Supply Chain Intelligence: Software to Smooth the Recall Road

Big software vendors such as SAP and Oracle don't tout features that can aid a recall, but it pays to know what tools may already be in your box

While there’s no such thing as recall software, CIOs can use supply chain intelligence—reporting and analysis capabilities included in or added onto SAP, Oracle, i2 and other vendors’ applications—to extract key factory and distribution data about products gone wrong.

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The big vendors don’t showcase features that CIOs can use in a product recall because that’s a touchy subject, says Fernando Gonzalez, CIO of Byer California, a $300 million clothing maker. Recalls are “one of those things you never want to talk about, therefore vendors are not doing any marketing about it,” he says.

But i2, for example, offers i2 Intelligence, a dashboard to track manufacturing and quality control parameters, such as the rate at which products sampled from the production line fail quality tests. Plant managers, alerted when product faults reach preset thresholds, can investigate and perhaps make changes that could prevent the bad stuff from reaching consumers, thereby averting a future recall. The i2 Intelligence works with i2’s own ERP systems as well as with those from Microsoft, Oracle and SAP.

SmartOps provides analytic tools designed specifically for SAP applications. Its namesake package can be configured to extract data on quality testing and product returns from SAP’s R/3 systems and analyzes it for trends. Technology and supply chain managers can also create reports for compliance audits. Red Prairie offers a data warehouse to track product genealogy so that should a quality issue arise, the company can trace, by lot code, what ingredients went into which finished goods and where those ingredients came from.

Copyright © 2007 IDG Communications, Inc.

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