Supply Chain Briefs: October 2007


Alphi Apparel Uses Momentis for PLM to EDI


To manage the growing size of its business, Alphi Apparel Group Inc. has implemented Momentis' product lifecycle management (PLM) module, rounding out a systems infrastructure that also includes Momentis solutions for production, global sourcing, allocation, cost estimating, shipping, logistics and EDI.


Momentis' PLM module can be used for line planning, management of fabrics and colors, technical specification development and vendor collaboration. Alphi is using both the online and offline versions of the PLM module to work with global vendors. Vendors can use the tool to submit design drafts, which then can be synched up with the system at Alphi's main office for approval and final style creation.


"Our objective was to extend our capabilities in a way that would streamline our operational efficiencies," says Jonathan Knopp, import director, Alphi Apparel Group.


Alphi Apparel Group is a designer and manufacturer of men's clothing such as shirts, sweaters, pajamas and sportswear. Its brands include Viyella, Leo Chevalier Design, Collection by Leo Chevalier Design, San Dino, Cavori, Kinloch Anderson and SportzBiz.


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Lion Boosts DC Productivity with HighJump


Lion Apparel is reporting strong operational improvements, including a 30 percent increase in productivity, following its installation of HighJump Software's Warehouse Advantage solution at its 17 worldwide DCs.


A vendor for the U.S. Department of Defense, Lion Apparel's Logistics Group manages an inventory of U.S. Army uniforms and equipment at its Suffolk, VA, warehouse, as well as Army assets deployed in the field. The company also has implemented the HighJump WMS at 16 Marine Corps locations.


In addition to servicing the armed forces, Lion Apparel designs, manufactures and distributes occupational uniforms and equipment for firefighters, police and emergency medical personnel.


"Lion Apparel is financially accountable for about a billion dollars in assets," said Terry Smith, senior vice president, Lion Apparel's Government Group. "I'm sleeping better at night knowing that HighJump Software and the WMS are behind us. We wanted a best-of-breed system that could help us scale our operations as we grow without adding people. We definitely have that in place."


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Aberdeen Survey Gives Lawson High Marks


The industry analyst firm Aberdeen Group identified Lawson as a top provider of business performance improvement software in a recent report.


The report, "The Total Cost of ERP Ownership in Mid-Size Companies," was based on a survey of 645 mid-sized manufacturing companies. When compared to five other ERP vendors, Lawson delivered more measurable business improvement than its competitors, given the same investment in software and associated professional services, the study showed.


Aberdeen's research found that Lawson delivered an average 22.9 percent improvement in manufacturing process performance. This includes an average 25 percent reduction in inventory costs, 28.8 percent improvement in complete and on-time shipments and 18.1 percent reduction in manufacturing operational costs.


Each percentage point improvement in performance cost Lawson's mid-market customers $516 per user, which was 88 percent lower than the ERP vendor with the second-strongest performance in the survey.


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ASi to Offer ERP On-Demand


Advanced Systems Integration (ASi) is launching a hosted version of its apparel ERP solution.


The new software-as-a-service (SaaS) offering from ASi will be $1,000 per subscriber license, with a 10-user minimum and 24-month minimum term. The package will include access to ASi's Smart AX Solutions for managing wholesale and private label apparel B2B distribution. It will include tools for managing workflow, quality control and multi-plant operations. Not included in the start-up costs are setup/configuration, data conversion, training and support.


ASi credits its close relationship with Microsoft as an enabler of its ability to offer ERP on an SaaS basis. Microsoft has been focusing R&D on the SaaS delivery method.


The hosted version of ASi's technology will be less expensive than ASi's non-hosted ERP package, which costs about $4,500 per user.


Jeff Onesto, ASi business development director, said the SaaS version should open a much larger market of small- to mid-sized apparel clients for ASi, which traditionally has targeted firms with at least $50 million in annual sales. "This could be the great equalizer for us," says Onesto.


A Microsoft Business Solutions partner, ASi is an independent software vendor offering an apparel-specific ERP solution built on Microsoft's Axapta platform (now part of Microsoft Dynamics).


ASi is planning to stay in lock step with Microsoft on upcoming releases of Dynamics so that it can maintain its top certification status, Onesto says.


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AS/AP Announces SaaS Solution

Firm Adds New Client: Diverse Group


AS/AP Apparel Software is offering two new products - AS/AP Hosted and AS/AP Total Care - via the software-as-a-service (SaaS) method.


These on-demand solutions can be accessed via the Internet from anywhere in the world and offer low monthly per user costs, AS/AP reports.


AS/AP says the new solutions eliminate many software integration issues and reduce the need for investment in hardware and IT personnel. The packages come with a 99.9 percent uptime guarantee.


Through the AS/AP Hosted option, AS/AP supplies its software on-demand to 10 concurrent users with charges starting at $450 per month for hosting only. The AS/AP Total Care package (contact the company for subscription pricing) includes not only technology hosting but also system updates, maintenance, backups/restoration, user setup and security management, training and technical support.


In other news, AS/AP has signed on Vancouver-based Diverse Group as a customer for its AS/AP Distribution and Accounting System, which includes functions for tracking sales and profitability by division and for processing Canadian GST taxes. Ray Thouin, owner of Diverse, a distributor of contemporary active wear, said he chose AS/AP because of its cost effectiveness and flexibility to help Diverse grow its business.


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Brevadum Expands Consulting Services


Brevadum, a consulting firm formed in 2002 by veterans of Manhattan Associates, is expanding its portfolio beyond warehouse management projects into supply chain visibility and global collaboration initiatives.


The firm has hired Brad Cunningham, formerly the chief technology officer of eBridge Technologies, as its vice president of supply chain. (eBridge offered solutions for vendor collaboration, quality assurance and markdown management used by apparel firms including Liz Claiborne and Kellwood.)


In addition to maintaining a strategic alliance with Manhattan Associates, Brevadum has signed value-added reseller deals with i2 Technologies, Epicor and HighJump.


Brevadum's services are geared to mid-market apparel retailers and brands that source 70 percent to 75 percent of their products.


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Career Moves


Extech Data Systems, a developer of portable printers for enterprise-wide applications, has promoted Ahmed Elaasar to business development manager for the Americas. He previously was international sales manager.


New Generation Computing (NGC) has named Mark Burstein the vice president of PLM solutions. He will retain his responsibilities in sales and sales management.


Byte Offers Biometric Time-Clock System


With its BYTE 5.0 solution, Byte Software has integrated biometric time clocks into its shop floor and payroll systems. These clocks take a 3-D photographic image of an employee's hand and store it in a database along with the personnel record.


The clock will only allow a person to clock in if his or her handprint is recognized in the system. The biometric clocks are integrated with Byte's Employee Management System (EMS), which automatically stores employee clock-in and clock-out times.


Byte also is developing software to enable employers to electronically file employment verification records.


These developments are Byte's response to increasing requirements for employers to verify and document that employees may legally work in the United States. The focus on immigration reform has made such verification a growing responsibility for employers.


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