improve production planning, Version 8.8 has a Yield-by-Operation feature that accounts for materials lost during each stage of the manufacturing process. Upgraded promotion flexibility features enable users to efficiently manage trade promotions and measure success across specific channels, PeopleSoft officials said.

A self-service pricing tool in SCM 8.8 helps users adjust pricing for products to reflect changes in demand and shifts in marketing strategies.

Separately, IBM, of Armonk, N.Y., last week announced it is working with leading universities in its On Demand Supply Chain Research Laboratory program to facilitate the development of new supply chain methodologies and streamlined technologies.

The first manifestation of this program is an operational lab at The Eli Broad College of Business at Michigan State University, which has a degree program in supply chain management. The lab enables graduate students to use IBMs WebSphere Business Integration suite to model, simulate and monitor real-world supply chain scenarios.

IBM will expand the program to three additional universities including the Smeal College of Business at Penn State University, the W.P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University and Smurfit School of Business at University College Dublin. All four universities in the program will be linked via a computing grid for cross-university research.

"What we will do is make [the IBM software] better to use, more appropriate," said MSU business professor David Closs, in East Lansing. "Were not in the software development business, but on the other hand, what we know very well is how to make software tools easier to use."