Blue Agave Tackles Real-time Performance Management

New solution promises to give manufacturers insight into point-of-sale activity for early detection of demand trends

New solution promises to give manufacturers insight into point-of-sale activity for early detection of demand trends

Cambridge, MA — October 29, 2003 — Blue Agave Software this week launched what it is describing as a new generation of performance management applications to help manufacturers improve operating performance, enhance service levels and drive increased revenue and profitability based on up-to-the-minute insight into how their business is running.

Early adopters of the solution, including pet products company Hartz Mountain, already are claiming that the solution is helping them capture addition revenue and better meet customers' demands.

Blue Agave said its Active Performance Management (APM) suite achieves a long-sought vision of manufacturers: the presentation of precise information about business performance, guided resolution of potential operating problems in real-time and root-cause analysis that enables continuous improvement.

The provider said its solution would give consumer goods and electronics manufacturers access to information that can help them pinpoint and respond to sudden shifts in demand and supply that today result in late orders, lost revenue and higher costs.

This new problem-detection and -resolution capability can save manufacturers money by allowing them to leverage point-of-sale, demand and supply-related activity, Blue Agave said. The solution's value is its correlation of information across disparate systems to proactively identify potential problems and to provide recommendations in time to have an impact on today's business results, according to the software company.

Blue Agave's first release of the APM suite is intended to address a major challenge for consumer goods and consumer electronics manufacturers: meeting retailers' ever-tightening requirements for higher fill rates, near-perfect on-time delivery and lower overall costs.

Hartz Mountain has been using the first release of APM to avoid sudden short shipments of orders for its customers, thereby maximizing revenue for both customers and Hartz. "Customers like Wal-Mart, Target and Kroger are clearly leading the way in requiring suppliers to ensure near-100 percent fill rates, which we strive to achieve, regardless of how much demand suddenly peaks or drops," said Bill Martin, corporate vice president and chief operating officer at Hartz Mountain. "Blue Agave makes sure we stay ahead of the curve in a fast-moving business that shifts by the hour; the proof is that we've captured additional revenue and are able to meet today's demand for outstanding customer service."

"APM enables manufacturers and retailers to realize the true value of point-of-sale activity," said Martin. "Blue Agave will increase our forward visibility, providing us with critical information at the store level, including actual takeaway, promotional lift and execution issues in time for us to take action. The real dollar savings and additional revenue impact for manufacturers and their customers are substantial."

Blue Agave said that APM's three core applications — ActiveResponse, ActiveInsight and ActiveContinuous Improvement — provide a framework for identifying and resolving demand and supply issues, monitoring key aspects of the business against plan and providing the root-cause analysis needed to successfully drive ongoing improvement.

ActiveResponse, available today, identifies breakdowns — revenue at risk, orders at risk, stock-outs, excess inventory and material shortages — and produces recommendations to shift production, inventory, logistics or delivery rapidly and cost-effectively. The solution was designed to correlate data on a "right time" basis from relevant information sources — such as transaction, planning and execution systems, including both internal and external systems and data — and then to evaluate activity to identify, validate and resolve "exceptions" in key business processes.

These processes are defined by a rules-based system, which triggers calls to action when exceptions are identified. The solution routes exceptions to the appropriate analyst, planner or manager, and key contextual information is presented in the application's user interface. Prioritization, notification and delivery of exceptions are determined by parameters configured by the business user.

APM is a server-based application that can run on either Microsoft or Unix/Linux platforms. Each module can be deployed and delivering benefits in eight to ten weeks, according to Blue Agave.

For more information on the challenges of enterprise performance management in the age of real-time data, read "The Reality of Real-time Performance Management," the Net Best Thing column in the October/November 2003 issue of Supply & Demand Chain Executive.