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Infor Supply Chain Software Review

 

Infor is a private company founded in 2002 under the name Agilisys. In 2004 they changed their name to Infor Global Solutions with the acquisition of Infor Business Solutions. The company has grown in largest part as a roll-up with significant acquisitions including MAPICS in 2005 and SSA Global 2006. MAPICS is an ERP software solution developed by IBM. Through the SSA Global acquisition, Infor also acquired Bann ERP software and Epiphany CRM software. Infor is the tenth largest software company and the third largest ERP software company (behind SAP and Oracle). Revenues are $2.7 billion while revenues from SCM systems are in excess of $300 million.

Vertical Markets

Infor customers include midsize to large companies, predominately in the aerospace, chemical, automotive, high-tech and industry equipment sectors.

Supply Chain Software Products

Infor software suites include CRM, ERP, PLM, SCM and Financials. Because of its acquisition history, it generally offers multiple business software applications in each category.

SCM Features

Software Architecture and Cross Application Solutions

Infor’s has standardized on the ION framework for an open SOA that supports:

  • IT Deployment Tools
  • Business Process and Event Management
  • Application Interfaces
  • Master Data Management

Sales and Operation Planning — Infor can monitor published demand, inventory, and supply plans; and can analyze the impact of promotions, events, and new products on demand. They do not support a full featured S&OP solution.

Demand Management — Infor forecast modeling is self adjusting to shifts in trends. Forecasting uses demand history and multiple sources of inputs, such as causal forecast and promotional plans. Both internal stakeholders and external trading partners can collaborate in the planning process. Their ERP, WMS and Distribution Planning solutions addresses order fulfillment.

Supply Management —

Strategic Network Planning – For planning mid-term and long-term sourcing decisions, the network design component models and performs what if analysis on the number of locations, location sizes, transportation modes and production capacity. Optimization features address sourcing, inventory strategies, mitigating risks and cost analysis.

Distribution Planning – Planners can:

  • View the Global Positioning of Inventory
  • Set Replenishment Policies
  • Establish Services Levels by Product and Location
  • Redistribute Inventory According to Customer Demands

Replenishment – Inventory levels are maintained based on demand plans and service levels. Different scenarios can be modeled to analyze the impact to inventory, transportation, manufacturing and procurement plans.

Vendor Managed Inventory – VMI replenishes customer inventory based on stock and sales data sent to the vendor.

Procurement Management – Purchase orders are generated in Infor’s ERP products. SCM Event Management and WMS solutions provide tracking and visibility to procurement milestones and exceptions, such as delays, receipt of ASNs and physical receipt of goods.

Warehouse Management —

Yard Management – Infor features include:

  • Checking Trailer Arrivals and Departures
  • Tracking Yard Locations
  • Providing Visibility to Inventory in Trailers
  • Scheduling Trailers Movement to Door Locations

Inbound Processing – The receiving process supports both planned and unplanned receipts. Pallet and carton auto-identifications are matched to the supplier’s ASN and a receipt is auto generated. Put-a-way process is based on user defined rules with support for multiple storage locations types.

Outbound Processing – Inventory picks are planned for outbound orders with wave process that allows the planner multiple selection criteria and priorities. Standard paperwork is generated such as bill of lading, container pack lists and manifest.

Cross Docking – Infor supports flow through operations for planned cross docks and opportunistic cross docks that can be identified during inbound receiving.

Value Added Services – Infor’s features includes: Kit to Order; Configure to Order; Special Packaging and Labeling; Add Accessories; and Postponements.

Storage – Multiple storage types can be configured to support diverse product requirements such as oversized items, frozen foods, and hazardous materials. Inventory can be configured as FIFO or LIFO.

Transportation Management

Planning – Infor’s planning includes:

  • Optimizing Schedules
  • Least Cost Planning
  • Shipment Consolidation
  • Multi-Modal Planning
  • Carrier Solicitation and Bid Selection

Dispatch – Based on customer orders, pickups, modes of transportation, and route zones, the dispatcher performs the following:

  • Assigns carriers to routes
  • Produces Shipment Documents
  • Generates EDI transactions

Visibility is provided through the shipment lifecycle.

Freight Charges and Settlements – Infor’s freight settlements supports automated freight audits, invoice matching, payments.

Fleet Management – A key feature of fleet management is optimizing the mix of private assets and common carriers.

Supplier Relationship Management — Not Supported.

Customer Relationship Management — Infor supports a standalone CRM solution called Epiphany and also offers integration to Salesforce.com using its ION integration framework. Epiphany is largely targeted to the B2C market while its integration to Salesforce.com is targeted to the B2B market. The integration between Infor supply chain software and CRM software is very light.

Supply Chain Software Strengths and Weaknesses

Infor strengths include their size and a full lineup of solutions, except for S&OP and SRM.

The Infor ION framework and open SOA architecture addresses the critical functionalities expected for an SOA platform and sophisticated Supply Chain Management software integration and extensibility. The Supply Chain Management software has a full set of robust planning features from long-term planning to short-term execution planning. When integrated with their ERP software, procurement provides multiple options to help productivity and improve overall quality of information. The features, usability and functionality for WMS and TMS are up to date with best practices.

Infor acquired much of their supply chain systems offering from the purchases of SSA Global and MAPICS. Two major trends in SCM systems are demand management and relationship management. Supplier Relationship Management is largely missing and CRM is addressed as a standalone product that is not well integrated with the supply chain software. The demand planning and forecasting at the executive level is not on par with best in class SCM vendors; although, the features are robust at the operational and tactical level. Infor demand management lacks demand shaping functionality that comes with fully integrated CRM.

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