UPDATE: J.D. Edwards adds to Demand

Enterprise software vendor J.D. Edwards added another layer to its product fold Thursday by releasing Demand Forecasting, which aims to handle product supply and demand.

The offering’s modules are able to analyze a company’s sales and shipment history by applying algorithms to statistically predict what sales could be in that company’s future. The software works simultaneously with J.D. Edwards’ Demand Consensus software, which gives customers an overview of their inventory and production.

Some of the features of the new software include an automated forecasting engine for statistical models to improve forecasting; scenario and what-if analysis functions to help identify exceptions; statistical-based stocking for viewing inventory levels and business modelling; and processing for an object orientated database.

The company said the solution is aimed at the pulp and paper, utility, energy, chemical, industrial manufacturing and electronics industries. The software is available now and is the first component of the company’s future supply chain management (SCM) release, Supply Chain Management 9.0 that is part of its collaborative software set.

In one of its most recent reports, Cambridge, Mass.- based Forrester Research says U.S. companies will spend around US$35 billion during the 2003-2008 time period on extending supply chain management software and on improving business processes. Companies will work on extending their SCM reach across departmental and partner boundaries, the report said, and spending on SCM will be in services, with spending on license fees falling.

Joshua Greenbaum, principal at Enterprise Applications Consulting in Daly City, Calif., said J.D. Edwards’ “lightweight” approach may help the company be successful with the release.

“It is hitting the market at the right time [because] the demand for forecasting which is built on a consensus model, is definitely growing,” he said. Presently, some SCM vendors are being swept up in what Greenbaum called the “black box” forecasting approach that is very dependant on statistical modelling and involves confusing mathematical concepts that customers either don’t want or frankly, understand.

The probable early adopters for the forecasting software will likely come from its pre-installed customer base. He noted that rival SCM vendors PeopleSoft and SAP AG are both dabbling with forecasting in their software.

The Denver-based company – with Canadian offices in Toronto, Calgary, Montreal and Vancouver – is online at www.jdedwards.com.