PeopleSoft Rolls Out a Host of New EnterpriseOne Applications
October 19, 2004 Alex Woodie
While the hostile takeover bid by Oracle continues to hang over PeopleSoft like a dark cloud, it didn’t deter the Pleasanton, California, company from going ahead and making a slew of EnterpriseOne announcements at the APICS conference last week. There are more than 250 new features in the former J.D. Edwards ERP application across four components, including CRM, Demand Flow Manufacturing, Sales and Operations Planning, and the new RFID Processor application.
So-called “lean” manufacturers looking to roll out new products quickly, without tying up plant capacity or storage space unnecessarily, are good candidates for the new Demand Flow Manufacturing application, which PeopleSoft announced at the APICS International Conference and Exposition in San Diego last week. PeopleSoft acquired the Demand Flow application from JCIT International one year ago, and this is the first time it has been offered as a fully integrated component in its EnterpriseOne ERP suite.
The new Demand Flow application helps companies to figure out the best way to lay out their new production lines, while helping them to economically staff that production line, based on available skill and required production volume, the company says. Daily planning and sequencing capabilities help the manufacturer get the most out of their production line, based on specific timeframes and the sequence of customer demand, while “kanban” algorithms help to determine the most efficient flow of materials and finished product within a production line.
Thousands of North American manufacturers and distributors are currently researching or implementing radio frequency identification technology to meet the RFID demands of the largest retailers and the Federal government. Above and beyond satisfying their RFID-driven customers, such as Wal-Mart, Home Depot, Albertson’s, and the Department of Defense, EnterpriseOne users can also find their own benefits in RFID technology. “PeopleSoft RFID Processor eliminates delays and human error from inventory movements in the supply chain,” said Les Wyatt, EnterpriseOne general manager.
PeopleSoft has enabled the use of RFID technology in outbound shipments for some time, and with the availability of the new PeopleSoft RFID Processor application, in December, it will support inbound RFID scanning as well. The deeper integration of RFID technology into the ERP application will provide tangible benefits, including the ability for people in the sales organization to track finished goods, the company says.
On the manufacturing side of the EnterpriseOne suite, the focus is enabling greater flexibility and the capability to quickly retool production to meet demand. PeopleSoft has taken the obvious next step and is enabling front-office personnel to take advantage of this new-found flexibility in the back-office through new capabilities in the CRM application.
EnterpriseOne CRM Version 8.11 features a new “consensus-based forecasting” capability that simultaneously provides a revenue forecast to sales management and a product forecast to operations management. Similarly, customer service reps can feel confident in their company’s ability to ship product profitably with the new “real-time order promising” feature in the CRM app. The new “case and service management” feature helps companies to find out why a product isn’t shipping, and enables automated warranty claims against suppliers for failed components, PeopleSoft says, while the new “lead and opportunity management” alerts planners when there are significant changes in demand.
PeopleSoft has also made several enhancements to the CRM product outside of the demand-driven realm. There is a new Sales Applications component of the CRM suite, which includes sales force automation designed to streamline the sales process; mobile sales features for remote access to data and applications; and the EnterpriseOne Configurator for configuring sales, purchase, and work orders. On the Service Applications side, the new CRM release features enhanced case management and service management capabilities.
To help tie up any loose ends among the sales, plant floor, engineering, and financial sides of a manufacturer, PeopleSoft launched an entirely new set of planning tools for the EnterpriseOne Supply Chain Planning component, called Sales and Operations Planning. The new product is designed to link transactional and financial data together, thereby enabling companies to make more informed supply chain decisions.
PeopleSoft says its S&OP application is based on Dr. Eli Goldratt’s “Theory of Constraints” principle of identifying and managing critical supply chain limitations, with help from Dr. Richard Ling, an expert on sales and operations planning. Some of the things that this software does are try to plan for different market scenarios, to better anticipate customer demand, and to implement a “constraint-based buffer management” strategy for reducing on-hand inventory.
“Embedding the knowledge of these industry experts into the new PeopleSoft solution distinguishes it from any other sales and planning solution on the market,” PeopleSoft says in its announcements. Analysts agree. “The PeopleSoft Supply Chain Planning 8.11 S&OP tool is one of the most comprehensive products on the market,” writes Lora Cecere of AMR Research.
Last but not least, PeopleSoft has made some changes to the EnterpriseOne ERP product proper with Version 8.11. The company says that overall installation times have been reduced 38 percent, and that the time it takes users to complete key tasks has been reduced by 28 percent. Companies taking advantage of the EnterpriseOne Rapid Start collection of pre-packaged software and services can reduce their implementation times by 40 percent.
A good percentage, probably half or more, of EnterpriseOne shops run the software on iSeries servers, although it also runs on Windows, Unix, and Linux platforms. If Oracle should succeed in its acquisition of PeopleSoft (which is looking more and more likely), EnterpriseOne customers would have more flexibility than their PeopleSoft World counterparts to migrate to supported platforms, should Oracle decide that it doesn’t want to support the DB2/400 database.
PeopleSoft doesn’t seem bothered by the upheaval this would cause its customers. The company just wants to continue to write good software for its stock of loyal customers, it seems. “We’ve remained laser-focused on delivering innovative solutions that enable companies to become demand-driven manufacturers,” Wyatt says. “With over 250 new product enhancements in PeopleSoft EnterpriseOne 8.11, we continue to distance ourselves from the competition.”