The concept of demand chain management, or DCM, is taking hold with supply chain software vendors, according to Jeff Brown, SCM product marketing manager with Baan, a division of London-based Invensys. His company has combined its CRM and SCM business units, for example, and is currently developing customer-facing portals for rollout with future supply chain software implementations.
“One of the things we recently developed was a prototype for a major cell phone manufacturer that will only be doing assembly,” Brown told CRM Buyer Magazine. “They will get forecasts from their customers and immediately pass that information through to suppliers.”
Staying in the Sweet Spot
According to Brown, Baan is targeting its iBaan for Supply Chain Management portfolio of applications toward its traditionally strong “sweet spot” — very large and upper mid-size enterprises in the automotive, electronics, industrial machinery, and aerospace and defense industries.
The average ticket price for an implementation — including software and services — ranges from low six figures in mid-size companies or enterprises with one or two facilities, to multimillions in the largest companies that have scores of facilities and thousands of users.
Single Data Structure
For companies that use Baan’s ERP system, said Brown, implementing one or many modules of the SCM portfolio is a natural move because all applications sit on top of a single data repository.
And AMR Research analyst Louis Columbus applauded Baan’s recent initiatives. “Baan is in earnest relaunching its supply chain and product life cycle management (PLM) applications and unifying them with CRM in a single data model,” he told CRM Buyer, adding that “the concept of a single data model for CRM, SC and PLM has a lot of merit to it.”
Going forward, all Baan SCM applications will be built on the OpenWorldX platform, expected to launch in early 2003. OpenWorldX combines, enhances and extends Baan’s integration, information and collaboration technologies, which include OpenWorld, DEM, B2B Server, Business Intelligence Server and Enterprise Server, the company said.
For scheduling processes, Baan offers Supply Chain Planning, an application that focuses on the functions needed by multisite manufacturing and distribution organizations.
Baan categorizes its SCM planning applications into three groups. For strategic planning, it offers Supply Chain Designer, which helps enterprises establish the locations and missions of facilities, Brown said. The application intended to address tactical planning issues is Supply Chain Coordinator — a tool for helping companies meet customer demand with existing facilities. On the operational planning level,Baan offers a group of transportation and logistics apps that are based on software developed by CAPS Logistics. To manage supplier relationships, Baan includes e-procurement, sourcing and analytics applications in its SCM suite.
By combining partner-facing and customer-facing tools, Baan is placing itself squarely in the camp of vendors embracing a larger view of integrating front- and back-office functions. And, as an ERP vendor, it has the luxury of being able to do so without significant upheaval in its product line.
This is a different approach from that of the largest supply chain software specialists. For example, Manugistics senior vice president Lori Mitchell-Keller told CRM Buyer that her firm intends to continue to combine the supply and demand chains; however, the company does not currently offer ERP software and has no plans to do so.