10 April 2003 | Robin Parker
Supply chain management software vendor i2's latest system aims to help companies that operate "just-in-time" policies to close the gap between demand planning and execution.
i2 Six contains five new applications intended to help firms get greater visibility of complex global supply chains and to solve expensive problems quickly.
The modules, which address revenue and profit optimisation, spend management, production, fulfilment and logistics, are all web services-enabled, allowing users of one application to request automatic supply chain data from another.
European aerospace group Airbus and US heavy-duty truck manufacturer Freightliner are among the new customers using the software, alongside existing clients such as Toyota.
Navin Ramachandran, technical director of i2, said the suite had been developed to help procurement and supply chain managers cope with shorter lead times and more geographically dispersed supply chains.
"A lot of our clients are moving towards lean manufacturing, and once they start working with just enough inventory to support two days' production, they have to react quickly if something goes wrong.
"In the past, planning and execution have happened in parallel but without much visibility, particularly as the growth of outsourcing has put a lot of this information outside the company's walls."
Ramachandran said automotive services and parts management was an untapped area of supply chain management software in which his company could build a particular strength.
"The solutions help dealerships to focus on the parts customers request most and take spare inventory out."
i2 is also making strides in Eastern Europe through partnerships with local resellers.
Its first Czech customer - Hayes Lemmertz, an automotive parts maker - has begun a nine-week implementation of its software via a reseller deal with local firm Logis.
A separate partnership deal with SCM Technologies will give sales, training and consulting services to Russian firms.