Integral Logistics Management — Operations Management and Supply Chain Management Within and Across Companies

9.2.4 SCM Software or APS Software — Software for Transcorporate Planning & Control in a Supply Chain

Intended learning outcomes: Describe the concept and some of the tasks performed by SCM software. Identify specific software packages.

The term SCM software or advanced planning and scheduling (APS) software is used to describe software that supports transcorporate planning & control.

SCM software has been available for several years. Developments are moving in three different directions:

  1. Electronic control boards (“Leitstand”) software supplemented with mod­ules for logistics and production networks. Software such as JDA solutions places (by the takeover of Manugistics) particular emphasis on distribution networks; that is, the distribution of end products produced by different companies via various sales channels (e.g., national companies).
  2. Conventional MRP II software or ERP software supplemented with company-specific or bought-in modules. These include APO (advanced planner and optimizer) from SAP or the equivalent products from PeopleSoft (by the takeover of Red Pepper). The “problem solver” software kernels from ILOG are often integrated for scheduling tasks. These modules work using constraint propagation techniques.
  3. Niche software specially designed for transcorporate planning & control.

Figure illustrates the concept and some of the tasks of SCM software.

Fig.         Concept and some of the tasks performed by SCM software.

The master and order data are still administered by the local planning & control software of the individual companies involved in the logistics and production network. The data are periodically downloaded by the SCM software. The network planning then takes place and the results are returned to the local software.

The actual planning functions of SCM software are similar to those of traditional ERP and electronic control boards (“Leitstand”) software, supplement­ed with new modules that meet the typical needs of networks:

  • Supply chain network design to describe the logistics and production network
  • (Network) inventory planning for tasks like replenishment of the customer’s stocks by the
    supplier (VMI, vendor-managed inventory; CRP,
    continuous replenishment planning). To be able to do this, the supplier must have access to the
    customer’s inventory and order data (and the data of any customers downstream
    in the network).
  • Real-time customer service to be able to assess the fill rate of open orders with suppl­iers
    in advance. To be able to do this, the customer must have access to the
    supplier’s inventory and order data (and the data of any suppliers upstream in
    the network).

These concepts are still at the field trial stage, but the sales network software is likely to be implemented first. This is not surprising since the organizational concepts for sales networks are older than those for joint R&D and production. In this context, the author of [Nien04] presents an approach for designing SCM-Software that also considers aspects like robustness, tangibility, and efficiency.

Course section 9.1: Subsections and their intended learning outcomes