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Intentia's Movex for Food and Beverage: Gaining a Foothold in North America Part Two: SCM and Other Functions

Written By: Predrag Jakovljevic
Published On: February 3 2004

Introduction

Intentia International AB (XSSE: INT B), a Swedish provider of enterprise business applications for mid-size and large enterprises, has been a major software player off the shores of North America for nearly two decades, developing, inter alia, a well-earned reputation in process manufacturing software for the food and beverage industries. Now, Intentia has set its sights on the United States and Canada. This article looks at the functions and features of Movex Food and Beverage (hereafter simply referred to as Movex).

Specifically, this article provides a glimpse of Intentia's Movex software offering by discussing the following aspects:

  • Overview of Intentia (Part One)
  • ERP functions and features (Part One)
  • SCM functions and features (Part Two)
  • Additional functions and features (Part Two)
  • Observations and user recommendations (Part Three)

This is Part Two of a three-part note.

Part One discussed the functions and features for ERP.

Part Three will make observations and user recommendations.

SCM Functions and Features

Whereas the ERP functionality within Movex records what ingredients were used and what products resulted, the SCM features of Movex assist you in streamlining your operations to make them more efficient and cost-effective. Movex's SCM includes the traditional modules to facilitate forecasting (how much the product is needed), planning (where to make the product); and scheduling (what processes to use to make the product).

However, because of its tight integration with the other modules, Movex not only provides a view from inside the four walls of the plant but also into some of its nooks and crevices. For example, internal integration with a computerized maintenance management system (CMMS) enables Movex to have visibility into resources and equipment that are off-line or scheduled to be offline, thereby influencing the decision of selecting the most appropriate routing. Similar cases can be made for integration with other internally integrated processes such as warehouse management and attribute management.

Movex also provides integration with sub-modules, which provide additional flexibility and efficiencies. These sub-modules include lot and sub-lot allocations, inbound logistics, cross-docking, and shelf-life planning. By knowing what is inbound, the planning process gains the advantage and is able to utilize "soon to be available" ingredients. This type of information can be incorporated in the planning and scheduling calculations.

One of the worst fears for a food processor and distributor is a call at 4:00 PM on a Friday from a restaurant whose customer said, "You know, this food tastes funny." The shock waves of recall reverberate throughout the organization. Anticipatory paralysis begins to set in. Meeting the requirements of such organizations as the European Union (EU) the Federal Drug and Administration (FDA), and the International Organization of Standardization (a.k.a. ISO), Movex's trace engine can provide true traceability information for your customers, suppliers, and consumers. Thus, it can speed up and simplify the recall process. This, in turn, can reduce the effect, impact, and cost of such events, not to mention minimizing adverse media coverage. The functionality might particularly be appreciated nowadays in North America due to the recent outbreak of the "mad cow" disease, see Is Intentia Truly Industry's First In Food Traceability?.

Movex offers a yield optimization process that is a decision support-based planning tool focusing on calculating the most profitable way to process raw materials and ingredients to meet demand. The inputs for yield optimization include supply quantities and prices, demand quantities and sales prices, production costs and capacities, and inventory costs and capacities. The output is an optimized day-by-day production schedule of what to produce and how to produce it. The inventory levels at the end of each day and any requirements to move raw materials or semi-finished products between sites are also calculated. The latter benefit is achieved through the tight integration with the warehouse management module.

In the food and beverage industries, there are usually several ways to slice the pie (no pun intended). For example, each grade of meat may be sold as a whole product or cut into parts. Likewise, it also may be sold at one or more levels or be further processed to create other value-added products. This can also be influenced by pack sizes and prices as well as co-products and by-products. In yield optimization, formularized inputs and outputs, capacity requirements, and costs for each alternate process are considered. In turn, customer and forecasted demand for each different type of meat product, plus inbound and on-hand inventories, are used to generate the primary cutting and secondary processing schedules. This technique effectively uses available inventories and resources and maximizes profitability.

Additional Functions and Features

Initially and for a long time, Movex ran exclusively on the IBM iSeries (formerly AS/400) platform. Realizing this architecture strategy was limiting the growth of its product, in 1999 Intentia released a redesigned and rewritten Java version of Movex (see Intentia: Java Evolution From AS/400). By eliminating the hardware centric look of the software, Movex can offer hardware independence by running on such hardware, operation system (OS) and database combinations as IBM eServer iSeries with IBM DB2/400 UDB V5 database; Sun Microsystems' Fire Server, with Sun Solaris and Oracle 9i, and IBM eServer xSeries, with Microsoft Windows 2000 and SQL Server 2000. While Intentia has gone a long way to release its second-generation Java suite in 2002, and continuing to build on the architecture, all that has come at a heavy price and eroded financial position (see Intentia Has Been Bleeding For Its Platform Independence).

As to further reduce its long-term development costs, Intentia recently announced a significant expansion of its strategic alliance with IBM, designed to help customers integrate their ERP and SCM business processes through a consolidated software offering. As part of the alliance, Intentia will standardize and ship its Java 2 Enterprise Edition (J2EE)-based Movex collaboration applications on IBM's middleware and hardware running on Linux, OS400, UNIX and Windows NT. The companies will also expand their joint sales, marketing and development activities. Intentia will pre-integrate its Movex applications with IBM's WebSphere Application Server, WebSphere Portal - Express and DB2 Universal Database. As such, every order from a medium-sized business will be shipped with IBM's bundle embedded inside the Intentia application suite, which lets Intentia off the hook regarding middleware delivery.

The additional advantage of making the switch to Java was that the software became web enabled. With a high-speed Internet connection, you now have a feasible and easy way to implement a solution to connect remote locations to the central software. Further, in 2003, a portal platform called Movex Workplace was made generally available to the Movex suite. In addition to serving as a browser-based user interface (UI) and portal, Workplace offers 4,000 preconfigured work roles and information flows, plus, it represents a nucleus to create other workflows. Heretofore, the only other realistic solution to remote computing was through Citrix or Microsoft's Terminal Services.

Also available with Movex is a customer relationship management (CRM) module. In addition to the traditional functions such as sale force and marketing automation, features within the CRM module include promotion tracking, pro-active telesales (i.e. outbound order entry), customer business chain support, and support for vendor managed inventory.

Movex comes with a limited number of pre-configured models to measure the performance of your business to include built-in key performance indicators (KPIs) for the food and beverage industries. Standard models are available for sales, production, order fulfillment, distribution, maintenance, and warehousing. While not a major factor when initially establishing an ERP and SCM environment and becoming comfortable with its care and feeding, these analysis tools can be helpful to fine tune operations and smooth out manufacturing speed bumps.

From the development front, on the drawing board are plans for a manufacturing execution system (MES) to record data and yields from every step of the production process; grower and farmer relationship management to provide visibility to crop and livestock maturity; and grower and farmer SCM integration. Of these efforts, the latter integration with SCM, is the most intriguing. Such integration will provide cradle-to-marketplace control of the manufacturing process. Instead of being a totally push environment, namely when the tomatoes are ripe you must make tomato soup, food processors will be able to more accurately schedule resources based on expected yields and timing.

This concludes Part Two of a three-part note.

Part One discussed the functions and features for ERP.

Part Three will make observations and user recommendations.

About the Authors

Predrag Jakovljevic is a research director with Technology Evaluation Centers, Inc. (TEC), with a focus on the enterprise applications market. He has over fifteen years of manufacturing industry experience, including several years as a power user of IT and ERP, as well as being a consultant/implementer and market analyst. He holds a bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Belgrade, Yugoslavia, and he has also been certified in production and inventory management (CPIM) and in integrated resources management (CIRM) by APICS.

Joseph J. Strub has extensive experience as a manager and senior consultant in planning and executing ERP projects for manufacturing and distribution systems for large to medium-size companies in the retail, food & beverage, chemical, and CPG process industries. Additionally, Mr. Strub was a consultant and Information Systems Auditor with PricewaterhouseCoopers and an applications development and support manager for Fortune 100 companies.

He can be reached at JoeStrub@writecompanyplus.com.

 
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