Optiant Updates Supply Chain Optimization Solution

Version 5.0 of PowerChain adds features to address complexity, globalization and uncertainty

Version 5.0 of PowerChain adds features to address complexity, globalization and uncertainty

Boston — September 16, 2004 — Supply chain optimization specialist Optiant has rolled out the latest version of its flagship solution, adding functionality to address the outsourcing question, risk mitigation of supply and demand uncertainties, and the balance of cost and service levels.

Optiant said that version 5.0 of its PowerChain supply chain and inventory optimization solution delivers flexibility for accommodating the specific requirements and constraints inherent in today's global, highly complex and interdependent supply chains.

Recognizing that no two supply chains are alike and that each manufacturer faces different challenges, the solution analyzes different scenarios within the context and objectives defined by the manufacturer. Within minutes, the software recommends the best supply chain design to meet the stated goals of lowest total supply chain cost, highest possible customer service levels or fastest time to market, as well as identifying potential savings or new revenue opportunities, according to Optiant.

The software is designed for mass internal adoption so that all stakeholders share a common view of operations and power to make positive changes, with the data to back up their recommendations, the solution provider said.

New features address complexity, globalization and uncertainty. Virtual manufacturing modeling allows users to address product lifecycle questions, as well as outsourcing options. The real-world modeling interface accommodates dual sourcing options, as well as lifecycle production transitions. Users can transition inventory levels during planned movement from in-house to outsourced production as well as model variable production splits across facilities.

"Efficient frontier" analysis provides an instant look at the cost vs. service tradeoff for each product. The efficient frontier is the most straightforward measure of supply chain performance, measuring the optimal trade-off between inventory investment and customer service levels, Optiant said, adding that best-in-class companies — those that routinely achieve double-digit cost reductions, points to net margin and substantial gains in market share — are characterized by intense focus on their efficient frontier.

In addition, customized reports allow corporations to present important supply chain statistics and performance ratings in branded formats using their jargon. These reports can be produced from scratch or modified from PowerChain's standard reports. The standard reports include Cost Breakout, which illustrates the cost breakout by cost category; Profit and Loss Calculator, which displays the profit and lost line items for the supply chain; and Inventory by Cause Report, which graphically represents the types and amounts of inventory within the supply chain and delineates their cause (demand uncertainty, supply variability, etc.).

New demand smoothing techniques mitigate the so-called "bullwhip effect," Optiant said. These smoothing techniques, in combination with real-world modeling for multiple review periods, can simplify the planning parameters for product families and reduce inventory. These outputs are very appropriate for use in tactical planning systems like enterprise resource planning (ERP) and advanced planning and scheduling (APS) and can be integrated or manually set.

Finally, internationalization expands usability for global stakeholders, including accommodations for dozens of languages and 92 currencies, the solution provider said. Users can also set preferences for their work environment, including branded "look and feel," languages, dates and currency.

The new software is available immediately. PowerChain 5.0 training sessions are due to begin later this month at Optiant's Center for Supply Chain Excellence in Boston.