by May 6, 2001 0 comments



Imagine you enter a store to buy a few household items. The supply-chain cycle begins here. The store that you visit, gives you pricing and availability information about the product, and stocks its shelves from a warehouse or a distributor. The distributor in turn gets his stocks from a manufacturer and may probably use trucks supplied by a third party. The manufacturer receives raw materials from a variety of suppliers who in turn get it from other low-tier suppliers and so on. When you buy stuff from the store, you pay for it. The store conveys point-of-sale data as well as replenishment orders to the distributor, plus transfers funds to the distributor after the replenishment. The distributor transfers the replenishment order via trucks back to the store.

Thus, there is a constant flow of money, orders, and information between various parties in ensuring that you get the products you want. Each stage interacts with the other stages, and performs a different set of functions.

Supply-chain management is the management of flow between the different stages to maximize productivity. 

Simply put, knowing, even anticipating and fulfilling your customer’s needs is what supply- chain management is all about. It covers all the stages–sourcing, product design, production, planning, order processing, inventory management, transportation, warehousing, and customer service–involved in moving goods from the raw-material stage to the end user. A supply-chain management solution has to span across the different companies involved, or alternately, the systems used by the different companies should be able to talk to each other.

A number of supply-chain management (SCM) systems are available. Typically, a SCM system is a combination of many applications, including demand planning, inventory planning, and transportation planning. SAP, BAAN, QAD, Peoplesoft, i2 and Manugistics are some of the companies providing supply-chain solutions. 

Since it is not possible for us to cover all of these, we’ll limit ourselves to a discussion of BAAN’s supply-chain solution. 

Baan’s supply-chain solution  

This is a suite of integrated applications covering supply-chain network design, demand management, supply-chain planning and order fulfillment, factory scheduling and execution, and logistics planning. Each of these applications has further components.

Strategic supply-chain network design

This helps companies take strategic supply-chain infrastructure decisions on the plants, distribution centers, and warehouses involved in processing raw materials into finished goods and delivering it to the end user. Its components include BaanSCS designer, BaanSCS coordinator, and BaanSCS planner. 

BaanSCS designer

This graphical strategic decision tool lets you model your supply chain. For example, you can define appropriate resources, such as transportation and inventory and also, look at the costs, revenues, and constraints in your supply chain. Its key features include: Interactive map-based graphics; drag-n-drop functionality; easy-to-use wizards; standard data templates for Excel and Access; and Scenario manager for defining and analyzing multiple scenarios.

BaanSCS coordinator 

The coordinator is a planning tool for manufacturing and distribution. It helps in analyzing supply-chain problems such as the changes in demand and the resulting changes in production costs. Its features include: To balance purchasing, manufacturing, transportation, and inventory costs against service levels; analyze strategies to minimize costs or maximize service; integration with the BaanSCS designer. 

BaanSCS planner

This helps in developing manufacturing plans and takes into account the cost, resources, constraints, and the demand forecasts to meet the customer demand. Its features include: Graphical analysis tools; multi-plant planning based on resource availability and logistics; integrates planning data from BaanERP and other ERP systems.

Demand management 

This helps in anticipating the customer demand through the BaanSCS demand planner. 

BaanSCS demand planner

This helps in analyzing different demand patterns. Its features include: Forecast demand patterns based on history and external events; modify models as conditions change; manage resource allocation based on sales and planning; analyze demand forecasts based on different prices. 

Supply-chain planning and order fulfillment

Supply-chain planning and order fulfillment helps in synchronizing manufacturing and distribution activities with the customer demand. It determines what to build as well as when it should be built and includes the BaanSCS planner and BaanSCS order promising. 

BaanSCS order promising 

This lets you maximize your order-fulfillment capabilities. It lets you access data to make accurate order-commitment decisions. Features include a user alert for customers whose requests can’t be met, provision for substitute products and an option to accept, or reject an order. 

Factory scheduling and execution

This is used to coordinateplant activities with market demand. That is, you can synchronize your production plans when sudden changes in the market demand and plant floor coordination occur. It uses the BaanSCS scheduler for this. 

BaanSCS scheduler 

The Scheduler helps in creating manufacturing schedules by coordinating the plant activities with the market demand–orders and resources available. You can also change production schedules
in response to customer demand. It has a real-time graphical display of order status and production data which helps eliminate bottlenecks. It also provides sales people accurate order-delivery information and can be integrated with the BaanSCS planner. 

Logistics planning

Logistics planning helps in planning transportation. The BaanSCS TransPro, BaanSCS RoutePro, and BaanSCS BidPro are part of this.

BaanSCS TransPro

A transportation-planning system with an interactive map-based graphics that lets you visualize your transportation plans, it can manage a multiple transportation-planning environment; build multi-stop routes; plan direct shipment; help you conduct ‘what if’ analysis in an interactive graphics environment; and has a Windows user interface with pull-down menus, tabbed forms, and icons. It also generates custom reports and comes with analysis tools. 

BaanSCS RoutePro

This is a routing and scheduling solution and has further components, which includes the RoutePro Designer, RoutePro Dispatcher, RoutePro Residential, RoutePro Replenisher, and RoutePro Vessel. This solution has interactive map-based graphics and helps you in editing route assignments and sequences. It also identifies underutilized routes, and supports maps and geographic data to route and dispatch vehicles worldwide. A Windows user interface with pull-down menus, tabbed forms, icons, wizards, and drag-n-drop support are also included. 

BaanSCS BidPro

This module is used for analyzing and selecting optimal carrier bids, and forming service contracts with selected carriers. A Scenario manager for comparing different alternatives and solutions, a graphical user interface, support for pull-down menus, icons, wizards, custom and standard reports are all part of this. 

Neelima Vaid

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