SAP Upgrade Sparks Industry Supply Chains

An enhanced version of SAP's mySAP SCM software suite, which was announced at CeBIT 2002, includes industry-specific functionality for enhanced planning capabilities in targeted vertical industries.

Enterprise software giant SAP AG is targeting a number of vertical industries with an enhanced version of its mySAP SCM software suite.

The supply chain management software upgrade, which SAP introduced this morning at the CeBIT 2002 trade show in Hannover, Germany, includes industry-specific functionality for enhanced planning capabilities in the high-tech, automotive, chemical, pharmaceutical, consumer packaged goods, oil and gas and mill products markets.

The latest updates to the SAP advanced planning and optimization suite come as part of the e-business platform, and will begin shipping later this month, according to officials of the Walldorf, Germany, company.

The new capabilities of mySAP SCM combine generic planning functionalities with industry-specific features.

The high-tech offering, for example, provides a capability-to-match feature with descriptive characteristics that enable companies to set up multi-tier supply network models with demand prioritization. Multi-level available-to-promise lets users determines material availability at the component and finished goods levels across operations, while taking substitution choices into account.

The multi-level allocation capability enables companies to optimize revenue in complex scenarios. In the area of supplier network collaboration, new inbound scheduling agreements enhance visibility in both directions and collaboration, which improves exception-based planning.

For the automotive vertical, a mix-model feature enables high-volume, configurable product on the same line or line network. A real-time backflush and supply-to-line feature enhances inventory visibility and utilization, which allows lean manufacturing processes, according to SAP officials.

For mill products, a multi-order planning feature helps mill operators optimize utilization of stock on hand by optimizing initial cuts and allocating remnant and off-cut material to demand> New block scheduling incorporates industry best practices to increase planning efficiency.

Added functionality for the chemicals industry includes sales order oriented planning, which optimizes short-term planning. An extended campaign planning feature improves production and asset utilization.

An enhanced safety stock planning capability helps the pharmaceuticals industry reduce safety stock levels while managing forecasting and supplier problems, SAP officials said.

For the oil and gas vertical, critical stock levels functionality enhances visibility to tank levels, helping to improve inventory management and asset utilization. An extended vehicle master data capability improves accuracy of bulk movements.

A promotion planning and integration feature for consumer packaged goods makers links demand chain information to supply chain planning. At the same time, supplier network collaboration features for these companies enhance their visibility in both directions to improve exception-based planning.

Separately, Sun Microsystems Inc. and Manhattan Associates Inc. today announced a joint marketing and business development alliance to deliver extended supply chain execution solutions to manage distribution center operations.

Under the terms of that agreement, Manhattan Associates PkMS supply chain execution offering and the engine behind it – the x-SCE platform – will be supported by Suns Solaris Operating Environment, according to officials at Sun, in Palo Alto, Calif., and Manhattan, in Atlanta. PkMS enables the movement of goods and their associated data flows through the supply chain.

This is not the first time the two companies have worked together. For the past five years Sun and Manhattan Associates have worked together as part of their iForce Community. Joint customers include Innotrac Corp., Salant Corp., Russ Berrie and Company Inc. and Perry Ellis International Inc.