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Plant-Wide Research Group, Inc. (PWR) is the leading consulting and market research firm focused on the manufacturing mission critical software markets including ERP, PLM, CRM, and SCM. With more than 25 years of experience, we are the leading experts in transforming the IT BackOffice and supply chains of the world’s most successful manufacturing companies. PWR has designed and delivered end-to-end, customer-to-supplier information solutions for closed-loop business management. Closed-loop mission critical software systems are designed to enable organizations to take a new leap in productivity by synchronizing the planning and execution processes across the extended enterprise.

PWR understands that the key to company success is to combine a best-practice business process with leading-edge technology in a workflow-based infrastructure that enables users to turn “analysis into action.” Based on our experience with the world’s leading manufacturers, PWR supports the needs of all companies. Our experiences prove that even businesses within the same vertical and markets are not the same. Based on that understanding, PWR has assisted its clients to:

  • Select and implement ERP, CRM, and SCM solutions,
  • Develop new IT initiatives including short and long term IT programs,
  • Redesign comprehensive solution workflows for enterprise-level management,
  • Design closed-loop supply chain management solutions for synchronized execution, and
  • Provide on-going customer support.

To learn more about how these programs can help your organization reach the next level of productivity, contact PWR at info@plant-wide.com or call 978-663-9212.

This Issue Sponsored By IMTI - The Integrated Manufacturing Technology Initiative (IMTI) was launched in January 2000 to bring together industry, academic, and government partners to support and strengthen the nation’s manufacturing community. It has grown into a powerful public/private partnership that includes several federal agencies and leading companies including Rockwell Collins and Procter & Gamble. Through R&D and strategic collaboration, IMTI members are defining the future of manufacturing technology and manufacturing enterprises along with leading companies such as John Deer and GM. To learn more about joining IMTI and for Information on Upcoming Workshops or to request copies of IMTI Publications, contact PWR at: bill@plant-wide.com

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In This Issue:

  • Memo From Bill: Supply Network Management (SNM)
  • Internet: MyMicrosoft?
  • Price Management: The Missing Part of SNM
  • Chemicals: High Costs Dent Profits At Dow, Dupont
  • ERP: Oracle Supports JDE On Fusion
  • ERP: Microsoft Dynamics Still Pushing SME Sales; Seeking Better Resellers
  • ERP: IFS World Conference Biggest Ever
  • ERP: SAP Introduces Government HCM Solution
  • A&D: CACI to Purchase Information Technology Company
  • OS: Microsoft Says Vista Still ‘On-Track’ Despite Gartner Doubts
  • Antitrust: Here Is A New Way to fund State Government
  • Report: The Pharmaceutical-Biotech Industry Continues To Grow
  • CRM/ID: M-Tech Information Technology Releases P-Synch 6.3.0.
  • IP: Blackberry Sued AGAIN!
  • Webcom Sells WebSource CPQ To PKWARE

Memo From Bill: Supply Network Management (SNM) - Communications, coordination, and synchronization are the keys to improved performance in multi-enterprise Supply Network Management. Supply Collaboration/Lean Replenishment has helped manufacturing companies manage their business, but many manufacturers run into multiple replenishment modes including lean supply strategies by stake holders across their supplier base. Unfortunately, these advanced strategies present an even greater management challenges in today’s volatile global energy, financial, complex vertical markets and complex outsourcing of engineering, jobs, and logistics. In these complex networking environments, disruption is often catastrophic. The solutions that can allow companies to enable long-term (1-3 years) success is a sharp focus on enabling fluid multi-enterprise collaboration between customer, manufacturer and supply chain programs, primarily around forecast and capacity coordination, as well as short-term (0-30 days) order execution, shipment and inventory tracking.

Supply collaboration is designed to help companies implement and automate a lean network of carefully crafted supply processes such as vendor managed inventory (VMI), pull-based (Kanban) replenishment, and other just-in-time (JIT) programs coupled with an advanced next generation collaboration tool that is single-database platform enabled. For example, Plant-Wide has been working with e-Synergy, just such a management tool. No two companies are the same and neither are their respective supply networks, hence something above an SCM is required. And a supply network concept must be engineered at the process corporate and enterprise level that allows total collaboration across all departments and levels in unique enterprise situations. Plant-Wide has developed a quick, easy to install and use supply network management (SNM) system approach using the e-Synergy platform currently being used by many SME as well as mid-size enterprises. For more information on this extremely successful methodology, contact Scott Rich at srich@plant-wide.com. Scott will work with you and your staff to develop an SNM concept designed specifically to meet your environment. It is time to allow companies to transition to a demand-driven approach within their supply base including outsourcing, transportation, vendor, manufacturing all the way back -inclusive of the customer. It can enforce, monitor and promote process discipline through business rules and allow visibility to complete purchase order lifecycle management.

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Internet: MyMicrosoft? - Yahoo shares were up on speculation that Microsoft has considered the idea of acquiring a stake in Yahoo, and the WSJ reports the two companies have discussed possible options during the past year. Since 2004, Microsoft has invested heavily to better compete with Google, but it has yet to boost its share of search or online advertising. Will we see a MyMicrosoft?

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Chemicals: High Costs Dent Profits At Dow, Dupont - Speaking of commodity chemicals, Dow Chemicals quarterly profit fell 10% as higher energy prices and raw material costs offset strong results in plastic sales. Overall, reduced demand for many products and record energy costs ($800 million higher than same period last year) dropped profits slightly. Dupont’s profits dropped 16%. Dow’s net profit declined to $1.21B.

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ERP: Oracle Supports JDE On Fusion - To kick off the Applications Unlimited initiative, Oracle announced the general availability of EnterpriseOne 8.12, the latest release of the application suite. The release features a new module for supplier sourcing as well as enhancements to the supply chain, human capital, and customer relationship management modules. Food and beverage manufacturers will benefit from new modules for grower management, grower pricing and payment, and blend management. The conference brought together the three largest user groups representing Oracle's customers. The event gave Oracle an ideal venue to declare that it will enhance its major application product lines indefinitely. The commitment represents a distinct shift in Oracle's application strategy. Ever since the software giant announced plans to ship its next-generation Fusion Applications in 2008, it has stated that it would support its JD Edwards, PeopleSoft, Siebel, and E-Business Suite applications through at least 2013. Oracle also said it would ship new releases of these applications, but it only outlined plans to do so until 2008. By contrast, last week's announcement commits Oracle to deliver new releases of its current products alongside of Fusion Applications for many years to come. This is one of the biggest announcements it has made about its applications since it acquired PeopleSoft and JD Edwards over a year ago. This could not only help Oracle to maintain the loyalty of its newly acquired customers, but also help IBM to boost sales of its System i5 servers. As part of the announcement, Oracle reached out to iSeries and System i5 users by pledging to enhance JD Edwards EnterpriseOne and World applications running on their server beyond 2013. The pledge reflects Oracle's realization that most JD Edwards customers rely on the iSeries and are fiercely loyal to the platform. To underline the new commitment, Oracle President Charles Phillips invited Mark Sheare (IBM's General Manager for System i) to take part in the announcement. Shearer commended Oracle for its support and pledged that IBM will continue its ongoing collaboration with the application vendor.

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ERP: Microsoft Dynamics Still Pushing SME Sales, Seeking Better Resellers – Microsoft’s Dynamics needs more branding and sales, but Q3 delivered revenue growth. Microsoft Business Solutions delivered 21% revenue growth due to continued customer interest in the Microsoft Dynamics line of business management solutions. Microsoft recently announced total third-quarter revenue of $10.90 billion for the period ended March 31, 2006, a 13% increase over the same quarter of the prior year. Operating income for the quarter was $3.89 billion, or a 17% increase compared with $3.33 billion in the prior-year period. Operating income for the third quarter included $397 million, compared with $768 million in the prior-year period, for certain legal charges. Net income and diluted earnings per share for the third quarter were $2.98 billion and $0.29 per share, which included $0.03 of legal charges. For the same quarter of the previous year, net income and diluted earnings per share were $2.56 billion and $0.23, which included $0.05 per share of legal charges. At the Microsoft Management Summit 2006 (MMS 2006), the company highlighted its momentum with industry leading independent software vendors.

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ERP: IFS World Conference Biggest Ever – IFS says IFS World Conference was the BIGGEST ever. The theme of this year’s conference was “Creating payback Together,” and IFS said “Together was the operative word.” Almost 1,300 partners, customers, and IFS staff heard IFS’ CEO Michael Hallén announce the coming release, IFS Applications 7. Representing 314 companies and 31 countries, they built value-adding networks and shared knowledge and experiences. Workshops, training seminars, and breakout sessions provided attendees with a deeper insight into the functionality of IFS Applications, demonstrating a range of benefits from user friendliness to bottom-line business gains. The sneak preview of IFS Applications 7 was one of the highlights of the IFS World Conference 2005.

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ERP: SAP Introduces Government HCM Solution - SAP Public Services, Inc., a subsidiary of SAP America, Inc., has introduced a new solution designed to help federal agencies leverage best practices and processes for human capital management (HCM) amid increasing legislative requirements, policy changes and a growing percentage of the federal workforce moving into retirement. The new application, SAP HCM for U.S. Federal Government Organizations, streamlines and automates human resource (HR) job functions -- such as benefits administration, workforce planning, talent management and personnel action requests -- to help HR line of business professionals more effectively manage their core processes within federal civilian agencies. The announcement was made at the SAP Public Services Business Forum, being held today in Washington, D.C.

To comply with the President's Management Agenda, federal civilian agencies must modernize HCM functions and create a more efficient government. At the same time, with roughly 70% of the federal government's more than 2.5 million employees nearing retirement, HR professionals face the statistical certainty of the loss of valuable skills and institutional knowledge coupled with increased competition for talent. By standardizing and automating best practices, improving transparency, communications and information flow, the SAP application is designed to provide chief human capital officers and their teams with a strategic, open and integrated platform to help flexibly address changing HCM demands.

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A&D: CACI to Purchase Information Technology Company - Defense and intelligence services company CACI International Inc. on Monday said it agreed to buy information technology company AlphaInsight Corp. to bolster its business with agencies of the federal government. AlphaInsight, which specializes in serving the federal government, had revenue of $42 million last year. CACI said it expects the acquisition to add 1 cent per share to its earnings in the current fiscal year, and between $0.06 and $0.07 in fiscal 2007.

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OS: Microsoft Says Vista Still ‘On-Track’ Despite Gartner Doubts – Microsoft’s Vista includes major new security improvements and graphical user interface enhancements, and was originally due out in 2004 as part of Microsoft’s preferred schedule of releasing new client operating systems every three years. However, recent reports have caused Gartner to have doubts about meeting current targets. Vista’s release date was pushed back several times until Microsoft committed last year to have the OS out in time for the Christmas 2006 season. Then, in March, the company announced that the release would be delayed into early 2007 (see “Update: Microsoft Delays Consumer Release of Vista to January 2007”). Microsoft has yet to deliver beta 2 for Vista, which will be tested by as many as two million users. “We remain on track to deliver Windows Vista Beta 2 in the second quarter and to deliver the final product to volume license customers in November 2006 and to other businesses and consumers in January 2007,” said a spokeswoman for Microsoft.

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Antitrust: Here Is A New Way To Fund State Government - Microsoft has consistently defended its prices as fair and reasonable, government regulators, customers and business rivals have long insisted that the software maker leveraged its Windows operating system — the brains of most personal computers — to build an unfair market advantage. Microsoft has settled with the State of California. It will pay $70 million to thousands of California government agencies in the latest legal settlement spurred by price-gouging allegations against the world's largest computer software maker. The proposed truce covers a wide range of taxpayer-backed agencies — from local school districts to regional transportation systems — that bought Microsoft products dating back to 1995. If the settlement gains court approval later this year, Microsoft will divide the $70 million among the eligible government agencies as they buy computers, printers and software, including brands that compete against Microsoft. The proposed payments are similar to a $1.1 billion pool that Microsoft set up for California consumers and businesses in 2004 after settling a lawsuit alleging the software maker had abused its power in the computing industry to inflate prices.

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Report: The Pharmaceutical-Biotech Industry Continues To Grow - Negative press and product liability lawsuits aside, the Pharmaceutical-Biotech Industry continues to grow. A review of 2005 forecast projects for North America at the end of the 1Q 2005 reveals that when compared to the 2006 numbers within the same time frame that while there was a drop in the total number of projects, there was an actual increase in spending of over 15%. Even when adjusting those numbers to reflect projects that were cancelled or put on hold as of the first quarter reviews, the total investment value (TIV) for 2006 increased over 2005 by just over 10% (reference: Pharmaceutical Tracker - Online Database). Forecast spending for 2005 originally called for 367 capital and maintenance projects to kick-off, carrying a TIV of $14.3 billion. First quarter updates of the 2005 project data reflected seventeen projects falling out thus leaving 350 active projects forecast for the year valued at $13.7 billion. A variety of reasons caused these projects to be taken out of play for the year. Some were flat out cancelled or put on hold due to anything from regulatory delays in product approvals or shaky finances (reference: 2006 Pharmaceutical-Biotech Forecast). Other projects that were “lost” were merely pushed out into 2006 and beyond. Those projects are progressing through the various project activity phases and the changes are reflected in everything from timing to site selection.

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CRM/ID: M-Tech Information Technology Releases P-Synch 6.3.0. - M-Tech Information Technology, a provider of identity management solutions, announced the general availability of P-Synch 6.3.0. This product upgrade includes substantial enhancements to the P-Synch technology platform, plus a number of significant improvements to ease of use and ease of administration. Over the past several years, M-Tech has expanded its identity management solution from stand-alone password management (P-Synch) and user provisioning (ID-Synch) to an integrated suite of products spanning access certification (ID-Certify), network resource access administration (ID-Access), org chart construction and maintenance (ID-Org), and secure management of administrator credentials (ID-Archive).

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IP: Blackberry Sued Again! – Last week Research in Motion Ltd., maker of BlackBerry email devices, was sued in the Eastern District of Texas for patent infringement by closely held software maker Visto Corp. Visto won a $3.7 million patent suit in the same district last week against Seven Networks Inc. RIM said it did not expect its customers to be affected and court proceedings likely would not begin before mid-2007. RIM’s stock price fell 4.7% (Wall Street Journal).

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Webcom Sells WebSource CPQ To PKWARE - Webcom, Inc. has been selected by PKWARE, Inc. to automate its Quotation and Proposal Generation Process. Webcom, Inc., is a developer of simplified quote-to-order enablement for the selling of complex products and services. It has announced that PKWARE, Inc. has selected the Webcom WebSource CPQ solution to simplify its quote-to-cash process. PKWARE is the leading provider of enterprise solutions for secure and efficient data transfer and storage. PKWARE, Inc. is the creator and continuing innovator of the ZIP standard. ZIP is the most widely used method for data compression and the transfer of information across all major computing platforms: Windows, UNIX, Linux, iSeries, and zSeries. The SecureZIP product family extends the ZIP file format to include the ability to add strong encryption and authentication to ZIP archives, making it possible not only to compress files, but also to prevent unauthorized access and modification.

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