Webplan Aims to Address Reality Gap between Planning and Execution

Latest version of planning solution intended to help manufacturers manage constant changes in supply and demand

Latest version of planning solution intended to help manufacturers manage constant changes in supply and demand

Ottawa — March 31, 2004 — Webplan Corp. has rolled out the latest version of its RapidResponse production planning and execution solution, designed to help manufacturers bridge the "reality gap" between the as-planned world and the as-is world where constant changes occur in supply and demand.

RapidResponse 7.3 is intended to let manufacturers anticipate potential problems, review multiple action alternatives and align operations to master the reality gap, Webplan said.

"Today, manufacturers are using people, paper and tools to fill the reality gap," said Douglas Colbeth, president and CEO of Webplan. "Using these minimally automated and under-optimized approaches make it extremely difficult to keep supply and demand aligned, or to fully understand the ramifications before decisions are made."

RapidResponse addresses manufacturers' need for real-time insight and visibility to effectively manage at the moment, Colbeth added.

Webplan said that RapidResponse's architecture connects directly to front- and back-end systems, supports a continuous flow of information across multiple sites and optimizes the value of existing infrastructure.

Mark Oman, senior director of manufacturing with the automated test group at Webplan customer Agilent Technologies, said that RapidResponse has empowered Agilent to make informed decisions across its extended enterprise. "The functionality delivered through RapidResponse will help us effectively manage inventory excess, product cost variance and the performance of our contract manufacturer and suppliers," Oman said.

The solution provider points to three technologies in RapidResponse that it said allow manufacturers to master the reality gap and respond to today's problems today. First so-called Active Spreadsheets provide global access to live data feeds from enterprise resource planning (ERP), product lifecycle management (PLM), warehouse and transportation management systems (WMS/TMS) and other enterprise applications.

With the solution's AlwaysOn Analytics feature, manufacturers can analyze data based on real-time information and manufacturing algorithms found in such ERP systems as SAP and Oracle. Doing so aligns action teams around a consistent, continuously updated view of the impact that changes in supply and demand will have on their operations in a familiar, intuitive spreadsheet view, Webplan asserted.

Second, a Resolution Engine gives manufacturers iterative modeling capabilities that can allow action team members throughout and beyond the enterprise to propose, detail and share action alternatives to drive resolution to continually changing situations.

And finally, a Live Scorecard feature enables manufacturers to compare alternative "what-if" action plans based on real-time information. By scoring proposed action plans against predetermined real world metrics, Live Scorecard ensures that a chosen course conforms to business objectives and best practices, Webplan said.

RapidResponse is currently shipping and will be generally available next quarter.

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