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Supply Chain Software Buyers Guide
All Supply Chain Supply Chain Software Reviews Infor Lawson Review

Infor Lawson Supply Chain Management Software Review

 

S3 Financial Management Suite

Lawson has positioned S3 as an industry solution for healthcare, retail, state government, local government, K-12 education and related industries. The Infor Lawson S3 software modules include: enterprise financial management, human resource management, supply chain management and business intelligence. S3 has limited Supply Chain Management software functionality that addresses sourcing and procurement. Given stated plans to consolidate S3 with some of Infor’s other financial solutions and to position S3 as an Enterprise Financial Management solution, customers deploying S3 will need to address Supply Chain Management software requirements with other offerings from either Infor or other vendors.

Lawson M3 ERP Software Suite

Lawson’s primary M3 industries include fashion, food and beverage and distribution. Most of Lawson’s Supply Chain Management software development efforts for M3 are addressing specific requirements in these industries.

Infor SCM Software

Once Lawson’s M3 and S3 suites are updated to work with the Infor SOA solutions, customers will have the option of deploying Infor’s broader Supply Chain Management software offering. This would make the most sense where Lawson suites have SCM gaps or where one of Infor’s SCM modules are better suited to address a customer’s requirements. Unless otherwise noted the rest of this Infor Lawson review is focused on the M3 Supply Chain Management software.

Demand Management

Infor Lawson M3 Demand Planner (DMP) enables planners to decide how best to use the company’s resources to maximize customer service levels, sales revenues and profitability. DMP uses a client-server architecture to support a collaborative workflow, for a decentralized review and input of customer demand information.

Demand Planning and Forecasting

Demand Planner supports forecasting based on historical demand using quantitative models and supports manual forecasting based on expert judgments. Once the forecasting process is set up, Demand Planner monitors forecasting accuracy with standard metrics such as mean forecast error, mean absolute deviation and mean absolute percentage error. Tracking signal helps stay the course by alerting planners of deviations from actual demand. Exception-based scoreboards highlight problem areas in the forecast which helps filter out the noise and focusing in on those areas that need attention.

Data Management

Demand Planner includes mass-data management tools for relatively easy maintenance and creation of new budget and forecast versions.

Collaborative Demand Planning

Demand Planner can move forecasting down the supply chain and closer to the end consumer. It enables the sales team, product managers and key customers to collaborate in the demand planning process. Changes are passed back to the central demand planning team, who can then review the changes before deciding whether to accept or reject the adjustments.

Global Trade Management

Supply Chain Network Design

Lawson M3 and S3 suites do not support Supply Chain Network Design. Customers may deploy Infor’s Supply Chain Management software as a possible option.

Sales & Operational Planning (S&OP)

Lawson M3 and S3 suites do not support S&OP. Customers can deploy Infor’s S&OP software as an option.

Sourcing Materials and Components

Other than limited M3 sourcing features (built into the M3 procurement module), neither Lawson nor Infor address sourcing as a separate full feature module.

Procurement

One of the nicer Lawson M3 procurement features, e-Procurement, is not available in the U.S. The e-Procurement component is web-based software that automates and integrates many of the procurement tasks with features like: Buy Center, Supply Center and Business Center. The base procurement product (available in the U.S.) supports basic procurement requirements including:

  • Supplier selection and evaluation
  • Creation and renewal of supplier agreements
  • Requisitioning
  • Purchase order processing and monitoring
  • Receiving and quality control
  • Claims, invoice control, and statistics

M3 does provide for basic setup configurations and process automation. But, M3 does not have the depth and breadth of features required for advanced procurement in sophisticated operations that deal with complex BOLs and part supplies.

Distribution, Replenishment and Fulfillment

Rough cut planning calculates capacity needs at the aggregate and item levels based on forecasts, master demand schedules or material planning inputs. Strategic and tactical planning optimizes material flows. Another feature provides detail planning and continuous updates for each item’s requirements by location, and helps control the flow of orders. The Global Capable-to-Promise (CTP) tool manages the order-promising with up-to-the-minute, detailed information on product availability, production capacities, material availability, and transportation capacity. For more complex orders being fulfilled from multiple locations, the different order parts can be linked, managed and monitored end to end. Other standard and expected functionalities are Master Production Scheduling and Material Planning.

Lawson M3 Distribution Order Processing enables users to control the flow of materials across their hierarchy of distribution warehouses, subcontractors and manufacturers. It also handles financial and statistical transactions automatically.

M3 includes a module for retailers to plan assortments and replenishments for their private brands. Planning covers the different stages from assortment planning, buying, push/pull planning to replenishment.

Lawson has developed M3 add on planning and scheduling modules for the Fashion industry, Equipment Service Management and Rental specific, and Food and Beverage specific needs.

Inventory Optimization

Two M3 modules, Advanced Production Planner (APP) and Stock Build Optimizer (SBO), manage, plan and optimize raw materials to finished goods inventories. APP also addresses production scheduling, resource utilization and lead times. SBO looks at demand, customer priorities, resource capacities, cost and lead times to help plan inventory levels. SBO also handles seasonality and promotional spikes.

Supplier Performance

M3 does not address Supplier Performance.

Collaboration and Supply Chain Visibility

Lawson’s M3 Supply Chain Planner (SCP) has decision support functionality with easy-to-use graphic displays, including a scoreboard, load profiles and geo-graphical mapping. The Planner enables users to quickly drill down and locate key details, make decisions, and run "what if" scenarios.

Logistics

Although M3 Warehouse Management System and Transportation Management System offerings cover many best practices, M3 did not make the cut for either of Gartner’s WMS and TMS Magic Quadrants. Most likely M3’s lack of market presence and the depth and breadth of features do not stack up with other supply chain execution software offerings.

Warehouse Management Systems (WMS)

M3 addresses many Warehouse Management Software best practices and features. Tools such as the task manager and configurable work flows help provide greater speed, accuracy and precision in critical warehouse operations. Inbound tasks such as container management, QA sampling, system directed put-a-way and cross-dock routings can be set up individually for products or supply channels. Warehouse Management Software best practices include wave picking, packing, cross-docking, pick resource planning and intelligent put-away. M3 has interface points for host, MHE, RF and barcode readers. Lot and allocation control is fully configurable.

Transportation Management Systems (TMS)

M3 Transportation Management System focus is on the outbound side addressing weight, volume, multi-stop routes and documentation. The Freight cost module can be applied to all modes of transportation. M3 lacks freight audits, multi-modal transportation, and several other features found in the leading Transportation Management Software products.

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