SCC Introduces Fixed-Price S&OP for SMBs

The newly unveiled Zemeter S&OP combines out-of-the-box software with business consulting to cover five phases of sales and operations planning for supply chain customers.

SCC (Supply Chain Consulting) is leveraging its experiences with big manufacturing firms to bring out a fixed-price S&OP (sales and operations planning) software and services offering specifically designed for small to mid-sized customers in similar industry spaces.

Introduced on Monday at the APCS 2005 show in Kansas City, SCCs Zemeter S&OP combines pre-configured, out-of-the-box software tools with business consulting services to cover all aspects of S&OP for SMBs, said Sujit Singh, SCCs vice president of supply chain solutions, in an interview this week.

"Were targeting mostly Tier II customers in process manufacturing industries such as food processing and chemical processing. But some Tier I companies will probably purchase [Zemeter S&OP], too," according to Singh.

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Until recently, the 12-year-old company has focused mainly on providing business process consulting to Tier I manufacturers around supply chain management. SCCs larger customers include Propex Fabrics, Inc. and Sunsweet Growers Inc., for instance.

"But we are [still] a consulting company, and Zemeter S&OP will include consulting services, too," said Singh.

As Singh sees it, most competing solutions are point products directed at only one or two aspects of S&OP, such as demand planning or inventory management, for instance.

Smaller manufacturers that dont use these supply chain products are still relying on paper-based approaches, or on Microsoft Excel spreadsheets.

Some industry analysts agree that SCCs new S&OP solution is more comprehensive as well as more flexible than most available today.

"Logility Inc. and OM Partners also have some S&OP support for those industries," said Julie Fraser, principal and industry analyst at Industry Directions, Inc.

Demand Works and John Galt Solutions, Inc. do, too, but only from the demand side, according to the analyst. SCC, Logility, and OM Partners each provide a unified data model.

/zimages/1/28571.gifClick here to read more about how disasters demand supply chain software, research shows.

"But where Zemeter S&OP is different is in offering a fixed price that includes phased and pay-as-you-go [consulting]," Fraser said.

Under SCCs approach, payments are fixed and tied to the successful completion of various steps in a five-phase process. These steps include understanding demand variability, analyzing inventory, demand process planning, balancing supply and demand, and sales and operations planning.

Each step is attached to quantifiable benefits, software deliverables, business process deliverables, and a fixed cost, according to SCCs Singh. Customers can implement either all five steps, or as many as they want,

"Expectations are set for each phase. So these mid-sized customers know what to measure and look for as they go along." Fraser said. "Peoples habits can be changed in a human-friendly time frame."

Also according to the Industry Directions analyst, SCCs new offering differs from most other S&OP solutions by including a constraint-based optimizer, for achieving a better balance between supply and demand.

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