Data analysis firm adds supply chain tools

The SAS Institute is expanding its line of business-intelligence software to help users apply in-depth analytics to their supply...

The SAS Institute is expanding its line of business-intelligence software to help users apply in-depth analytics to their supply chain processes.

SAS will ship two applications designed to exploit its analysis capabilities in the supply chain arena, and has set up a supply chain analytics consulting group to help companies install the applications. Both modules are available on a limited basis now and are due for general release by the end of the year.

SAS senior manager of business planning strategy Dennis McCarron said the applications would complement existing supply chain management systems, such as the ones sold by SAP and i2 Technologies. The goal is to help users cut costs while optimising their quality-control efforts.

To that end, McCarron added, SAS will offer a demand-intelligence package that provides an integrated view of inventory, price optimisation and product demand processes. Companies will be able to use the software to tailor their supply chains to address market needs and to adjust pricing and promotions. The application is, initially, being developed for the retail and consumer goods industries.

SAS is also working on a manufacturing process analysis application to help companies find ways to improve product quality and reduce time to market. That product will, initially, target semiconductor and other high-tech companies.

While SAS already sells some supply chain analysis components, it is now creating an end-to-end offering that covers both the supply and demand sides of supply chain processes, said Aberdeen Group analyst Bob Moran. The software will let users examine how events at one point in a supply chain could affect other segments. Moran said that could be a key capability for companies that try to get by with the thinnest of profit margins.

Cognos and Hyperion Solutions have also said they have been working to add supply chain analysis tools to their business-intelligence product lines.

Scott Lawrence, director of analytic applications at Cognos, claimed his company's software would give users the ability to analyse their supply chain operations fully.

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