Expanding horizons from plant to supply chain

Make appears in the center of the supply chain - but is a very different world

Make appears in the center of the supply chain – but is a very different world

Many software companies expand out from their initial functions to support a broader process. The question is, how easy will the expansion be to make the new capabilities as successful as the original ones have been?

Two prominent providers of manufacturing plant floor focused software have recently expanded their scope to include supply chain capabilities.  Camstar has developed Omneo, and Dassault DELMIA, which includes Apriso, just announced its intent to buy Quintiq. These are big expansions of footprint, customer base, and markets.

Naturally, the supply chain feeds the plant, and vice versa. This may seem natural. Make is in the center of the supply chain operations reference model (SCOR). No production plant is an island. You need materials coming in from suppliers to make products and you need supply chain logistics to move those finished goods out to customers.

Logical hand-offs, right? In theory, yes. Expanding the frame of the problem can be very useful for customers and for software developers.

Yet these moves are also surely going to put these companies out of their traditional comfort zones. The sales model will need to be different, and the marketing as well.

Customers may find great synergies and benefits, but must also have patience with themselves and the providers. Each party will need to bringing new groups of people together to create a larger vision to take full advantage.

This push for a larger scope is exactly what Dassault is pushing into for its customers, and Quintiq is strong in batch and process industries. These are a far cry from the original Dassault “wing and wheels” markets, but Dassault has pushed beyond those many years ago. This is a broad scope supply chain and logistics optimization, planning and scheduling.

Camstar is taking a difference approach, keeping the new Omneo product line completely separate with a relatively low-key launch. This line also pushes into some indsutries where the core Camstar MES has not been focused, electronics OEMs. It focuses on supplier quality data analysis, which is a logical extension from the SigmaQuest acquisition a few years ago.

Expanding the scope of your vision about what constitutes operations is always a good idea. Make everyone part of the solution and your operations can truly become an efficient and effective part of your business.

Yet realize that the groups in source, plan, make, assure quality, and deliver may traditionally have viewed each other as “the enemy” holding them back from success. Planners and designers often feel their vision was not executed as planned. Those in execution typically feel squeezed by infeasible plans or designs that don’t take everything into account.

Everyone is doing their best, but from a biased viewpoint usually. So start by changing mindsets and learning to respect each others’ role in improvement.

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