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SCT Corp Previews New B2B Planning, Execution, and eProcurement Suite

Written By: Steve McVey
Published On: February 23 2000

SCT Corp Previews New B2B Planning, Execution, and eProcurement Suite
S. McVey - February 23rd, 2000

Event Summary

On February 8 at the Ritz Carlton in Boston, SCT Corporation demonstrated iProcess.sct, its new business-to-business (B2B) software solution supply chain for process manufacturers and distributors. The meeting followed a debut event in New York City and is part of an international road trip through the U.S., Europe, and the U.K. The event features SCT's new partner, ecFoods.com, a leading B2B Internet marketplace for the industrial sector of the food industry. Collaboration with ecFoods represents SCT's first step in developing trading exchange partnerships for multiple verticals, including consumer packaged goods, chemicals and pharmaceutical industries.

iProcess.sct binds together SCT's Adage Supply Chain Execution software, advanced planning features from 1998 acquisition Fygir Logistic Information Systems B. V., and ecFoods' Internet Trading Exchange. The combination neatly unites ERP, Supply Chain Management (SCM), and e-procurement.

Adage SCE forms the underlying transaction engine or "backbone" of iProcess. Optimization is handled by Fygir. From an end-user perspective, however, the most valuable component of iProcess.sct may be ecFoods' Internet Trading Exchange that serves as a cost reduction medium, allowing companies to find required supplies at the lowest price available among participating suppliers.

Market Impact

Overall, the iProcess.sct components appear to be well integrated. The demonstration took a pie manufacturer as an example. An intermediate supplier (the pie maker) can receive an order from its customer (say, a grocery) and plan to procure recipe ingredients. On-line procurement allows the manufacturer to accept the best deal for recipe ingredients and establish a firm delivery date. This, when passed to the advanced planning engine, can be used to plan production of the order and generate a due date quote for the grocery. Fygir's production planning and scheduling features allow for multiple configurations of resources for combining ingredients, shaping the pies, baking, and final packaging.

An advantage of the Internet connection is its ability to mitigate loss in the event the grocery cancels the order. The pie maker can simply put its pies up for bid over the Internet Trading Exchange, thereby avoiding a surplus of pies that would ultimately be wasted. From all appearances in the demonstration, the actions of supplier and customer were performed live on separate laptops, connected to a server.

Though other supply chain management companies have assembled application suites and e-procurement capabilities, few can offer all components in an integrated product. For example, i2 can handle advanced planning/scheduling and online procurement but lacks the transaction-level processing capability of Adage. The Rhythm suite is further challenged by communication difficulties among its various component applications.

In spite of its breadth, iProcess.sct does not cover all the bases. SCT could better complement its new suite by partnering with Ontario-based Descartes Systems Group, which specializes in providing transportation optimization and routing functionality for perishable goods industries. Descartes's DeliveryNet products could provide the final delivery planning for plans generated by iProcess.sct.

User Recommendations

The obvious question for users is whether SCT's new supply chain applications will work as seamlessly in a live environment as they do in the hushed elegance of the Ritz Carleton. The answer should be an unequivocal "no." Apart from the host of technical issues that typify implementations, real manufacturing environments introduce complexities that defy reproduction in an artificial setting.

Users will want to provide detailed scripted scenarios that mimic real business processes encompassing all segments in the supply chain to SCT during vendor evaluation and then expect a demonstration that addresses each step in the scenarios. Though time consuming, the preparation demanded by a diligent selection will invariably produce better results - and less headaches.

 

 
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