J.D. Edwards bolsters advance planning software

J.D. Edwards & Co. on Monday rolled out a significant upgrade to its advanced planning supply-chain software designed to boost corporate profits and extend collaborative commerce capabilities to partners with diverse technological capabilities.

Enhancements to Advanced Planning 4.0 include new scenario simulation capabilities to allow users to make strategic decisions, such as plant location, capacity allocation, and inventory levels, according to officials. In addition, the product features "Profitable-to-Promise" order promising, allowing sales personnel to weigh the financial impact of orders while on the phone with customers, said Ed Sitarski, vice president of advanced planning at J.D. Edwards.

"Profitable-to-promise allows users to evaluate various ways of fulfilling customer orders to obtain the most profitable order," he said. "It's really a profit discovery process ... where a user can weigh the advantages of a particular fulfillment scenario against customer service."

Another enhancement is designed to allow users to share supply-chain planning information using Microsoft Excel as an interactive reporting tool. To enable information sharing with a partner who only has Excel and e-mail capabilities, the software automatically extracts information into an Excel file, which can then be e-mailed to the partner, Sitarski said.

This feature allows smaller suppliers that don't have expensive collaborative commerce capabilities to be plugged into J.D. Edwards' real-time information capabilities, Sitarski added.

In addition, as part of the upgrade, a new application called Demand Consensus, which supports forward-looking collaborative forecasting processes will be available in January 2002. For example, users can take into account factors like currency fluctuation when planning manufacturing.

J.D. Edwards' new advanced planning software delivers new collaborative commerce capabilities in a solution that maximizes visibility into the entire supply chain, said Bruce Thornburg, vice president of business processes and technology at SalesLink, a supply-chain management company specializing in the high-tech electronics industry. SalesLink has seen a significant reduction in planning cycle time and inventory levels since implementing technology, he added.

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