01:18 PM

Scheduling Apps Keep General Mills On Top Of Orders

The company uses a Tidal Software package that links legacy applications with SAP R/3.

General Mills Inc. tends to think of its automated sell-side business processes as SAP R/3 on Wheaties. Dave Tsang, director of integrated systems for the $13 billion cereal maker, says job-scheduling and event-automation software lets the company handle its supply chain in near real time without the added expense and complexity of supply-chain execution software.

"Companies install a lot of fancy technology and still come in the next morning and find out something went wrong overnight. We spot 'uh-ohs' the minute they happen, and that's critical," General Mills' scheduler Jerry Johnson says. If an order comes in at 10 p.m. and the company's fulfillment managers don't spot a problem until the next morning, "We've just blown that customer's order," Johnson says.

The Minneapolis company uses Tidal Software Inc.'s Enterprise Scheduler to link its legacy systems and 16 otherwise disconnected instances of R/3 to create custom workflows that automate core business processes, including order management and fulfillment. General Mills is also evaluating Tidal's new NexGen suite of event-based scheduling and automation products for Unix and Windows 2000. NexGen is expected to be unveiled next week.

Tsang says General Mills uses Enterprise Scheduler rather than software from an enterprise application integration vendor to internally link the systems used to manage customer orders. For example, large customers annually transmit 2.5 million orders to General Mills via electronic data interchange or private network. Enterprise Scheduler handles the conversion of EDI transactions to SAP's intermediate document (IDoc) format and imports them into R/3. It then routes orders within the company and alerts General Mills personnel to problems.

The NexGen suite is composed of: Event Manager, which adds new capabilities to Enterprise Scheduler, priced at $12,000; Process Manager, for the creation of advanced workflows; and Script Manager. The latter two products will be available in the third quarter.

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
White Papers
Current Issue
Top IT Trends to Watch in Financial Services
IT pros at banks, investment houses, insurance companies, and other financial services organizations are focused on a range of issues, from peer-to-peer lending to cybersecurity to performance, agility, and compliance. It all matters.
Twitter Feed
InformationWeek Radio
Archived InformationWeek Radio
Join us for a roundup of the top stories on for the week of July 24, 2016. We'll be talking with the editors and correspondents who brought you the top stories of the week to get the "story behind the story."
Sponsored Live Streaming Video
Everything You've Been Told About Mobility Is Wrong
Attend this video symposium with Sean Wisdom, Global Director of Mobility Solutions, and learn about how you can harness powerful new products to mobilize your business potential.