Supply Chain Security and Efficiency

    October 6, 2004

Unisys is launching an innovative, standards-based architecture designed to address the escalating worldwide need to improve the visibility, security and efficiency of supply chains.

Built on the Microsoft Windows Server System, the architecture serves as the foundation for Unisys new Global Visible Commerce Solutions, which the company has tailored to meet the supply chain needs of companies in the retail, life sciences, consumer product and transportation industries.

The architecture is based on the technology solution piloted by Unisys and Microsoft as part of their work on the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Operation Safe Commerce (OSC), the first large-scale effort to improve the security of containerized shipments entering the United States from overseas. OSC is a federally funded DHS project involving high-volume trade routes for Sara Lee Branded Apparel, Sara Lee Coffee and Tea Service, Motorola Inc. and an unnamed participating company. Unisys and other partners are testing and evaluating a combination of processes and technologies to help secure these corporations’ global supply chains and cargo.

Unisys Global Visible Commerce Solutions collect, filter and analyze data from a growing number of supply chain data feeds – such as radio frequency identification (RFID) tags, cellular devices, and barcodes – and interface with existing legacy applications. The result for companies is a single view into their extended supply chains.

“Solutions like those being built by Unisys are increasingly important, due to the growth of globalization and outsourcing, combined with enhanced security concerns from counterfeiting, theft and terrorism,” said Tom Richey, director, Homeland Security, Microsoft Public Sector.

“We’re giving organizations near real-time views into their supply chains,” said Peter Regen, vice president of Global Visible Commerce Solutions at Unisys. “Microsoft technology allows Unisys to offer world-class solutions built on top of a foundation of open standards-based software.”

At the core of the new solution is Unisys unique 3D Visible Enterprise methodology, which gives companies a holistic view into the cause-and-effect relationships between shifts in technology, business processes, and strategy.

Unisys Global Visible Commerce Solutions deliver increased shareholder value by automating data collection, status updates and document processing throughout the supply chain. By utilizing the Unisys solutions, companies realize a near real-time, integrated view into their extended supply chains, resulting in a streamlined, more predictable and secure flow of goods.

The Unisys solutions integrate and enhance, rather than replace, the functionality of existing enterprise applications that reside within supply chain partner environments. By leveraging existing assets where possible, the cost impact and disruption to current operations, systems and business processes are minimized. The solutions track goods and assets while monitoring actual performance against expected events and generate alerts when unexpected conditions occur. Under an alert condition, either positive or negative, the appropriate business user is immediately informed through pagers, cell phones, PDA’s or e-mail. Through automated trade document creation, filing and auditing, Unisys eliminates shipping delays due to missing or incorrect document filings.

The solutions leverage the Microsoft Windows Server System, including BizTalk Server 2004, which constructs business processes and facilitates interoperability between applications, SQL Server for database management and Exchange Server 2003 for messaging. It also uses SharePoint Portal Server to provide a single dashboard where information can be aggregated to assist both strategic and tactical business decision-making.

The Microsoft and Unisys alliance promises enterprise customers unsurpassed expertise in the development, deployment and management of end-to-end Microsoft Windows solutions resulting in high customer satisfaction and value. The alliance combines Microsoft’s technology and Unisys 40 years of expertise in the mission critical enterprise environment to deliver complete solutions for business critical computing, including integrated platforms, powerful vertical applications and comprehensive global services.

Unisys and Microsoft have collaborated since the early 1980s, and have had a strategic, global alliance since 1997. Unisys is a Microsoft Gold Certified Partner, and Microsoft is regarded as a premier partner to Unisys, due to the volume of joint customer activity and its growing support for Unisys cross-business unit portfolio.

From raw materials to the marketplace, SCMNews keeps senior managers educated on the latest supply chain management software solutions.