E2Open has just announced the release of its Multi-Tier Cost Management application which was designed to orchestrate bill-of-material and product cost collaboration among an extended network of brand owners, contract manufacturers and suppliers.

In conjunction with this announcement, Supply Chain Matters viewed a demonstration of this new application several weeks ago.  The application allows supply chain procurement and buying teams the ability to propagate multiple product costing scenarios among an external network and was initially designed for E2Open’s high tech and consumer electronics client base. What impressed us the most was the means to leverage an alternative way of sharing product lifecycle and management data across the extended supply chain, since PLM (product lifecycle management) technology is typically deployed in a single tier of users.  This could pave the way for a more cost-affordable alternative for externally sharing this data rather than paying for extended PLM user licensing. The application potentially opens the door to leveraging PLM beyond just engineering and into more operational tactical utilization such as sourcing landed cost and broader transformational cost management purposes among trading partners.

The user interface for this application is straight-forward and the screens are relatively easy to understand. Cost data is extracted from any resident PLM system, users can elect different forms of cost management analysis, and an audit trail of changes is provided, helping product management teams to garner a perspective of change activities.

The announcement also represents efforts from a relatively new E2Open management steering team to invest more in internal development of network applications vs. reliance on other external partner applications. As an example, last year there were overt signs that E2Open and Kinaxis would build a stronger technology relationship but that effort seems to have subsided in favor of this internal development strategy.

Beyond high-tech industry -focused clients, it remains to be seen whether E2Open will also invest in the more stringent requirements among its Aerospace industry networks.

Bob Ferrari

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