ProcessPro, an ERP software vendor from Minnesota, United States, recently presented a live demo session of its software ProcessPro ERP to TEC analysts. Here’s a brief overview of the company, its product, and some key factors differentiating this vendor from its competitors. Read the rest of this entry »
Part I of this blog series introduced the burning issues of food safety and the resultant need for a holistic and proactive safety strategy (rather than to reactively recall plagued products). The previous post also talked in more detail about Lawson Software’s holistic approach entitled The “4Ps” of Food Safety.
In this part, Rory Granros, process industry and product marketing manager at Infor, also strongly opines that in order to protect product safety, companies need a holistic and proactive Product Compliance Strategy. Read the rest of this entry »
Food production and distribution is a serious and strategic business, and I am not aware of anyone in my surroundings that takes it lightly; food can not only delight us, but can also make us quite sick and indisposed. While my inner circles (pets included) have luckily not been casualties of recent salmonella, E.coli, and whatnot outbreaks from tainted chilly peppers, tomatoes, spinach, pet food, or most recently peanut butter, the 2008 year-end holidays were not much fun for my family.
Namely, the “G.I. bug” that our 18-month-old likely got in her playgroup spread so quickly and violently to anyone who was in contact with her (including the broader family members that stopped by to just traditionally exchange holiday gifts). Sure, viral gastroenteritis might likely have had nothing to do with what we ate at the time, but the feeling of being listless and other unpleasant (and unspeakable) G.I. bug symptoms were quite similar to those that food poisoning outbreaks can “treat” us to.
Food processing and distribution are not be the only market with burning product safety issues, since similar issues can also apply to the drug and pharmaceuticals sector or consumer packaged goods (CPGs); remember lead-tainted toys or antifreeze-laced toothpaste coming from China? Still, we all seem to be the most sensitive about food-related breaking news, possibly due to the likelihood of those hitting home (perhaps even in a willful way by bio-terrorists).
Thus, some food processing market experts have lately been frustrated by companies’ focus on location and lot control, serial number tracking, and traceability as the panaceas to solve product safety issues. Read the rest of this entry »
Part 1 of this blog series described the conundrum that commodity-based manufacturers encounter when it comes to determining the best price, production mix, and volumes. It also introduced SignalDemand, Inc., which applies math and science to the problem of price and margin optimization software for large-scale manufacturers.
SignalDemand stands alone as the only provider of price management and optimization software that takes into account the key supply and production constraints impacting manufacturers. In other words, its application is using pricing as a demand and supply matching mechanism for manufacturers of consumer goods.
Namely, on the supply (upstream) side, commodity-focused hedge funds have long leveraged supply optimization software, while on the demand (downstream) side, wholesale distributors and retailers have for some time leveraged demand management and optimization software. Conversely, manufacturers have for too long been left in the middle shooting in the dark when it comes to concurrent pricing and demand management. Read the rest of this entry »
In TEC’s previous articles and blog posts about pricing management and optimization vendors like Zilliant, Vendavo, DemandTec, Servigistics or Revionics, the main focus was on finished goods (including spare parts). Whether these final products are sold at retail shelves to consumers or dealt directly between trading partners, their proper pricing is meant to create demand and profitability for the seller. In other words, the idea is to harness science to understand products’ baseline demand, price sensitivity, and the impact of pricing actions based on demand sensing insights.
Recently, however, I had a chance to meet with an interesting pricing optimization startup vendor whose aim is to help upstream manufacturers and suppliers understand how to better translate commodity (e.g., corn, soy, oil, gas, electricity, metals, polypropylene) prices into viable final product mixes. For example, how can a meat packer make better downstream supply chain decisions on its choice of cuts (e.g., a beef carcass as a source material can yield more than one thousand various meat cuts as finished products) and ensure that they are priced best on the retail shelf at the end of a highly perishable supply chain? Read the rest of this entry »
Lawson Software has hardly ever been associated with flamboyance and ostentatious behavior, let alone in these murky economic times. Still, its chief executive officer’s (CEO’s) recent dismissal of the software as a service (SaaS) market’s prospects will have drawn some consternation in the vendors’ and analysts’ community. However, a somewhat amended and clarified stance on SaaS recently came from Lawson’s senior vice president (SVP) of product development and strategy, Dean Hager.
Like the vast majority of enterprise applications vendors, Lawson concedes the tough economic milieu, which was recognized in its sloppy fiscal Q109 performance. Prospective customers are simply slowing down the “looking and decision-making” process, and also the negotiations are admittedly much more involved. The enterprise resource planning (ERP) vendors’ competition is getting dirtier, with everyone fighting very hard over what looks like fewer deals.
Still (at least not yet), Lawson has not given the impression of despair or panic, despite recent cost-cutting (read: layoffs) measures. Such measures appear to be in line with the economic climate and the measures of other peer companies. Read the rest of this entry »
Part I of this blog post introduced the burning issues of food safety and the ensuing need for traceability. To the end of providing entire food supply chain traceability and information visibility, mid-March, during its CUE 2008 annual user conference, Lawson Software announced the availability of Lawson M3 Trace Engine 3.0, the first version offered within the US market.
The application is designed to help companies in the food and beverage (F&B) industries improve product quality and help prevent and manage potential food safety and quality risks. It specifically helps companies strengthen and simplify the process of tracking ingredients and finished products through complex global food supply chains. Read the rest of this entry »
Besides the ongoing (seemingly never-ending) presidential campaign and celebrity scandals/gossip, food safety is very much in the news. Indeed, incidents of outbreaks, contamination, product recalls and whatnot flood TV channels as breaking news every now and then. Consumers, governments and the various members of the food supply chain are rightly concerned about food safety, and there has been increasing pressure for food and consumer product goods (CPG) supply chain traceability, in a pervasive manner.
Consumers and governments (both becoming ever-more educated and informed on one side, but still confused on the other side) are concerned about the safety of the food supply and protecting the public. While demanding more product choice and delivery speed, consumers have been voicing fears over food safety in the wake of recent salmonella outbreaks (remember the contaminated spinach or major chocolate recall cases?), cases of pet deaths due to poisonous imported pet food, lead-tainted imported children’s toys, anti-freeze tainted imported toothpaste, and so on…
The ever-longer and global food supply chain (often called “from farm to fork”) includes crop farmers/growers (utilizing fertilizers and pesticides), feed processors, livestock farmers (that might feed and treat animals accordingly [or not]), manufacturers (primary and value-add food processors), packaging and labeling sites, distributors, retailers, and food service companies (restaurants and cafeterias).
These supply chain member companies have to be concerned about the consumer safety issues, plus the potential negative and even fatal impact on their brands and businesses. For instance, high-and-mighty retailers customarily want ever higher service levels from suppliers (without any negative publicity), while the overall industry itself wants to protect “brand” value and reduce recall costs. Read the rest of this entry »