NEW YORK, Jan. 16, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- SAP AG (NYSE: SAP) today announced a strategic expansion of its solution portfolio for retail organizations following the acquisition of SAF Simulation, Analysis and Forecasting AG, a global leader in automated ordering and forecasting software. The enhanced SAP® Forecasting and Replenishment application will enable customers around the globe to significantly reduce the risks associated with shortages and surplus, lower costs and better match products on the shelf to specific consumer segments. The announcement was made at the NRF 101st Annual Convention & EXPO, being held January 15-18 in New York City.
After more than a decade of co-innovation, the entire former SAF portfolio is planned for integration into SAP Forecasting and Replenishment, enabling retailers and other consumer-facing companies to operate in close to real time as customer-driven supply networks.
"Grocery and other fast-moving consumer goods retailers have to step up their game to deliver what today's smarter consumer expects, and take cost out of their supply chain at the same time," said Greg Girard, program director, Merchandise Strategies, IDC Retail Insights. "At the scale and speed of retail today, retailers need to forecast highly variable demand at the shelf, day by day, and in some cases in intraday intervals, keep the shelves stocked, drain inventory from their entire supply network, and stay agile. They need sophisticated demand intelligence and fulfillment systems to do this."
SAP is providing a foundation for facilitating these customer-driven supply networks. Moreover, customers will profit from the integration of SAF's long-term expertise in retail forecasting combined with SAP's standards and global reach. Retailers can gain close to real-time visibility into consumer behavior with the ability to optimize the flow of goods and services in their value chain according to those metrics. In addition, upcoming releases of SAP Forecasting and Replenishment are planned to leverage new technology platforms, such as in-memory computing technology and mobility, in order to help manage demand across all sales and fulfillment channels.
New Release Previews What's to Come
On the heels of its renewed investment, SAP also announced the latest release of the SAP Forecasting and Replenishment application, which aims to provide a window to the company's retail road map, containing several of the core processes planned to be expanded upon and integrated in later releases. The ramp-up of the release began in November and general availability is planned for the second quarter of 2012.
Through solution capability to do multi-level replenishment, retailers can use store and order forecasts to narrowly determine the flow of goods coming from distribution centers and suppliers. This functionality is intended to be made available as a single package, removing the need for retailers to buy components from different vendors to install a more expensive, best-of-breed solution.
With the latest release, customers will be able to profit from an advanced and highly competitive solution with the following functionalities:
- Fully automated store replenishment for optimized product availability and advanced distribution center management
- Sophisticated forecasting algorithms with robust, high-volume processing capabilities
- Visibility throughout all stages of the replenishment process
- Flexible deployment options with standard connectivity to SAP and with open interface
- A set of related services for accelerating and fine-tuning operations, including pre-defined services for faster implementations and for guiding the logistics of a customer-driven supply network, such as package size, order cycle, etc.
"Operating a customer-driven supply network requires a high degree of integration and coordination that has been beyond the reach of many retailers up until now," said Lori Mitchell-Keller, senior vice president and head of the Global Retail Industry Business Unit, SAP. "We have taken the initiative to expand our retail portfolio to directly address this critical business need. When married to prediction analytics, SAP's standardized processes will create one of the most comprehensive solutions for managing inventory and keeping consumers satisfied."
Notable retailers in EMEA, North America and Latin America operating in various segments have deployed SAP Forecasting and Replenishment. Each has achieved significant savings in their supply networks and looks forward to the greater benefits of the expanded portfolio.
The SAP Forecasting and Replenishment application is currently in ramp up, available to select customers.
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