April 19, 2004, 10:09 AM — SAP AG intends to give businesses a real-time view of what's happening to their inventory with an upgrade to its supply chain management (SCM) tools, it announced Monday.
A new version of its mySAP SCM software, due for release by the end of June, will extend support for warehouse and logistics processes to incorporate information from RFID (radio frequency identification) tags, the company said. The changes build on the earlier release of SAP's Auto-ID Infrastructure, a component of its Netweaver integration platform, the company said.
The SCM upgrade also includes enhancements to the Advanced Planning and Optimization module, allowing businesses to plan better for outsourcing of production operations, among other things, the company said.
New tools for specific industries include one for the industrial machinery and components market which allows management of customer-specific or project-driven manufacturing runs, SAP said.
Other features of the upgrade to mySAP SCM include support for responsive replenishment, whereby a fall in inventory levels for a product can automatically trigger delivery of more stock if the supplier is using the appropriate SAP software, the company said.
This means that retailers will be able to react in a matter of hours to unusually high demand for products brought on by a change in the weather, said Roland Edwards, a spokesman for the Walldorf, Germany, company. For example, sunny weekends early in the summer often prompt consumers to fire up their barbecues, sparking unexpectedly high demand for steaks, he said: If a supermarket inventory system can spot this trend early enough in the day, fresh stock can be ordered up from the warehouse in time for dinner.
If retailers are able to track the evolution of inventory levels over periods of hours, rather than days, they can plan more effectively, he said.