Making the orders flow

Making the orders flow

New Zealand company Genie Systems is adjusting its global approach to procurement solutions, after integrating its flagship OrderWare product with k-Flow, the workflow offering from Queensland developer PowerPlus.

The deal, struck last November, will see k-Flow embedded in OrderWare as its Procurement Manager module, as part of an Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) arrangement between the companies.

OrderWare, which began life as a solution to enable business to business order entry over the Internet via a Java applet, provides real time end-to-end supply chain management capabilities.

The application is geared toward organisations with large volumes of equipment to manage and provide for customers.

The k-Flow component adds workflow to this solution, and is designed to act before the order section of a transaction.

As companies can have very different request processes and rules for ordering goods, Genie Systems technical director Peter Garden said that OrderWare needed a workflow engine to drive those rules.

"If someone wants to order a product worth more than $200, say, they may have to direct the order to a manager for approval," said Mr Garden. "Or if the product costs more, it may have to be approved higher up the chain, or if it costs less, the person may just be able to purchase the item. These rules change between companies."

K-Flow allows OrderWare to configure these rules. OrderWare sends all data from an order relevant to workflow on to k-Flow, which has a set of generic approval process templates that can be customised to suit the processes of the purchaser.

The Java-based application allows users to create and update unique business rules and authorisation routing through a graphic interface, so that users can manipulate workflow without altering source code.

The OrderWare suite has already been integrated by corporate IT supplies and services company Wang NZ to suit its diverse customer base that orders a range of products, and Mr Garden said the solution could also apply to the Application Service Provider (ASP) market.

OrderWare would enable ASPs to use workflow rules to set up procurement for their clients over the Web. As OrderWare maintains reporting data, Mr Garden said this information could be stored to the ASP's servers for use by its clients, so that it can be integrated with financials systems.

Wang NZ also uses OrderWare for this purpose, connecting to PeopleSoft Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) and Oracle systems into its financial end.