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PeopleSoft Tries To Make RFID More Useful

Amid its Oracle distractions, PeopleSoft's launching a slate of new supply-chain applications, including many aimed at making RFID more valuable.

Amid the havoc swirling around PeopleSoft Corp. from Oracle's takeover bid and the firing of chairman and CEO Craig Conway, the company today is introducing several significant new products and upgrades to its business software.

Among the expanded applications is PeopleSoft RFID Processor, which supports radio-frequency identification platform integrations throughout the supply chain, from suppliers through manufacturing and customer shipments. Other applications, including Demand Flow Manufacturing and EnterpriseOne and CRM 8.11, also aim at more tightly integrating the supply chain.

PeopleSoft's previous RFID capabilities only supported outbound shipments, enabling manufacturers to do little more than meet RFID mandates from major retailers. The new upgrade is designed to help companies receive RFID data on inbound shipments, which could help manufacturers go beyond complying with demands from retailers such as Wal-Mart Stores Inc. and Target Inc. to improving internal operations. The application can help companies improve inventory visibility of goods in transit, a warehouse, or at a factory.

It's these types of new applications that give some analysts confidence that PeopleSoft isn't giving in to Oracle's hostile takeover, and could yet fend it off. AMR Research Analyst Jim Sheperd in a report last week urged companies not to give up on PeopleSoft because, despite recent distractions, the company's financially sound. Revenue for its third quarter, ending Sept. 30, is expected come in between $680 million and $695 million, while license revenue will exceed more than $155 million. Perhaps most encouraging, he wrote, is the addition of more than 150 new customers in the quarter with an average selling price of $454,000, compared with $346,000, sequentially. "PeopleSoft is sending a strong signal to prospects, customers, employees, and shareholders that it's aggressively moving ahead with a focus on technology innovation and the values on which this company was founded," Sheperd wrote.

PeopleSoft's new Demand Flow Manufacturing application, also being released today, is a manufacturing platform designed to incorporate lean-manufacturing processes in an integrated supply-chain-management application, including functions such as alerts based on demand to help employees manage inventory better. It includes features to design production lines, plan capacity, order scheduling, and a tool called Kanban Management to help determine material requirements.

Lastly, its latest CRM offering builds on PeopleSoft's demand-driven manufacturing strategy by helping sales and customer-service staff interact with the production system. The application is aimed at manufacturers in consumer-packaged goods, industrial, life sciences, asset-intensive industries, and project-oriented services companies.

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