Module Puts Dollar Values on Supply Chain Elements

Optiant's forthcoming PowerChain Architect software helps manufacturers optimize their supply chains by placing a dollar value on attributes like supplier lead-time.

Optiant Inc. on Monday will announce PowerChain Architect, software that officials say will help manufacturers design and configure optimal supply chains – even as it sits on top of existing supply chain software.

PCA has a graphical user interface that maps out the end-to-end supply chain and brings data to bear that enables the collaborative design process, according to Optiant officials. The platform also enables the creation and testing of multiple scenarios before actual implementation.

PCA is the next offering in the PowerChain Suite launched in April. That suite offers a multi-stage optimization engine and a collaborative user interface.

The idea behind PCA is that manufacturers need to think about supply chain flexibility from the start, as they design supply chains. An optimization capability within PCA aligns decisions with business issues like reducing cycle time, selecting suppliers and vendors and implementing a postponement strategy, according to officials, in Somerville, Mass.

PCA also helps manufacturers select the best supplier by placing a dollar value on attributes like data and supplier lead-time in the automated decision-making process. This lets manufacturers assess certain tradeoffs by recommending a combination of vendors, manufacturing processes, distribution methods and supporting inventory strategies.

While PCA sounds suspiciously like supply chain optimization software, Optiant officials say the difference is in PCAs ability to monetize supplier criteria whereas other software offers a score card approach lacking qualitative rates to some specifications. PCA automatically inputs rates, bridging the gap between the sourcing process and the supply chain planning process, the officials said.