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PeopleSoft Tides With the Ebb and 'Flow'

In a move that should enable manufacturers to become demand-driven enterprises, Pleasanton, Calif.-based PeopleSoft said Tuesday that it has acquired the Demand Flow software from JCIT International. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

The news arrived at the same time that Gartner Dataquest published statistics that indicate PeopleSoft is the largest ERP supply chain vendor in North America, and just one day after PeopleSoft raised revenue expectations for the second time in five weeks.

The acquisition also is the latest in a series of moves designed to sharpen the PeopleSoft portfolio as the company fends off a hostile takeover bid by rival software maker Oracle .

Combined with its own supply-chain solutions, PeopleSoft says Demand Flow technology could help customers make their enterprise solutions leaner and more agile than ever before, facilitating efficient production and the mixed-model methodologies required for businesses to become demand-driven enterprises.

"With this product acquisition, PeopleSoft will deliver technology, consulting, and education that enables companies to transform themselves into demand driven enterprises," said Carol Ptak, vice president and global industry executive with PeopleSoft Manufacturing and Distribution Industries. "Companies that focus internally on inventory and cost can no longer compete, and they must become demand-driven to survive."

At the heart of Demand Flow's demand-driven approach is a scalable, mathematically based business strategy designed to keep manufacturing as simple as possible. The product uses mathematical formulas to simulate and design production processes that are flexible and can shrink or grow to meet demand. These formulas also indicate early visibility of shortages, and provide a proven model to plan and procure materials independent of production schedules.

Experts familiar with the technology said Demand Flow is perfect for manufacturers of high-tech medical devices and industrial products. Brian Zrimsek, a research director at Gartner Dataquest, noted that Demand Flow enables manufacturers to support changes in mix and volume on a daily basis while reducing operational costs across the board.

"[These] technologies can provide companies with valuable efficiencies," Zrimsek said. "Lean manufacturing, enabled by technologies that integrate to supply chain applications, manufacturing applications and the enterprise backbone, will provide companies with strategic advantages to eliminate waste and improve margins."

Demand Flow is available immediately in limited release from PeopleSoft and is expected to be generally available by early next year. Executives at PeopleSoft and Englewood, Colo.-based JCIT International said they plan to jointly market software, training, and consulting services as well.