Competition in the booming supply chain management business seems to be hotting up further as enterprise resource planning company Baan Co NV unveiled plans to aggressively market itself in the automotive sector. The move includes the formation of a new consulting alliance as well as several enhancements to form part of Baan IV version C which the company says is due for release sometime in the fall. Baan claims new automotive features will allow integration of purchasing schedules into the master product schedule and support for lean manufacturing methodologies in automation such as Kanban, Ran and Don. The Dutch firm’s also promoting its innovatively-named Baan Synchronization product, designed to allow manufacturers to better synchronize product delivery and part shipment along the supply chain. Anil Gupta, the company’s director of industry marketing, claims incorporating the new features into its standard product will cut out the need for customization giving it an instant advantage over the competition. The overall aim, according to the company, is to allow automotive OEMs, tier one and tier two suppliers to better integrate their operations. Alongside the new software enhancements Baan also said it has formed an Automotive Advisory Council to provide strategic direction and input to the Baan IV product. Gupta also revealed that Baan V should be out on restricted release by the end of the year with a full roll out in the first quarter of 1998.