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Baan releases new supply-chain software suite

The enterprise software maker rolls out its new supply chain products, focussing on customer-resource management and international e-commerce capabilities.

Enterprise software maker Baan today rolled out its new suite of supply chain products, focussing on customer-resource management and international e-commerce capabilities, in hopes the new product can help swing its sales back in order.

As previously reported, the Baan Supply Chain suite is result of the Dutch company's efforts to cobble together a suite of applications that feature technology Baan acquired when it bought Caps Logistics and the Berclain Group.

The Baan Supply Chain suite includes 19 integrated software modules that provide companies with a framework to manage customer interactions while monitoring transactions and collaboration with business partners, the company said.

Strategic planning modules help companies locate plants and distribution facilities, and other critical parts of the supply chain, while Operational planning modules manage "customer intelligence" and process-feedback and predict and analyze demand, while helping companies plan, price and coordinate their manufacturing and distribution strategies.

Transactional execution modules based on a collaborative technology framework provides integration with other applications on the network that are critical to the supply chain process--like ERP, CRM, and configuration.

The new suite also includes integration with Baan ERP, Baan Front Office, Baan E-Enterprise and other competing enterprise applications, the company said.

"In this Internet economy, supply chains must ultimately serve the customer," said Baan chief executive Mary Coleman, in a statement. "Because today's customers want their products and services faster, cheaper and better than their last purchase, companies must continually re-architect their supply chain to increase customer intimacy and satisfy ever-changing demand."

Baan's roots are in making enterprise resource planning (ERP) software that automates a company's business needs, including human resources and accounting. But like rivals SAP, J.D. Edwards, and Oracle, Baan has moved to offset a downturn in ERP software sales with a focus on the supply chain market, which has been historically dominated by companies such as i2 Technologies and Manugistics.

Analysts have bright expectations for the supply chain management market. AMR Research expects the supply chain management market to grow 50 percent to $4.5 billion in 1999, and expand to $13.6 billion by 2002.

In 1998, Baan reported losses of $315 million as license revenues dropped and costs increased. Coleman said at the time that Baan had achieved its goal of cutting expenses, and stressed that it would take about a year for the company to see the benefits of the cutbacks.

Available now, pricing for Baan's new supply chain management applications range from $50,000 to $800,000 per component, the company said.