Using IBM Sterling Selling and Fulfillment Suite

Mapping supply chain organizations

This article helps customers who have chosen the IBM® Sterling Selling and Fulfillment Suite product for their supply chain management system. It helps them to build their supply chain organization hierarchy into Sterling Selling and Fulfillment Suite. It describes in detail how to map a sample supply chain organization hierarchy into the Sterling Selling and Fulfillment Suite system, applying participant modeling of the Applications Manager tool.

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Lokanadham Nalla (loknalla@in.ibm.com ), Senior Staff Software Engineer, IBM

Photo of Lokanadham NallaWorking as a Senior Developer in L3 Development, IBM Sterling On-Premise Foundation in India Software Labs, Bangalore, with expertise in Java, J2EE and SOA technologies.



Anurag Shekhar (anurag.shekhar@in.ibm.com), Software Development Manager, IBM

Photo of Anurag ShekharManaging L3 Development for IBM Sterling On-Premise Foundation in India Software Labs, Bangalore, with expertise in Supply Chain Management.



19 December 2013

Also available in Chinese

Introduction

IBM Sterling Selling and Fulfillment Suite helps companies to achieve higher levels of supply chain performance. It enables customers, suppliers and service providers to connect, communicate, and collaborate throughout the order. Sterling Selling and Fulfillment Suite helps you sell complex products and services to your customers and partners. It enables you to:

  • Manage complex supply chains throughout the entire fulfillment life cycle (order management, delivery, returns, and settlement).
  • Optimize the demand for goods and services.
  • Simplify cross-channel selling of bundled and configurable products.
  • Manage partners, suppliers, and channels with distributed order fulfillment.
  • Increase visibility of critical inventory information.

IBM Sterling Selling and Fulfillment Foundation provides a basic infrastructure for managing supply chain organizations using the following components. Each of these components can be managed by individual tools that are provided by the Applications Manager tool that is provided with Sterling Selling and Fulfillment Suite.

  • Distributed Order Management
  • Supply Collaboration
  • Global Inventory Visibility
  • Logistics Management
  • Reverse Logistics
  • Catalog Management
  • Warehouse Management

Basic definitions

The following terminology is used throughout Sterling Selling and Fulfillment Suite and this article.

Organization
Represents a company, department, cost center, division, sales unit, or any other organizational unit within a business.
Customer
A consumer or a business organization who consumes or buys items.
B2B
Transactions between business organizations.
B2C
Transactions between a business organization and a consumer.
Order
A collection of items sold by an organization or bought by customers.
Catalog
A set of items selected for selling by an organization.
Inventory
Total number of items stored/stocked in a warehouse and store.
Supplier
An organization who supplies a set of items for selling or providing raw materials for a manufacturing organization.
Seller
An organization who sells items through different channels, such as online, physical stores, and call centers.
Demand
Number of items that are required to sell.
Supply
Available number of items in inventory for a particular demand.
Logistics
Organization who takes care of shipping and transporting ordered items.
Reverse Logistics
Organization who takes care of shipping and transportation of return orders.
Warehouse
The place where inventory is stored.
Distribution Center
The place from where the items are distributed to different retail stores or other distribution centers.
Store
The physical store or online store from where the items are being sold.

Supply chain organization participants

Any supply chain organization can have participants such as Business Group, Company, Legal Entity, Sales Organization, Purchasing Organization, Plant, or Warehouse. Each of these participants can play multiple roles in the supply chain business.

Business Group
The highest level in the organization hierarchy. It has no accounting impact. It consists of one or more companies.
Company
An organizational unit for which individual financial statements are created according to the relevant legal requirements.
Legal Entity
A self-contained organization unit that is identified by local governments as operating units. They are typically instituted for every country in which a business operates. It involves recording all relevant transactions and generating all supported documents for financial statements, such as balance sheets and profit and loss statements.
Sales Organization
Responsible for sales of distribution of products and services.
Purchasing Organization
Also known as a buyer organization. It is responsible for placing purchase orders to vendors.
Plant and Warehouse
A physical location where goods are manufactured or stored for distribution. A supply chain business can have multiple plants or warehouses that are associated in almost all combinations to its sales and purchasing organizations.

Administration tools

Different administration tools are provided for managing customer orders and for managing Sterling Selling and Fulfillment Suite and its components, including modeling tools to map the organization hierarchy. These tools include the following:

  • Application Console
  • Applications Manager
  • Application Platform

Application Console

The Application Console, shown in Figure 1, is a web-based graphical user interface that works with only the Microsoft® Internet Explorer browser, Version 8 and above. It is used for creating, tracking, and viewing orders, item inventory, and return orders.

Figure 1. Application Console
A smaller screenshot showing the Application Console.

Click to see larger image

Figure 1. Application Console

A screenshot showing the Application Console.

Applications Manager

The Applications Manager, shown in Figure 2, is a graphical user interface for configuring Sterling Selling and Fulfillment Foundation. It provides access to the following different supply chain component tools, including the Application Platform:

  • Distributed Order Management
  • Supply Collaboration
  • Global Inventory Visibility
  • Logistics Management
  • Reverse Logistics
  • Catalog Management
  • Warehouse Management
  • Application Platform
Figure 2. Applications Manager
A smaller screenshot showing the Applications Manager.

Click to see larger image

Figure 2. Applications Manager

A screenshot showing the Application Manager.

Application Platform

The Application Platform, shown in Figure 3, defines the technical infrastructure of Sterling Selling and Fulfillment Foundation, which is a collection of common components used across the application. The Application Platform provides the following tools for configuring the basic framework for the supply chain organization:

  • Participant Modeling
  • Process Modeling
  • Security
  • System Administration
  • Unit of Measure
  • Globalization
  • Presentation
  • Communication
  • Queue Management
  • Region Definition
  • Password Policies
  • Alert Management
Figure 3. Applications Manager
A smaller screenshot showing the Application Platform components.

Click to see larger image

Figure 3. Applications Manager

A screenshot showing the Application Platform components.

This article describes how the Participant Modeling tool of the Application Platform is used to create different organizations and define corresponding roles and attributes for a sample supply chain organization.

Supported roles

Sterling Selling and Fulfillment Suite defines the following roles for different organizations available in a supply chain organization. Each organization in a supply chain network must be defined with any of the following roles:

Hub
Organization that owns the installation.
Enterprise
Organization that connects services between buyers and sellers. The enterprise owns and controls the document flow and business rules that are associated with the document flow.
Buyer
Organization that places demand on the network. It purchases products from the enterprise or sellers.
Seller
Organization that fulfills demand for the network. It sells products to the buyer and enterprise.
Carrier
Organization that moves goods between participants.
Node
Any physical store or distribution center is defined as a node organization.

Sample supply chain organization

This case study of a multi-divisional corporation explains participants and the roles they play in the supply chain network with high-level details. This case study is used later to identify organizations and map roles in Sterling Selling and Fulfillment Suite.

The key organizations in the case study include:

  • General Holdings
  • Matrix Incorporated
  • Matrix Retail
  • Matrix Business
  • Matrix Online
  • CamMax
  • Papyrus
  • Amico incorporated
  • Bolton Networks
  • Addams Family Values

General Holdings

General Holdings Company is a business group with a number of different companies that operate in diversified fields.

Matrix Incorporated

Matrix Incorporated (Matrix Inc) is a multi-brand, multinational retailer of consumer electronics, consumer durables, and Fast Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG) and services. Matrix Inc has its operations in the United States, Canada, and Europe. It services its customers through multiple call centers, commercial websites, and many retail stores from where customers pick items.

The following are the highlights of Matrix Inc:

  • Matrix Inc has three business lines to handle the sales and distribution of its products: Matrix Retail, Matrix Business, and Matrix Online.
  • Headquartered in Tewksbury, Matrix Inc has one centralized purchasing department that handles purchases of the finished goods from its suppliers. It has many warehouses that are situated across geographical locations, and two of its distribution centers (DCs) are in Brockton and San Francisco.
  • Matrix Inc maintains the inventory, defines the catalog of items, and sets pricing rules for the entire organization. Matrix Retail and Matrix Online use Matrix Inc as their catalog organization and use the catalogs that are defined by Matrix Inc. Matrix Business maintains its own categories of items within the catalogs that are defined by Matrix Inc to enable them to sell easily to its business customers.

Matrix Retail

Headquartered in Tewksbury, Matrix Retail manages the retail side of the business for Matrix Inc. It sells all brands of products that are supported by Matrix Inc to consumer customers, through its many retail stores across geographical locations. Three of the stores are in Boston, Burlington, and San Francisco.

Some consumers prefer placing their orders online or through a call center, and prefer picking up items through one of Matrix Retail's stores. Matrix Retail supports such service requests from online or call center customers.

Matrix Online

Headquartered in Tewksbury, Matrix Online manages all the online orders that are captured through its commercial websites. Besides managing online orders, it also manages many call centers that are strategically located across different geographical locations. It offers call center support to the other two sales channels as well.

Inventory and resource capacity for the entire organization is maintained by Matrix Inc. Therefore, Matrix Online gains visibility of the inventory that is available in all the stores. This visibility helps Matrix Online to fulfill in-store pickup requests for customers.

Matrix Business

Headquartered in New York, Matrix Business manages contract orders, typically from medium and large corporations. Amico incorporated, Bolton Networks, Addams Family Values, Barista Integration are four of its major customers.

  • Matrix Business customers (B2B customers) place their orders online or send EDI/XML files directly to Matrix Business. It fulfills orders for these customers through its respective warehouses, depending on where the material is required. As it does not have any stores of its own, it uses the organization's distribution centers to ship orders to its customers.
  • Matrix Business, as it is serving B2B customers, would want to maintain a separate catalog to serve its high-end business customers.

Suppliers

Matrix Inc sources its inventory from Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) as well as other suppliers who deal with various brands.

  • CamMax is one of the leading OEMs of cameras and accessories who supply different camera models to Matrix Inc.
  • Papyrus is one of the biggest suppliers of FMCG to Matrix Inc.

Organization model for the sample

Figure 4 shows the organization hierarchy model for General Holdings. General Holdings purchased Sterling Selling and Fulfillment Suite to manage its company-wide orders and warehouses. It wants to map its business network on to the Sterling Selling and Fulfillment Suite system.

Figure 4. Organization hierarchy model for General Holdings
A screenshot showing the organization hierarchy model for the General Holdings.

Example mapping into the Sterling Selling and Fulfillment Suite system

The following subsections describe the steps that are required to create different organizations and assign roles and attributes in Sterling Selling and Fulfillment Suite.

Creating General Holdings

Create a General Holdings organization, as follows:

  1. From the Applications Manager tool, select Application Platform. Expand Participant Modeling and select Participant Setup.
  2. The Organization search window opens in the right side panel. Choose Hub in the Roles combo box and search. The DEFAULT Hub organization is displayed, as shown in Figure 5.
    Figure 5. Organization hierarchy model for General Holdings
    A smaller screenshot showing the Organization Search window.

    Click to see larger image

    Figure 5. Organization hierarchy model for General Holdings

    A screenshot showing the Organization Search window.
  3. Select DEFAULT and click the Details icon to change the Organization Name field to General Holdings, as shown in Figure 6. Click Save.
    Figure 6. Organization Details window
    A smaller screenshot showing the Organization Details screen.

    Click to see larger image

    Figure 6. Organization Details window

    A screenshot showing the Organization Details screen.

Creating Matrix Inc

Create a Matrix Inc organization, as follows:

  1. From the Applications Manager tool, select Application Platform. Expand Participant Modeling and select Participant Setup.
  2. Click the Create New icon on the Search Results window to create a new organization, Matrix Inc, as shown in Figure 7.
    Figure 7. Search window
    A smaller screenshot showing the Search window.

    Click to see larger image

    Figure 7. Search window

    A screenshot showing the Search window.
  3. A Create Organization window displays, as shown in Figure 8.
    Figure 8. Create Organization window
    A smaller screenshot showing the Create Organization window.

    Click to see larger image

    Figure 8. Create Organization window

    A screenshot showing the Create Organization window.
  4. Add the property values, as shown in Table 1, and click Save.
    Table 1. Matrix Inc properties
    PropertyValue
    Organization CodeMatrix Inc
    Organization NameMatrix Inc
    Parent OrganizationDEFAULT
    Organization is an EnterpriseSelect check box
    Address DetailsTewksbury, US
  5. Click the Roles & Participation tab, and select the Seller check box from the Roles section because this organization is used as the seller organization by different suppliers.
  6. Since it maintains inventory, make it the inventory organization by selecting This Organization is An Inventory Organization under the section Advanced Attributes -> Inventory Information is Available, as shown in Figure 9.
    Figure 9. Inventory Advanced Attributes
    A smaller screenshot showing the Inventory Advanced Attributes tab and fields.

    Click to see larger image

    Figure 9. Inventory Advanced Attributes

    A screenshot showing the Inventory Advanced Attributes tab and fields.
  7. This organization defines the catalog as well, so expand the Catalog tab in the right side list tab, as shown in Figure 10. Select Organization Defines Its Own Catalog and click Save.
    Figure 10. Catalog Advanced Attributes
    A smaller screenshot showing the Catalog Advanced Attributes tab and fields.

    Click to see larger image

    Figure 10. Catalog Advanced Attributes

    A screenshot showing the Catalog Advanced Attributes tab and fields.

Creating Matrix Business

Create a Matrix Business organization, as follows:

  1. From the Applications Manager tool, select Application Platform. Expand Participant Modeling and select Participant Setup.
  2. Click the Create New icon to create a new organization, Matrix Business, with the property values shown in Table 2.
    Table 2. Matrix Business properties
    PropertyValue
    Organization CodeMatrix Business
    Organization NameMatrix Business
    Parent OrganizationMatrix Inc
    Organization is an EnterpriseSelect check box
    Address DetailsNew York, US
  3. Click the Roles & Participation tab, select the Buyer check box from the Roles section as this organization is used as the buyer organization by different customers. Select the Seller check box also, as this organization is selling items.
  4. Since the inventory is maintained by Matrix Inc, select Matrix Inc from the combo box of Inventory Organization Is under the section Advanced Attributes > Inventory Information Is Available, as shown in Figure 11.
    Figure 11. Seller organization
    A smaller screenshot showing the 'Inventory Organization Is' field in the Advanced Attributes.

    Click to see larger image

    Figure 11. Seller organization

    A screenshot showing the 'Inventory Organization Is' field in the Advanced Attributes.
  5. Since it maintains its own catalog, expand the Catalog tab in the right side list tab and select Organization Defines Its Own Catalog. Click Save.

Creating Matrix Retail

Create a Matrix Retail organization, as follows:

  1. Click the Create New icon to create a new organization, Matrix Retail, with the property values listed in Table 3.
    Table 3. Matrix Retail properties
    PropertyValue
    Organization CodeMatrix Retail
    Organization NameMatrix Retail
    Parent OrganizationMatrix Inc
    Organization is an EnterpriseSelect check box
    Address DetailsTewksbury, US
  2. Click the Roles & Participation tab, and select the Seller check box from the Roles section as this organization is selling items through retail stores. Click Save.
  3. Select Matrix Inc as the Inventory Organization under Advanced Attributes > Inventory tab.
  4. Select Matrix Inc as Catalog Defined By under Advanced Attributes > Catalog tab.

Creating Matrix Online

Create a Matrix Online organization, as follows:

  1. Click the Create New icon to create a new organization, Matrix Online, with the property values listed in Table 4.
    Table 4. Matrix Online properties
    PropertyValue
    Organization CodeMatrix Online
    Organization NameMatrix Online
    Parent OrganizationMatrix Inc
    Organization is an EnterpriseSelect check box
    Address DetailsTewksbury, US
  2. Click the Roles & Participation tab, and select the Seller check box from the Roles section as this organization is selling items through online stores and call centers. Click Save.
  3. Select Matrix Inc as the Inventory Organization under Advanced Attributes > Inventory tab.
  4. Select Matrix Inc as Catalog Defined By under Advanced Attributes > Catalog Tab.

Creating Brockton Warehouse

Create a Brockton Warehouse organization, as follows:

  1. Click the Create New icon to create a new node organization, Brockton Warehouse, with the property values listed in Table 5, as shown in Figure 12.
    Table 5. Brockton Warehouses properties
    PropertyValue
    Organization CodeBrockton Warehouse
    Organization NameBrockton Warehouse
    Parent OrganizationMatrix Inc
    Primary EnterpriseMatrix Inc
    Address DetailsBrockton, US
    Figure 12. Creating node organization
    A smaller screenshot showing the Create Node Organization screen.

    Click to see larger image

    Figure 12. Creating node organization

    A screenshot showing the Create Node Organization screen.
  2. Click the Roles & Participation tab, and select the Node check box from the Roles section as this organization is a warehouse. Choose Node Type as the distribution center, as shown in Figure 13, and click Save.
    Figure 13. Select node type
    A smaller screenshot showing the Select Node Type.

    Click to see larger image

    Figure 13. Select node type

    A screenshot showing the Select Node Type.

Creating San Francisco Warehouse

Create a San Francisco Warehouse organization, as follows:

  1. Click the Create New icon to create a new organization, San Francisco Warehouse, with the property values listed in Table 6.
    Table 6. San Francisco Warehouses properties
    PropertyValue
    Organization CodeSan Francisco Warehouse
    Organization NameSan Francisco Warehouse
    Parent OrganizationMatrix Inc
    Primary EnterpriseMatrix Inc
    Address DetailsSan Francisco, US
  2. Click the Roles & Participation tab, and select the Node check box from the Roles section as this organization is a warehouse. Choose Node Type as the distribution center and click Save.

Creating Boston Store

Create a Boston Store organization, as follows:

  1. Click the Create New icon to create a new organization, Boston Store, with the property values listed in Table 7. Click Save.
    Table 7. Boston Store properties
    PropertyValue
    Organization CodeBoston Store
    Organization NameBoston Store
    Parent OrganizationMatrix Retail
    Primary EnterpriseMatrix Retail
    Address DetailsBoston, US
  2. Click the Roles & Participation tab, and select the Node check box from the Roles section as this organization is a store. Choose Node Type as Store and click Save.

Creating Burlington Store

Create a Burlington Store organization, as follows:

  1. Click the Create New icon to create a new organization, Burlington Store, with the property values listed in Table 8 and click Save.
    Table 8. Burlington Store properties
    PropertyValue
    Organization CodeBurlington Store
    Organization NameBurlington Store
    Parent OrganizationMatrix Retail
    Primary EnterpriseMatrix Retail
    Address DetailsBurlington, US
  2. Click the Roles & Participation tab, and select the Node check box from the Roles section as this organization is a store. Choose Node Type as Store and click Save.

Creating SF Store

Create an SF Store organization, as follows:

  1. Click the Create New icon to create a new organization, SF Store, with the property values listed in Table 9 and click Save.
    Table 9. SF Store properties
    PropertyValue
    Organization CodeSF Store
    Organization NameSF Store
    Parent OrganizationMatrix Retail
    Primary EnterpriseMatrix Retail
    Address DetailsSan Francisco, US
  2. Click the Roles & Participation tab, and select the Node check box from the Roles section as this organization is a store. Choose the Node Type as Store and click Save.

Creating organization hierarchy

Create an organization hierarchy for Matrix Inc, as follows:

  1. Finally, the Matrix Inc organization hierarchy can be created, as shown in Figure 14.
    Figure 14. Creating organization hierarchy
    A smaller screenshot showing creating the organization hierarchy.

    Click to see larger image

    Figure 14. Creating organization hierarchy

    A screenshot showing creating the organization hierarchy.
  2. The Matrix Inc organization hierarchy is seen, as shown in Figure 15, in the left panel of the Applications Manager.
    Figure 15. Organization hierarchy
    A smaller screenshot showing showing the Organization Hierarchy window.

    Click to see larger image

    Figure 15. Organization hierarchy

    A screenshot showing the Organization Hierarchy window.

Creating supplier definitions

Create vendor definitions for the CamMax and Papyrus suppliers, as follows:

  1. From the Applications Manager tool, select Applications -> Supply Collaboration.
  2. Expand Supply Collaboration -> Cross Application -> Vendor, and select Vendor Definitions.
  3. From the search results window, create a new vendor with the property values listed in Table 10, as shown in Figure 16. Click Save.
    Table 10. CamMax supplier properties
    PropertyValue
    Vendor IDCamMax
    Select An Existing OrganizationMatrix Inc
    Figure 16. Creating vendor definition
    A smaller screenshot showing creating a vendor definition.

    Click to see larger image

    Figure 16. Creating vendor definition

    A screenshot showing creating a vendor definition.
  4. Similarly, create a Vendor Definition for the Papyrus supplier.

Creating customer definitions

Create customer definitions for customers, as follows:

  1. From the Applications Manager tool, select Applications -> Distributed Order Management.
  2. Expand Cross Application -> Customer, and select Customer Definitions.
  3. From the search results window, create a new customer with the property values listed in Table 11, as shown in Figure 17. Click Save.
    Table 11. Amico incorporated customer properties
    PropertyValue
    Customer Is a Businessselect
    Customer IDAmico incorporated
    Select An Existing OrganizationMatrix Business
    Figure 17. Create customer definition
    A smaller screenshot showing Create Customer window.

    Click to see larger image

    Figure 17. Create customer definition

    A screenshot showing Create Customer window.
  4. Similarly, create customer definitions for the following customers: Barista Integration, Bolton Networks, and Addams Family Values.

Managing organizations with APIs

Modeling an organization using participant modeling requires many attributes to be set. Creating a large number of organizations using participant modeling can be cumbersome and time consuming. Sterling Selling and Fulfillment Suite provides the following API to create and manage organizations.

manageOrganizationHierarchy: This API can be used to create, modify, or delete an organization. Organizations are entities in the system that take on roles such as Buyer, Seller, and Carrier. You can find more details about this API in the API JavaDocs provided with the product.

Defining organization calendars

An organization's working calendar is a span of dates for a defined period for which you can define any working shifts (for example, Day Shift, Night Shift).

Calendar configuration is organization and enterprise level configuration and is also inheritable. A node or an organization can choose its calendars as well as the calendars of its primary enterprise as its business calendar, shipping calendar, or receiving calendar.

Conclusion

This article is useful to enterprise administrative users and participant modelers who want to map the participants' details in their supply chain organization to their appropriate roles in Sterling Selling and Fulfillment Foundation applying the Participant modeling tool.

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