SAS pushes end-to-end supply chain analytics suite

Business intelligence vendor SAS Institute Inc. is boosting its product line and consulting arm to help companies apply integrated, in-depth analytics to their supply chain processes.

The Cary, N.C.-based software vendor yesterday announced several technology-related enhancements that it claimed can exploit the company's considerable know-how in the supply chain arena. The company's role, said Dennis McCarron, senior manager of business planning strategy at SAS, is to complement existing supply chain systems, such as those from SAP AG or i2 Technologies Inc., and enable companies to cut costs while optimizing quality control.

To that end, he said, SAS will offer a highly integrated demand intelligence package that offers a holistic view of inventory, price optimization and demand processes. Ultimately, by forecasting what customers want, companies can use the product to tailor their supply chain processes to meet market needs and improve promotion, pricing and plans, McCarron said. The offering will initially be tailored for the retail and consumer packaged goods industries.

Currently the demand intelligence package is in limited release; general availability is expected by the end of 2003.

SAS said it's also working on a process-intelligence module that will help manufacturing companies improve their workflows and product quality. The application is intended to assist in problem-solving and help cut cycle lengths and speed up time to market. It initially will be targeted at the semiconductor and high technology sectors. SAS plans to later target it at pharmaceutical companies.

Available on a limited basis now, the module will ship generally by the end of the year.

SAS has also formed a supply chain analytics consulting group to assist companies with installing the applications and getting a rapid return on investment.

The software vendor already had in place the components of a supply chain analytics offering, such as its supplier relationship management application, according to Bob Moran, an analyst at Aberdeen Group Inc. in Boston. Now, he said, it's creating an end-to-end offering that goes from the supply side to the demand side of a process, with the ability to examine how one event in one part of the process will affect other portions of the supply chain. For companies that are surviving by the thinnest of margins, the SAS analytics offering could be key going forward, he said.

SAS rival Cognos Inc. is also preparing a revision to its supply chain analytic suite, said Scott Lawrence, director of analytic applications at Ottawa-based Cognos. The company is readying a manufacturing-specific application that will be available generally in the next few months.

Copyright © 2003 IDG Communications, Inc.

7 inconvenient truths about the hybrid work trend
Shop Tech Products at Amazon