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Oracle beefs up supply chain lineup

Oracle announces a Web-enabled scheduling and planning software system to beef up its supply chain management offerings, along with a technology pact with Ilog.

Oracle today announced a Web-enabled scheduling and planning software system to beef up its supply chain management (SCM) offerings, along with a technology pact with Ilog, a SCM software provider.

The Redwood Shores, California-based Oracle said in a statement that its Advanced Planning and Scheduling (APS) software, slated to be available later this year, is expected to allow implementation in one day, claiming that businesses can begin to realize their return on investment (ROI) with the system almost immediately.

Under the alliance with smaller, standalone supply chain firm Ilog, whose competitors in the SCM market include i2 Technologies, Manugistics, and Numertrix, Oracle said it plans to embed Ilog's optimization components into Oracle's scheduling and planning modules with the new APS offering.

The new offering is comprised of Oracle Demand Planning, Oracle Advanced Supply Chain Planning, Oracle Global Available To Promise (ATP) Server, and Oracle Manufacturing Scheduling intended to enable businesses to boost their supply chains in order to maximize revenue, cut down on expenses, and make full use of all assets, the company said.

In addition, Oracle APS is compatible with almost any manufacturing environment, the company said. The offering is also developed so that supply chain partners can participate in a "collaborative" planning process to help increase customer service and lower costs by promising orders based on supplier resources and capacity as well as sharing demand forecast and production schedule information via the Internet.

"We believe the Oracle Advanced Planning and Scheduling system will allow companies to plan and schedule the entire virtual enterprise over the Internet, from high-level strategic planning down to detailed plant scheduling in a single plan," Donald Klaiss, a senior vice president at Oracle, said in a statement.

Today's announcements signal Oracle's move forward into the SCM market, along with other large, enterprise resource planning (ERP) vendors, like SAP and PeopleSoft. As previously reported, analysts had said in March that they expect ERP vendors to come on strong this year with SCM products of their own. At that time, they said that SAP, Baan, Oracle, and PeopleSoft are looking to supply chain sales to pad their pockets with new revenues as high-end demand for their ERP software continues to decline.

Last December, fellow ERP vendor PeopleSoft acquired Distinction Software, which makes supply chain planning software for high volume manufacturers, as part of its move into the SCM market.

According to market analysis firm AMR Research, the supply chain management market is forecasted to grow 50 percent, or to $4.5 billion in 1999, and expand to $13.6 billion by 2002, as reported by CNET News.com.