Revving the Supply Chain

PeopleSoft, Optiant updates focus on performance.

PeopleSoft inc. and Optiant Inc. are each offering software upgrades that take a performance-driven approach to supply chain planning and management.

PeopleSoft, of Pleasanton, Calif., last month announced the general availability of its namesake SCP (Supply Chain Planning) 8.8, which uses a centralized data warehouse that combines planning, performance management and operational systems.

At the same time, Boston-based Optiant announced the next iteration of its own PowerChain platform, which helps manufacturers tie supply chain decisions to their financial impact.

SCP 8.8 has three new applications: Demand Planning, Inventory Policy Planning and Supply Planning. With 14 new forecasting algorithms, Demand Planning enables companies to create demand forecasts based on statistical analysis of demand history, causal factors such as events and promotions, and input from employees and trading partners.

Inventory Policy Planning allows organizations to strategically manage inventory by creating "what-if" scenarios to compare current inventory policies with alternative policies—and then compare the costs.

Supply Planning aligns purchases and production capacity. At the same time, tight integration with Demand Planning enables users to create schedules that are tied to forecast events.

Optiants PowerChain 4.5 comes with cash-to-cash cycle time features, which measure the time from which materials are purchased to when money is recouped through a product sale. Also new is enhanced import/export integration with Microsoft Corp.s Excel, advanced planning systems and enterprise resource planning systems.

PowerChain 4.5 includes three new modules: PowerChain Inventory, Architect and Echelon. Inventory establishes optimal inventory targets and policies. Architect designs optimal supply chain configurations, material sourcing, manufacturing processes and distribution methods. Echelon allocates production and warehouse capacity across products.

With PowerChain 4.5, companies can design supply chains with built-in flexibility to meet customer service levels and disruptions in supply chains. At the same time, rather than compete with existing enterprise resource management and advanced planning systems, PowerChain works with those systems, officials said.