i2 Technologies’ Supply Chain Management suite is designed to function as an end-to-end solution that spans planning, execution, collaboration and event management. The suite comprises strategic planning (months to quarters), demand and supply planning (weeks to days), and supply-chain execution (hours to minutes).
According to the company, the suite offers the following advantages to users:
i2’s target markets consist of the automotive, consumer goods, technology (computer, communications, semiconductors, etc.), industrial, metals, paper, retail, service management and soft goods industries, among other vertical sectors.
The company claims its collaboration solution is the only proven scalable offering integrated with RosettaNet standards for the high-tech sector; collaborative planning, forecasting and replenishment standards for retail; and just-in-time requirements for the automotive industry.
Managers can design and validate supply-chain strategy before deployment, according to i2. Businesses can collaborate with trading partners on demand planning and achieve consensus on forecasts.
The i2 Supply Chain Management suite is currently available.
Executives at i2 say the last thing their customers need in today’s tough business climate is a cookie-cutter approach to supply chain management. Although i2 touts its industry-specific templates serving a wide swath of verticals, the company is focusing increasingly on the needs of individual customers within those markets.
“Each customer is looking to adopt best practices to optimize revenue and profits,” explained Andy De, i2 director of solutions marketing for SCM. “Customers need visibility and the right pieces of the puzzle to meet demand. They also need help slashing costs and inventory.”
Distributed Order Management
As i2 prepares future SCM offerings and advances its customer-friendly theme, the company plans to integrate distributed order management, events management and inventory management into a single solution.
Distributed order management solves the logistics nightmare of integrating orders from diverse divisions of a single company. “Distributed order management is the Holy Grail of the CRM concept of managing orders with one face to the customer,” De said.
i2 is jointly developing distributed order management with select customers.
Events management, also in development at i2, will offer software and logic via e-mail, cell phone or other means to alert customers to possible events before they happen.
“This is a huge opportunity,” De said. “i2 is the only supplier offering inventory planning and execution with events management.”
At a time when i2 — as well as its customers — continues to feel the bite of the tech industry downturn, the company is committed to getting such programs up and running and scrutinizing others, said Ann Grackin, vice president of supply chain at AMR Research.
Covering the Bases
Although i2’s service-parts planning business was not a stellar performer in the past, the company’s soul-searching to improve its customers’ bottom lines along with its own has led it to remain in that market, Grackin said. AMR has identified service-lifecycle management as one of the next hot software markets and service-parts planning as a significant subsector.
“Service-parts planning is an exciting area, especially now, when companies are concerned about preserving the life of their large capital assets,” De said.
i2’s service-parts planning offerings address the strategic, tactical and transactional aspects of MRO (maintenance, repair and operations) and aftermarket parts management, as well as part-demand forecasting, inventory management and returns management.
“There are few SCM markets that i2 isn’t in,” Grackin said.
The company competes with the likes of Manugistics, Oracle, PeopleSoft and SAP, as well as niche players like Adexa and Webplan.