Ironing Out Supply Chain Wrinkles

SupplyWorks, WorldChain manage inventories through collaboration.

Updated supply chain management software from SupplyWorks Inc. and WorldChain Inc. promise to let production professionals better manage inventories through collaboration with supplier partners.

SupplyWorks this week will release Version 3.0 of its SupplyWorks Max software, which adds a configurable rules engine that enables purchasing managers to optimize their material plans.

The upgrade includes features for advanced collaborative material planning, which lets buyers and suppliers communicate more effectively, resulting in more accurate shipments and the need to keep less inventory on hand, said officials from SupplyWorks, in Bedford, Mass. The Vendor Managed Inventory capabilities in SupplyWorks Max were enhanced to allow suppliers to monitor and manage orders based on exceptions to pre-defined rules. Version 3.0 supports bar codes and ASNs (advance shipment notices).

The ASN support appeals to the Tier 2 and Tier 3 suppliers that BorgWarner Morse TEC Inc. looks to connect to as it deploys SupplyWorks Max 3.0. "The ASN process is very good for them and for us," said Jackie Bangs, vice president of business systems and logistics at the automotive components manufacturer, in Ithaca, N.Y. "It means they will get paid on time; there wont be reconciliation issues getting in the way."

SupplyWorks Max 3.0 lets BorgWarner create electronic connections to suppliers that otherwise could not afford electronic data interchange links. "We have a complex business and are rapidly growing," Bangs said. "We wouldnt be able to achieve that growth [without automating those connections]."

Separately, WorldChain last week rolled out WorldChain 3.0, which will help move users away from traditional forecast-based push supply chain approaches to pull-based models. This enables a company and its supply chain partners to execute off the same customer demand signal, according to WorldChain officials, in Fremont, Calif.

Applicable for both discrete and process manufacturers, WorldChain 3.0 provides real-time visibility and execution management to synchronize order fulfillment and inventory replenishment across in-bound, fulfillment and service logistics networks.

The suite comprises WorldChain Network Platform, the WorldChain Network Inventory and Order Management BizPak application, and a WorldChain Network Repair Logistics BizPak application.

Each BizPak module includes best-practices policies, workflow templates and an automation tool kit. Additional 3.0 upgrades include an enhanced browser-based GUI that provides monitoring and navigation capabilities for real-time metrics, event reporting and resolution.