PeopleSoft announces manufacturing apps

PeopleSoft Inc. at press time was poised to unveil a set of applications designed to help users streamline their supply chain operations, as part of the software vendor’s continuing effort to boost its standing among manufacturers.

SAP AG, Oracle Corp. and Microsoft Corp. were also due to announce new products at the National Manufacturing Week 2004 show, which started March 1 in Chicago. But PeopleSoft’s rollout is particularly noteworthy because the company lags behind top rivals SAP and Oracle in selling manufacturing-oriented applications to large users.

PeopleSoft, which bought J.D. Edwards & Co. last summer partly to boost its manufacturing market share, will add new and enhanced tools that support lean manufacturing and inventory processes, radio frequency identification technology and other functions.

For example, the Pleasanton, Calif.-based company is adding two portal-based products to the EnterpriseOne Supplier Relationship Management suite it acquired as part of the J.D. Edwards deal, said Andy Carlson, vice-president of product marketing for supply chain management.

One is a self-service application that will let suppliers look at manufacturers’ inventory data online and quickly respond to spikes in demand and potential out-of-stock situations, Carlson said. Also coming is a portal offering that procurement workers will be able to use to track purchase orders and receipts, identify potential supply glitches and create supplier scorecards.

PeopleSoft is also announcing an order-promising application for configure-to-order manufacturers. Carlson said the tool will provide regularly updated views of available raw materials and the production capacity of suppliers that make items such as complex subassemblies, so users can determine whether they can fulfill incoming orders and how profitable the sales will be. The new products are slated to ship by May.

Thanks to its acquisition of J.D. Edwards, PeopleSoft can boast that it has a decent user base among midsize manufacturers, said Navi Radjou, an analyst at Forrester Research Inc. But Radjou said PeopleSoft’s own ERP installed base has been more reluctant to buy its manufacturing and supply chain applications.

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