webMethods Rolls out Demand Fulfillment, S&OP Monitoring Solutions

Aims to link the supply chain using solutions to integrate data from disparate systems into actionable information

Aims to link the supply chain using solutions to integrate data from disparate systems into actionable information

Atlanta — November 15, 2005 — B2B integration specialist webMethods has taken the wraps off a new series of solutions intended to help enterprises become demand-driven by bridging the gaps that exist within their current supply chains that prevent them from responding most effectively to changes in demand.

The new solutions include webMethods Demand Fulfillment Monitoring and S&OP Monitoring.

Demand Fulfillment Monitoring

webMethods said that the Demand Fulfillment Monitoring solution is designed to help manufacturers improve their "perfect order" score, enabling them to more effectively and consistently match supply with demand throughout their operations, by continually synchronizing various internal and external systems and processes used throughout these operations. This can help minimize operational latency and improve data accuracy while simultaneously working to extend real-time, end-to-end process monitoring across these supply and demand chain processes.

With this beefed-up ability to adjust execution parameters in response to real-time market insight, enterprises ought to be able to ensure that the appropriate levels of the right inventory are continually available at the right place to meet customer needs, webMethods said. As a result, enterprises should be able to speed inventory turns, better comply with customer service level agreements (SLA) and minimize safety-stock requirements.

According to the solution provider, a global manufacturer already is using this approach to eliminate exception orders, which has resulted in a 75 percent improvement in on-time fulfillment rates, with a reduction of similar magnitude being recorded in the number of manually processed orders as well.

Synchronizing Disparate Systems

Key components of Demand Fulfillment Monitoring include an integration platform enabling real-time synchronization of disparate systems using a standards-based approach to simplify and speed the inclusion of third-party trading partners within a common supply chain framework. By linking together existing demand fulfillment processes, enterprises can create unified and up-to-date views of real-time inventory, customer orders, production status and shipment dates across various systems while also capturing critical information associated with key business events as they occur, webMethods said.

The solution also offers a set of business process management tools that enterprises can use to model, deploy and automate key processes spanning multiple systems, data stores, workflows and users. In addition to addressing reoccurring requirements like order-to-cash, procure-to-pay and return process exceptions with greater speed and consistency, enterprises can use these tools to secure greater visibility over their operations and to enhance collaboration and coordination around fulfillment by automatically communicating deviations in plan before they impact the business, webMethods said.

Elsewhere, the solution provides an executive dashboard with access to embedded business activity monitoring (BAM) capabilities, enabling improved command and control over demand fulfillment operations, according to webMethods. Enterprises can use these capabilities to automatically detect and resolve conflicts, to proactively alert users to potential exceptions based upon past occurrences and to diagnosis and resolve systemic challenges, the solution provider said.

Monitoring Sales and Operational Planning

According to webMethods, the S&OP Monitoring solution provides supply chain executives with a consolidated, real-time view into their sales and operational planning environment, with the goal of helping retailers and manufacturers better predict and more quickly respond to changes in demand.

By improving data visibility across their operations and with trading partners, consolidating demand signals company-wide and linking together S&OP processes, enterprises have the opportunity to secure the level of collaboration needed to more quickly detect changes in demand and respond accordingly, webMethods said. This approach can be critical in getting new products to market faster and reacting to unexpected changes because it provides the means for orchestrating and aligning the various resources needed across sales and marketing, as well as production and manufacturing.

S&OP Monitoring includes the integration components of webMethods' flagship integration solution, Fabric, including webMethods Product Information Management (PIM) as a centralized source for product data. The integration solution can enable the real-time aggregation of demand signals, product, forecast and inventory data between critical systems, helping to ensure that real-time views of point-of-sale and promotional information are available across the company, while synchronization with trading partners via the Global Data Synchronization Network (GDSN) provides external suppliers with the data and demand insight that they require.

Streamlining S&OP

A business process management component is meant to streamline S&OP processes and new product introductions by automating the two-way flow of demand requirements and product availability information. A key feature, according to webMethods, is an automated, step-by-step event management process that users can employ to invoke the optimal response to a variety of scenarios, such as delays in product, component or order availability or out-of-stock/over-supply situations. As a result, users have the potential to more readily resolve the bottlenecks and disruption that can negatively affect customer service levels and forecasting accuracy.

The solution also offers scorecards for monitoring the real-time interaction between sales activity, promotions, operational forecasts and business requirements with user-based views intended to transform this data into actionable information. "By continuously monitoring supply chain transactions and inventory status for both in-house and contract manufacturing, observed correlations with past occurrences can also be used to proactively alert users to pending violations of SLAs in time for appropriate action, such as replenishing or redirecting inventory, to be taken," webMethods said.

Demand Fulfillment Monitoring and S&OP Monitoring are both now available with pricing from webMethods.

Additional Articles of Interest

— Looking to outsource your supply chain? For five success factors for your outsourcing project Read "Rising to the Challenge of the Outsourced Supply Chain," cover story in the October/November 2005 issue of Supply and Demand Chain Executive.

— For insights into how the top procurement organizations align with their company's broader business to make themselves invaluable, read "Getting to World-class by Getting a Seat at the Table," the Executive Memo column the October/November 2005 issue of Supply and Demand Chain Executive.

— A logistics team is called upon to craft supply chain processes that update logistics and inventory management at the growing retail chain Michaels Stores Inc. Read more in "The Art of Supply Chain Optimization," a Best Practices article in the October/November 2005 issue of Supply and Demand Chain Executive.