June 2003 | Commentary | Supply Chain Technology

The Yantra Mantra

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As companies wake up to the realization that isolated silos of information are no longer practical, it is comforting to know that extended enterprise solutions are increasingly more fine- tuned and adaptive to customer needs. The perception of the supply chain as a functional part of an enterprise is now a reality, and accordingly, we continue to see a growth in applications that provide more efficient order fulfillment, service parts logistics, and supply collaboration.

This progression, by example, is central to the development of

Yantra Corporation's business process management platform as the underpinning of its supply chain applications.

"The Business Process Platform enables all of Yantra's applications to effectively manage internal and external supply chain processes, connect supply chain participants, and coordinate all supply chain activities," says Rob Sweeney, vice president of product management, Yantra, Tewksbury, Mass.

"All the software applications leverage key capabilities found in the Business Process Platform, including business process definition, event management, services definition, user interface framework, and performance and analytics," Sweeney says. "By leveraging these common capabilities across all applications, Yantra can deliver seamless and efficient solutions for its customers."

Inherent Flexibility

At the center of the platform is a flexible, multi-enterprise data model, coupled with data translation and transport capabilities, that ensure partners receive and understand relevant supply chain information.

Key features include:

Participant management. Through its user interface framework, the Yantra platform enables companies to manage and track all organizations in their network based on defined roles, responsibilities, and relationships to other participants. It captures the key business rules that impact how processes are executed and information is shared to ensure all parties work in concert to maximize operational efficiency.

Service definition framework. The platform features a service-oriented architecture that leverages the latest technology standards to ensure maximum flexibility and scalability. Within that architecture is a robust interoperability framework designed to facilitate integration with legacy or state-of-the-art systems. The Net-native, inherently stateless technical architecture provides the foundation for Yantra's Java applications with 100-percent XML-based APIs.

Business process definition. The Business Process Platform lets business users graphically configure the application logic executed when specific transactions occur. As a result, companies have flexibility to configure unique processes for different types of orders, shipments, and products, and can easily make modifications when necessary. The inherent flexibility of the Yantra Platform enables companies to rapidly modify business relationships and supply chain processes in order to meet changing business requirements.

A Solution for all Reasons

The strength of Yantra's offering is in the collective functionality of its solutions as a whole.

"It's hard to pick a single feature that stands out across Yantra's solutions," says Sweeney. "We offer a suite of synchronized fulfillment management solutions that in part, or as a whole, help organizations transform their supply chains, develop operational flexibility, and achieve new levels of performance."

Yantra's solutions comprise a subset of Yantra 5x products, so each solution is unique in the business processes and challenges it addresses.

Niche functionalities include:

Distributed order management resolves the challenges of complex, distributed fulfillment of discrete customer demand, such as quotes, orders, and replenish requests. It encompasses all demand-triggered processes across the extended supply chain—such as drop shipping, procure-to-order, and delivery—and enables flexible execution of the customer fulfillment lifecycle from quote and capture to source and fulfill to returns and settlement.

Supply chain execution addresses the demands of today's networked fulfillment environments, combining differentiated warehousing and shipping capabilities with process configurability to enable the deployment of facility-specific functionality across a network of disparate locations.

Supply chain synchronization targets the challenges associated with managing the unpredictability of supply from increasingly diverse supplier networks. It delivers differentiated functionality for the communication and collaboration of supply requests (schedules/POs) and the requisite visibility and event management of inbound orders, inventory, and shipments.

Having a completely integrated supply chain execution solution makes it easier to view and procure relevant information in real time.

"Yantra's users have an end-to-end view of the customer's order in the supply chain including all relevant related orders, shipments, and inventory," says Sweeney. "Regardless of where the order was received, where it is being filled, or where it might be in transit, Yantra enables its users to provide the customer with the most accurate, up-to-date information about the customer order, and allows for real-time adjustments to the shipment, allocated inventory, and even inbound supply.

"With other solutions, the user can lose visibility or control of the customer order and inventory at any point in the supply chain, causing an order to be delayed or even lost. This can result in an unhappy customer and lost future sales," he adds.

This flexibility lends itself well to a variety of markets including retail, transportation and logistics, distribution, and spare parts logistics.

"For retailers, Yantra's solutions span every key step in the customer fulfillment process, including pre-order, order, warehouse, logistics, reverse logistics, and inbound supply," he says.

Because its products are highly flexible and built to be deployed in a rapidly changing, multi-client/multi-division environment, Yantra has similarly established a track record serving third-party logistics providers and distribution companies.

"Yantra addresses the core needs of companies seeking to turn service parts logistics and reverse logistics into a competitive advantage. The solution helps companies exceed after-sales service level agreements and improve customer loyalty," Sweeney says.

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