SAP Debuts Automated Supply-Chain Management Tools

SAN MATEO (04/11/2000) - Responding to customer demands for automated channel management tools, SAP Inc. has debuted the SAP Distributor/Reseller Management (DRM) package for supply chain management, targeting the high technology industry.

The SAP DRM part of mySAP.com, is "heavily reliant upon" the R3 modules of the SAP ERP (enterprise resource planning) suite, and has been designed to be used by suppliers and resellers, said Linda McKee, Regional Industry Group consultant for SAP. "This is an area we needed to more fully support," McKee said.

The DRM package is meant to replace manual systems through the automation of such processes as ship and debit claims and price protection, McKee said. The DRM software can be used for demand and pricing perspectives as well as data processing via the channels.

"It will conform with the RosettaNet standards," Mckee said, referring to the XML-based standards of the RosettaNet consortium for the high technology industry. "We do anticipate being 100 percent RosettaNet compliant."

High technology is the first target for this offering because of the complex life cycles of products and the heavy usage of distributors in that industry, McKee said.

"We are getting a great deal of interest from other industries," she added.

However, SAP may need to be more proactive in future releases of DRM if it wants to make the offering more appealing, said Dave Boulanger, an analyst with AMR Research in Boston.

While DRM handles well back-end processing for claims processing, Boulanger said he was expecting this package would fit into an overall framework that would facilitate planning, data analysis, a repository, and collaborative forecasting. These factors become especially important for industries such as consumer packaged goods.

"If you took a product, well thought out from beginning to end, you could use this in other industries. ... You'd be solving major problems," said Boulanger, who expects that future releases will offer far more proactive capabilities.

"We don't see much penetration beyond the SAP installed base."

Also, SAP has taken about two years to deliver DRM. "But timeliness has always been the issue," Boulanger said. "It's taking them too long."

SAP DRM will be generally available on May 31 as a separate 4.6B R/3 server, which is interoperable with enterprise solutions on either 4.0B or 4.6B versions. SAP DRM can also be installed with a R3 4.6B enterprisewide implementation as well.

SAP America Inc. is based in Philadelphia and can be reached at www.sap.com.

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