Helping Companies Respond to Demand and Supply Changes

i2 offers solution for collaborative material management to synchronize, automate material planning and procurement processes

i2 offers solution for collaborative material management to synchronize, automate material planning and procurement processes

Dallas — October 12, 2005 — Companies looking to automate the material management process so they can respond quickly to changes in demand and supply have a new option as supply chain solution provider i2 rolls out its Collaborative Material Management offering, designed to help companies reduce inefficiencies in material planning and procurement processes so they can respond more quickly to changing business conditions.

"Agility is key to success for so many businesses today," said i2 CEO Michael McGrath. "i2's next-generation solution for collaborative material management offers companies the tools to quickly respond when business conditions change, allowing them to make intelligent trade-off analysis and decisions about supply and demand."

The Business Challenge

Many companies face inefficiencies due to system, process, and organizational barriers between the material planning and procurement functions. They are challenged by planning dilemmas where their once-reliable weekly plans are out-of-synch with current business situations. They are unable to re-plan based on execution changes and unable to determine the impact of supply changes on demand, and vice versa through rapid "what-if" analysis.

i2 said that Collaborative Material Management is designed to help companies meet those challenges by synchronizing and automating the material planning and procurement process to help companies react much faster to changes in demand through rapid what-ifs and incremental planning exercises.

In addition, the solution offers proactive visibility to supply changes on demand and vice-versa, while also automating processing of material requirement plans to purchase orders and requisitions depending on business rules, according to i2.

Making Procurement Decisions Easier

Elsewhere, the solution connects with supply planning solutions to automatically execute on recommended schedules as well as expedite, de-expedite and cancel recommendations, thereby removing latency, errors and disputes in synchronizing planning recommendations with actual execution, i2 said.

"Collaborative Material Management is designed to help make ... material procurement decisions easier," the solution provider said in announcing the software. "The solution is designed to offer collaboration on gross forecast signals for VMI suppliers and netted forecast signals for MRP suppliers, where these signals can be grouped and converted to purchase orders based on rules, and are either sent to suppliers or available as drafts for the buyers to review."

Additional capabilities that i2 is highlighting include the ability to review planning reschedule suggestions and to drill down into detailed end-item demand pegging to review reasons for reschedules. Finally, as the execution picture changes due to supply de-commits, buyers can initiate what-if analysis on supply events and understand the impact on the plan with plan-to-plan comparison.

Additional Articles of Interest

— Learning the right things to say to your colleagues and your customers can help you win big for the Supply Chain. Read more in "The Price of Talk," the Final Thoughts column in the August/September 2005 issue of Supply & Demand Chain Executive.

— Increased opportunities for customer interaction create new operational challenges for Sales, Marketing and Service — the Demand Chain. Organizations must look beyond technology to the true foundation of creating and managing demand. For more information, read the exclusive "Trends in the Demand Chain."

— Got MRO? Then you'll want to read these tips for implementing a strategic approach to sourcing non-strategic categories. Read "Managing the MRO Monster," an exclusive.