Webplan Enables Rapid Response to Supply Chain Issues

Data sharing software adds modules to help manufacturers anticipate and resolve supply chain problems.

In the world of supply and demand, manufacturers are working to bridge the gap between what is planned and what is re-ally happening. To help bridge that gap, Ottawa-based Webplan Corp., Tuesday announced version 7.3 of its RapidResponse software that helps manufacturers to anticipate supply chain issues, review alternatives and align operations accordingly.

The architecture behind RapidResponse enables users to connect to both front- and back-end systems to support a flow of information across multiple sites—a capability that allows Agilent Technologies Inc. to connect its supply chain data to its contract manufacturers backend systems.

"In the past, Webplan was rolled into our back-end Oracle Corp. system (for demand forecasting). Now our outsourcer does all the planning," said Brent Hunter, CSTD materials manager at Agilent. "We disconnected from Oracle and integrated into our manufacturers backend system, and we use Webplan as a bridge. Now we have direct visibility into what our contract manufacturer is driving with our supply base."

Version 7.3 of RapidResponse includes three new modules to further help users respond to supply chain issues. Those in-clude Active Spreadsheets, a Resolution Engine and a Live Scorecard capability.

The Active Spreadsheets provides a live data feed into backend systems, including ERP (enterprise resource planning), product lifecycle management) and warehouse management systems. It also provides an AlwaysOn Analytics capability that en-ables users to analyze data based on real-time information and ERP algorithms, Webplan officials said.

The Resolution Engine provides what Webplan refers to as iterative modeling capabilities that enable users to share supply chain planning alternatives.

The Live Scorecard, on the other hand, enables users to compare alternative what if scenarios, based on up-to-the-minute information. What the Live Scorecard will do for Agilents Hunter is enable him and his contract manufacturer to work together more effectively.

"Contract manufacturers know a big part of their business is getting beat up by OEMs and we really need to get away from that," said Hunter, in Loveland, Colo. "We need to be unbiased and thats what Live Scorecard is going to allow because its purely data driven."