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SUPPLY CHAIN: In the meantime

Okay, so we all know that RFID is the Holy Grail of supply chain technologies, and that it will reach item-level implementation anywhere between five years and 15 years from now. Until this supply chain utopia arrives, however, a grocer still has a store to run and products to track along the supply chain.

Following are a few of the latest supply chain products and solutions released by some of the leading suppliers in the field.

PSC's Falcon 4620

PSC's Falcon 4620 is a wireless Windows-based vehicle-mount data collection computer, designed to maximize productivity and improve inventory accuracy in the warehouse and at the loading dock by enabling mobile, real-time data entry and visibility in harsh environments.

A military-specification design built to operate in temperatures as low as -30 degrees Celsius makes the Falcon 4620 resistant to damage from dust, moisture, shock, vibrations, and temperature extremes. The wireless computer incorporates a 12.1-inch color touchscreen display in a compact model to provide easy, accurate data entry and readability indoors as well as out, and ensures adaptability to space constraints common with today's forklifts.

The 4620 features a high-performance 800 MHz processor to handle complex data-processing applications. The integrated Ethernet allows easy initial loading of applications and configurations.

Open Manugistics release

Manugistics release 7.1 is built on J2EE open standards for application development, application-to-application integration, portal connectivity, and business process management. It's Web-client architected and meets scalability requirements.

The product delivers:

•Interoperability: Web services and real-time APIs reduce integration costs and improve synchronization with heterogenous systems.

•Flexibility: The 7.1 suite is highly configurable at the user interface, business logic, and data levels, decreasing migration costs and minimizing required business process changes.

•Scalability: The Manugistics 7 series has increased scalability, minimizing hardware costs and enabling real-time adaptive planning.

DCM Solutions CAO

DCM Solutions e-demand is a web-based, wireless tool for computer-assisted ordering that factors out-of-stocks as missed opportunities and considers future demand factors in the order calculation. Each product's historical sales and inventory trends are analyzed against future demand factors that are expected to either raise or lower the item's sales, such as the day of the week and out-of-stock time, along with a matrix of future variables such as local events and promotions.

UCCnet goes global

UCCnet, a not-for-profit organization that provides product registry, validation, and synchronization services, recently deployed its Data Synchronization Services release 2.2, which allows UCCnet subscribers to exchange and synchronize data with their trading partners on a global scale and across many new industry vertical markets.

The new schema-based technology complies with the new Global Data Synchronization Network standards, establishing a common electronic communication architecture for companies around the world to do business with each other more efficiently and effectively.

The new release also introduces several of the EAN.UCC System (a global standards system co-managed and administered by the UCC) schemas used to achieve data synchronization in and between industry verticals such as hardlines, apparel, and fast-moving consumer goods.

GNX measures performance

Global Net Exchange (GNX), a business-to-business marketplace for the global retail industry, has launched its GNX Performance Management solution designed specifically for retail. The solution allows retailers and manufacturers to quickly and easily share performance and benchmarking data with large numbers of trading partners, and enables a collaborative process for tracking and improving on key performance indicators.

By creating a standard way for retail trading partners to identify and correct areas of low performance, the solution can generate significant service-level improvements and cost reductions for both parties.

IBM collaboration framework

IBM offers an end-to-end Trading Partner Collaboration framework that brings together a combination of industry expertise, business process integration, collaboration middleware, and partner software applications to support strategic trading relationships by:

•Processing refinement and synchronization between trading partners;

•Processing implementation support through ISV applications and extensions to existing, unique client processes;

•Processing workflow and data management tools; and

•Accepting and deploying open industry standards.

Areas of business process focus within the TPC/EC are both the internal and collaborative aspects of trading partner relationship management, product lifecycle management, procurement, category management, and supply chain management.

SPS Commerce hosted services

SPS Commerce provides a suite of low-cost, hassle-free services as an alternative to traditional EDI software. These services include:

•File integration: Grocery suppliers can integrate their back-end ERP system directly to their trading partners' EDI systems, eliminating any manual processes or errors. SPS has prebuilt adapters for most of the popular ERP applications.

•WebForms: This no-software, low-priced option is developed for grocery suppliers that either don't have an EDI department or simply don't want to add an additional trading partner to their internal systems. The only thing required is an Internet connection.

•Fax and manual services: For grocery suppliers that choose to continue to use nonelectronic order processes, SPS can provide both fax and traditional mail conversion services.


mySAP Supply Chain Management (mySAP SCM) is part of the family of cross-industry solutions within the mySAP Business Suite platform that transforms traditional supply chains from linear, sequential steps into adaptive supply chain networks in which communities of customer-focused companies share knowledge and resources to intelligently adjust to changing market conditions.

Adaptive supply chain networks are designed to improve business visibility and enable dynamic collaboration throughout all supply chain processes, from supply chain design to material sourcing, forecasting demand, scheduling production, managing warehouses, and fulfilling transportation requirements. The adaptive capabilities provide improved flexibility and responsiveness while maintaining control of business processes.

Manhattan Associates offers transportation functionality

Manhattan Associates, Inc. has expanded the functionality in its transportation planning and execution (TPE) application, including increased shipment planning optimization and integration with its warehouse management systems suite, providing the market with a dynamic system for both the planning and execution of transportation and warehouse workflows.

With the TPE, costs can be minimized through the selection of the best transportation provider for each shipment, while the application dynamically executes transportation workflows, including strategic routing, cross-docking, load pooling, and zone skipping. The application also provides visibility into transportation processes, including real-time order and shipment status updates.

Manhattan Associates' TPE application provides customers with the key planning and execution functionality needed to optimize transportation throughout the supply chain, including:

•Automated shipment planning and tendering,

•Dynamic transportation optimization and execution capabilities, and

•Real-time order and shipment status updates from transportation providers that are dynamically executed against by Manhattan Associates' transportation optimization engine.
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