SAP SCM enhancements seek to simplify partner ecosystem interactions

Adapting to changing market conditions is considerably easier said than done when the business network includes global employees, suppliers, customers, partners, and distributors. That's why SAP will release a next-generation supply chain management solution later this year, one that is being developed with customers to address supply chain responsiveness and integration with partner ecosystems.
By Jim Fulcher, contributing editor (jimfulcher@comcast.net) June 1, 2008

Adapting to changing market conditions is considerably easier said than done when the business network includes global employees, suppliers, customers, partners, and distributors.

That’s why SAP will release a next-generation supply chain management solution later this year, one that is being developed with customers to address supply chain responsiveness and integration with partner ecosystems.

According to Andrew White, a research VP with Stamford, Conn.-based Gartner , “As companies expand their operations globally and outsource production, they face the challenge of maintaining timely and accurate supply chain data. The more companies do to optimize their supply chain solutions to better collaborate with the various parties involved, the better positioned they become for long-term success.”

The latest release of SAP Supply Chain Management application will offer just such enhanced functionality for supply network collaboration, extended warehouse management, and enhanced planning.

“There’s no doubt that the biggest challenge for manufacturers today is globalization,” says Richard Howells, director of solution marketing organization for supply chain management, SAP. “A company must balance demand to keep inventory low while accommodating long lead times that come from using suppliers in other countries. The new SCM solution will be particularly appealing to companies facing those circumstances because it doesn’t mandate having an EDI infrastructure in place. Instead, it only requires use of a Web portal to enable suppliers to create Web-based invoices, which enable quicker response times.”

While the solution is targeted for a commercial mid-year release, it already is gaining favor among manufacturers conducting testing across many industries, Howells adds.

“High-tech leads the way because companies in that industry are so focused on leveraging IT investments as the means to reduce cost,” says Howell. “Pharmaceutical and food and beverage manufacturers also are using the solution to gain improved traceability across the supply chain. And because rising oil costs are having a significant impact on transportation, companies that require a high level of responsiveness to refine the supply chain are implementing the solution as well.”