ILOG Aims to Help Manufacturers Customize Off-the-shelf Apps

Enabler debuts "Extension Solution" to let companies tailor software to meet unique business requirements

Enabler debuts "Extension Solution" to let companies tailor software to meet unique business requirements

Mt. View, CA — October 29, 2003 — Solution provider ILOG today rolled out a new optimization solution designed to give manufacturers the opportunity to cost-effectively tailor their installed off-the-shelf software applications to address the unique requirements of their business.

ILOG said its Real Time Optimization (RTO) Extension Solution combines its business rule management systems (BRMS), optimization and visualization product suites with professional services to deploy industry-specific best practices and help companies get better use of the technology they already have in place.

The provider is positioning the Extension Solution as an alternative to more expensive customization projects or complex best-of-breed implementations. "The tailored solution helps businesses respond more quickly to customer needs, improve decision-making speed and ability, and accelerate returns on their existing technology investments," the company said in a statement.

"For years, companies have tolerated a gap between the functionality provided by standard software packages and what they needed to achieve a true competitive edge," said ILOG Chairman and CEO Pierre Haren. The new solution will give ILOG customers a way to quickly and cost-effectively tailor their existing software systems and infrastructures to meet the exact needs of their business, Haren added.

In an interview at the APICS show in Las Vegas earlier this month, Michael Morel, ILOG's industry marketing director for manufacturing, said that the provider was moving toward providing its customers with the tools they need to resolve specific business issues not currently being addressed by their installed applications. "We want to identify the business issue that's causing a problem and deliver a 'rifle shot' application to solve that one problem," he said.

The goal, Morel said, is to help companies be more flexible so they can respond more quickly to changing customer demands. At the same time, companies want to be able to deploy solutions to resolve specific problems quickly but with minimal disruption of current processes. The major applications in use at enterprises frequently do not allow for this flexibility or can not adapt to a company's specific processes, Morel suggested.

In announcing the new solution, ILOG said that the Real Time Optimization Extension Solution would extend the functionality of supply chain management (SCM) and enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems, with an initial emphasis on transportation planning and real-time scheduling.

Industrial gas company MG Industries already has deployed the Real Time Optimization Extension Solution to extend the functionality of mySAP Supply Chain Management solution. The result, according to ILOG, was a tailored solution that met MG Industries specialized needs, enabling the company to better meet customer needs by simultaneously optimizing both production and transportation planning.

"ILOG's sophisticated technology, professional services support and strategic partnership with SAP allowed us to build and deploy a complex vehicle-routing optimization extension [that] has directly increased the value we are able to deliver to our customers," said Matthew Brown, vice president for supply chain management at MG Industries. "And by leveraging our existing technology investments, MG Industries has been able to provide the highest customer service at the lowest landed cost."

The MGI/ILOG/SAP partnership earned its participants the 2003 Corporate Award of Excellence in the technology partnership category at the 2003 APICS conference in Las Vegas.

Other targets for the new ILOG solution, according to Morel, could include such customers as semiconductor fabs, pharmaceutical companies, or high-tech and auto industry manufacturers.

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