Infor recently announced Infor Supply Chain Execution (SCE) version 10.3, with more new functionality for logistics and warehouse management. This release builds on Infor SCE 10.2, released in 2013, which leveraged the newly released Infor 10x technology to add mobile and voice enablement, visual metrics, Infor ION middleware integration to enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems, the Infor Ming.le social collaboration capabilities, and in-context business intelligence (BI; read TEC article). Infor SCE 10.3 features an improved user experience and new integration with Infor M3, as well as enhanced integrations with the Infor Lawson Enterprise Financial Management and Infor Adage ERP solutions.
In addition, Infor SCE 10.3 offers significant enhancements to voice enablement, small parcel shipping (by leveraging a new partnership, Infor now offers enhanced capabilities and support for supply chain quoting, rating, and manifesting for small parcel shipping, which is becoming ever more important in omnichannel commerce), compliance labeling, and the embedded Infor Warehouse Director mobile platform. With the Infor SCE 10.3 release, the Warehouse Director iPad application for managing mobile logistics was enhanced to optimize the warehouse and monitor operations using more efficient color-coded picking and velocity heat maps. The mobile app works with Infor SCE version 10.2 and up to provide users with mobile access to the rapidly shifting warehouse environment.
Most notably, Infor SCE now combines warehouse management, transportation management, labor management, and third-party logistics (3PL) billing in a single unified solution. The latest updates to the Transportation Management module include new program interfaces and a new fixed and variable rating model that enable international and North American customers to combine fixed costs with a variable cost, as well as a zone-based rating model. The release also features multiple enhancements to manage labor more efficiently including travel speed configuration and labor plan estimates based on average or historical actuals–enhanced reporting.
Logistics Social Collaboration
With the 10.3 release, the Infor10x experience has now brought social collaboration, eye-pleasing analytics, and consumer-grade experience to the warehouse and logistics operations. The idea is to increase productivity by enabling users to quickly react to changing customer and market requests. With Infor Ming.le, one can follow events, social objects, and people across all areas of their business. An Infor SCE user can, for instance, react to a post published by an ERP user, and vice versa. Users can also filter, view, and monitor information in real time to keep tabs on the items that matter most or get alerts when problems arise.
Consider this case scenario—a Sr. Manager of Operations, for example, could hear about the inventory recall for the one of the food items through a news alert in Infor Ming.le (based on social objects he/she has been following). He/she could then drill into the attached Infor SCE page to view the summary of all shipment orders being affected by this recall. The in-context BI shows the unavailability of the item after the recalled inventory has been put on hold and also gives a graphical view of all unfulfilled shipment orders. The Manager can then post a message in Ming.le to express his/her concern regarding an important big retailer’s shipment order that would be impacted.
This post can be read by all users following him/her—a warehouse manager in one of the locations could then comment on this post stating his/her ability to fulfill the order instead. All this vital corporate information is still available on Infor Ming.le for all interested users to view and search. In this case, excess inventory in one warehouse was used to replace recalled inventory in another. This is one of the great ways in which Infor SCE and Infor Ming.le can help users collaborate, communicate, analyze, make better decisions, and tackle unforeseen events at a warehouse and the supply network.
Contextual Role-based BI
Infor SCE 10.3 comes with enhanced dashboards, in-context BI, analytics, and metrics that give users an interactive experience while enhancing the value derived from the application. Infor SCE Dashboards can be configured into different personas based on different roles, such as operations manager, inventory control supervisor (see figure 1), account receivable manager, warehouse manager, transportation manager (see figure 2), etc. They can also be categorized based on functional persona such as inbound activities, outbound activities, inventory, billing, labor, and transportation among others.
Infor SCE 10.3 uses Infor Business Application studio, allowing users to create customized dashboards to meet their individual needs by providing in-context information relevant to their specific role. The tool draws a direct query from the application database and does not require the use of extract, transform, load (ETL) tools to offline data marts, which enables real-time access and data analysis.
In conclusion, unified core SCE capabilities, mobility, consumer-grade user experience, as well as added business value achieved through Infor Mingle, Infor SCE Dashboards, and in-context BI should put the SCE market leaders and Infor competitors on alert. Manhattan Associates, JDA Software, SAP, Descartes, and others might still have larger market shares and brand recognition, but Infor seems determined on giving these respected foes a run for their money going forward.