J.D. Edwards releases integration tool

Enterprise resource planning (ERP) vendor J.D. Edwards this week released a tool that focuses on integrating data across the supply chain and targets manufacturers and distributors.

Its supply chain business modeler (SCBM) is able to consolidate information across disparate business applications into a single repository. The data can either be centralized or stored in a disk-based repository or in the case of enterprise customers, they may choose to distribute the data, explained Andy Carlson, director of product marketing, supply chain management for the vendor in Denver.

Acting as a single repository for supply chain data, the SCMB manages the shared data through the planning management, order management and multi-mode manufacturing and logistics applications. The SCBM tool will also support key performance indicators (KPIs) and key performance predictors (KPPs).

The SCMB can be layered into the vendor’s other supply chain lines of software that includes supply chain planning, order management, inventory management and business intelligence (BI) for supply chain management, in addition to its earlier OneWorld and WorldSoftware lines.

For companies that work across a multi-enterprise supply chain environment, the distributed object messaging architecture (DOMA) could be yet another piece organizations may want to consider adding. But it should be noted that DOMA is sold separately from the SCMB software itself.

“This is another architectural component that allows us to do real-time alerting and detection of events and conditions. We distribute objects of data out to various remote locations within the supply chain (and) we can make a localized decision,” Carlson said.

As nearly all ERP and supply chain vendors are looking at integrating their products, one advantage J.D. Edwards has over its competitors in the space, such as Oracle Corp. and SAP AG, is that its SCBM tool and line of software is able to integrate with that of other vendors – a claim the others mentioned cannot make. What those vendors have done is provided more integration within their own ERP software suites. According to one analyst, the fact that J.D. Edwards can integrate with virtually all other supply chain vendors’ products puts it at an advantage.

“The reason why this is so significant is because there are so many companies out there that are using heterogeneous systems, and (the key) is making them talk to one another. The ideal of ERP is it’s all you need. [A company] buys one ERP system and it runs your whole company with it. That’s a valid vision but we’re so far away from that today that these integration tools are important and will be for years to come,” said Tom Harwick, a research director for supply chain management at Forrester Research headquartered in Cambridge, Mass.

The key for the vendor going forward will be its ability to map and transform data between ERP systems and its own supply chain application, as this data transition is rarely “straight-forward,” Harwick noted because it is usually always necessary to convert the information from an ERP system into the supply chain.

The SCBM tool is available now in Canada. The company is online at www.jdedwards.com.