Next up for SAP ES Community: supply chain execution, value-added network solutions

New players in SAP's Enterprise Services Community include tried-and-true vendors of supply chain execution (SCE) and reverse logistics solutions; as well as providers of network services that automate supply chain communications. Members of the community are committed to a common business language that enables software applications and infrastructure products running on disparate systems to co...

By Jim Fulcher, contributing editor August 1, 2007

New players in SAP ‘s Enterprise Services Community include tried-and-true vendors of supply chain execution (SCE) and reverse logistics solutions; as well as providers of network services that automate supply chain communications.

Members of the community are committed to a common business language that enables software applications and infrastructure products running on disparate systems to communicate within an enterprise service-oriented architecture (enterprise SOA).

According to Warren Sumner, a company VP with SCE solutions supplier and ES Community partner ClearOrbit , SAP’s ecosystem offers a great deal of value for users. ERP has come to be known as the single source for enterprise truth, and, essentially, services carve up an even larger ecosystem into pieces that niche solution providers can address, he says.

“This is a great business model that’s proving very valuable to customers because the result is they get a much more robust and tailored solution that meets their business requirements,” says Sumner. “For example, seamless transition between systems means manufacturers aren’t forced into deciding between expensive customization or using two systems that don’t work well together.”

Case-in-point is ClearOrbit’s new Compliance Label Manager (CLM) software, which complements SAP enterprise supply chain solutions. CLM has advanced bar-code capabilities for inbound items from suppliers and internal warehousing/manufacturing operations; and outbound items for shipping, distribution, and logistics.

CLM also enables companies to define and manage bar-code and label formats without incurring the expense and maintenance of custom programming. It supports industry-compliant labels to meet customer and regulatory requirements.

Arlington, Texas-based Doskocil , a manufacturer of Petmate products, is using CLM to create bar-code labels for most customers, as well as embedded smart tags for customers such as Wal-Mart. With CLM, Doskocil can configure rules to define the content and type of label formats and tags, allowing dynamic selection based on customer, ship-to location, material type, or any number of additional criteria.

“ClearOrbit has been helping us leverage bar-code technology to enable customer compliance and optimize supply chain operations,” says Roy Gallagher, director of IT for Doskocil. “CLM promises to be a great option for companies seeking to deploy bar-code functionality quickly and easily.”

Seeburger , another SAP co-innovator and new ES Community partner, offers value-added network (VAN) services for companies using its Seeburger SAP XI EDI adapter to automate supply chain communications with trading partners. The service allows global businesses to consolidate VAN contracts with a single provider, eliminating the need to negotiate and manage multiple VAN contracts.

“Companies are using SAP XI to consolidate their application infrastructure,” says Scott Lewin, president and CEO of Seeburger. “Now they can [tap into] our partnership with SAP as the means to consolidate their e-business translation and communications infrastructure. Having one point of contact simplifies administration and lowers the total cost of ownership.”

The option to contract with Seeburger for VAN service extends the benefits of using the Seeburger EDI adapter—an add-on to the SAP NetWeaver technology stack—to automate business processes with trading partners without a stand-alone EDI system or mapping solution, Lewin says. The adapter’s native integration with SAP XI delivers seamless operation with the XI mapper and other XI tool sets required to convert business documents from industry standards into the XML/SOAP-based format used by SAP NetWeaver.