Thru-Put Announces Features For New APS Release

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Thru-Put Announces Features For New APS Release
S. McVey - September 19, 2000

Event Summary

Thru-Put Corporation, the Supply Chain Management (SCM) division of MAPICS, Inc., has released Thru-Put Manufacturing 5.1, the e-business version of its Advanced Planning and Scheduling (APS) software for mid market manufacturers. New in this version are Internet collaboration capabilities, access to Capable-To-Promise (CTP) information, and Profitable-To-Promise (PTP) functionality, which purports to improve asset utilization and allocation. Since its founding in 1993, Thru-Put has developed APS solutions based on the Theory of Constraints (TOC) for the complex discrete-part manufacturing industries.

Market Impact

Internet collaboration is all the rage and SCM vendors are web enabling client/server-based applications in an effort to retain current customers and entice prospective ones. As an independent entity, Thru-Put established a niche in APS software for the mid market complex manufacturing industries, an achievement which made it the logical choice for Atlanta-based MAPICS. MAPICS acquired Thru-Put indirectly through its purchase of Pivotpoint, Inc. in January 2000. Although the company is working to integrate Thru-Put APS with its AS/400 enterprise application suite XA, it continues to operate Thru-Put as a separate division based in San Jose, CA.

Its web capabilities are welcome enhancements, but are hardly a differentiator in themselves. CTP has been available for over a year from many competitors such as i2 Technologies and Adexa; while PTP, a relatively new buzzword, has already been addressed by some leading vendors, most notably Oracle Corporation.

In concept, Profitable-To-Promise (PTP) allows companies to calculate costs associated with alternative order promising, thereby quantifying the effects on profitability. Unfortunately, profitability decomposed into an individual order level may not be what most manufacturers are interested in. In seeking to assign a dollar cost to each individual order, many of these algorithms fail to see the forest for the trees. This is because promising an order often involves complex considerations that defy representation by a mathematical formula. With these considerations in mind, we view MAPICS' claim at having added "industry leading PTP functionality" to its new release with cautious skepticism.

User Recommendations

Users should understand thoroughly how MAPICS' PTP functionality works before allowing it to influence a buying decision. Unless it offers real cost visibility for improving overall profitability and asset utilization, PTP is little more than a novelty. In contrast, CTP can offer tangible guidance in promising orders since it relies on factors that are more easily quantified such as finished goods inventory, planned shipments, and manufacturing capacity.

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