SAP spruces up its supply chain software

SAP spruces up its supply chain software

Summary: With version 5.0, the software maker takes aim at small-scale operations and puts a premium on flexibility.

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SAP plans to launch a new version of its supply-chain management suite in June.

The most significant new features in the suite are found in the service-parts management component. This is largely aimed at business sectors, such as small-scale manufacturing and distribution, that put a premium on getting the right components in the right place on a "just-in-time" basis.

The new software, MySAP Supply Chain Management version 5.0, was unveiled late last week at the CeBit trade show in Hannover, Germany. The company said this latest version can efficiently manage even low-value components and should help businesses evolve traditional, linear supply chains into more flexible and dynamic networks of supply chain partners. A lack of flexibility has been a particular criticism of SAP manufacturing software in the past.

With the package's new tools, the company said, retailers can strike a better balance between increased customer service levels and lowered merchandise inventory, SAP said. They can replenish products with long lead times and at the same time handle seasonal products and introduce new products with short product-lifecycles using historical information on similar products to forecast demand.

The latest version has industry-specific functionality, and companies and organizations using the new capabilities can increase their supply network productivity and profitability by "identifying and capitalizing on sudden changes in supply and demand", SAP said.

These new tools should help retailers find a balance between increased customer service levels and lowered merchandise inventory. They can replenish products with long lead times and at the same time handle seasonal products and introduce new products with short product life cycles using historical information on similar products to forecast demand.

It is intended to work in industries as diverse as clothing, footwear, consumer products and the chemical industry.

SAP says there are now more than 32,000 companies running its software in more than 120 countries--from distinct solutions addressing the needs of small and midsize businesses to suite offerings for global organizations.

Topics: SMBs, Apps, Enterprise Software, Software

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Colin Barker is based in London and is Senior Reporter for ZDNet. He has been writing about the IT business for some 30-plus years. He still enjoys it.

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