Supply Chain Solution Upgrades

IPNet rolls out BizManager update, Oracle adds functionality to Supply Chain Management

Tempe, AZ  October 25, 2002  Two e-business solution providers this week unveiled updates to their respective supply chain offerings, with IPNet Solutions rolling out version 2.3 of its connectivity solution and software heavyweight Oracle touting the upgrade to its supply chain management application.

IPNet says its BizManager solution is aimed at simplifying the tasks required to manage a large number of diverse trading partners. Version 2.3 includes new configuration wizards and offers enhancements in message delivery notification (MDN) management, filtering, flexible routing, HTTPS client certificate authentication and Internet Message Access Protocol (IMAP) support.

The provider has added quick-start wizards  including those for sign-up, AS1 and AS2 setup and the addition of trading partners  to help simplify the initial configuration process. MDN management enhancements keep organizations abreast of message delivery status, and solution allows users to define different MDN timeout settings for each recipient party.

Version 2.3 also offers improved filtering and sorting options to ease the task of reviewing transaction information. Transaction filters, electronic data interchange (EDI) and MDN report filters, find functions and document screens enable users to sort by multiple originators, recipients, types and subtypes.

With the application, users can configure processing rules to access information from non-XML document types, such as EDI, EDIFACT or other proprietary formats. In addition, SSL/TLS client certificate authentication is now supported by the HTTP transports (AS2, NAESB, HTTP), as well as the FTP transport.

Finally, BizManager 2.3 supports the IMAP protocol, a method of accessing electronic mail or bulletin board messages on an e-mail server. IMAP permits a client program to access remote message stores as if they were local. For example, some organizations that use Lotus Notes as the e-mail server do not support POP3. The preferred way to access e-mail on Lotus Notes is via IMAP.

Additional BizManager 2.3 features include audit trail and failed operations management enhancements, FTP performance improvements and RC4 encryption support.

Meanwhile, Oracle says the enhancements to its Supply Chain Management solution, part of the provider's E-Business Suite, were designed to help businesses increase their supply chain efficiency by improving execution, collaboration and intelligence.

New supply chain execution products and capabilities in the solution include a warehouse management solution that supports directed picking and put away, automated task management, license plates, task interleaving, cartonization and mobile/RF devices. Oracle says its Transportation application enables companies to prepare and monitor shipments using its rules-based carrier selection, track and trace capabilities, and integrated freight rating.

In addition, the software company's field service management solution now includes two new field engineer optimization products: Advanced Scheduler and Mobile & Wireless Field Service. Advanced Scheduler is intended to automatically optimize field service engineer assignments based on skills, geographic location and parts availability to reduce operational costs and improve productivity of dispatched teams. Mobile and Wireless Field Service allows service engineers to send and receive information, handle exceptions and work more productively through persistently connected wireless support. The service management solution includes service parts logistics capabilities that the provider says can enable the timely movement of parts between field engineers and the warehouse, helping reduce service time and operational cost.

New collaboration products and capabilities include Collaborative Planning, which allows companies to share inventory levels, identify supply/demand mismatches and see supply constraints through a common portal integrated with Oracle's Advanced Planning solution. Collaborative Sourcing provides such tools as Internet auctions, request-for-quote and -information (RFx) support and supplier score carding.

Collaborative Manufacturing facilitates collaboration between suppliers and contract manufacturers for the production of highly configured products. Specifically, manufacturing partners can exchange a variety of operational details such as schedules, material availability, capacity, quality results, shipments and invoices from a common portal.

Finally, Oracle says that Supply Chain Intelligence comprises a collection of pre-built reports and analytics delivered through personalized portlets, allowing companies to tailor delivery of information by role to ensure the right information is presented at the right level to the right person.

The new capabilities are scheduled for availability next month.