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