Logility Connections 2012-Focus on Supply Chain X-Factors

In today’s fast-paced world, companies and their supply chains need to outperform their competitors and remain in business. Logility’s focus on supply chain X-factors can help them do just that. In this latest article, TEC principal analyst Predrag Jakovljevic gives a rundown of the vendor’s recent user conference and how Logility’s broad supply chain management (SCM) solution suite provides the capabilities to enhance your business.
Based in Atlanta, Georgia, United States, and with nearly 1,300 customers worldwide and more than $64 million (USD) in revenues, Logility, a wholly owned subsidiary of American Software, Inc., provides collaborative supply chain management (SCM) solutions for small, medium, large, and Fortune 1000 companies. Customers of Logility’s include Fender Musical Instruments, HewlettPackard, Parker Hannifin, Sigma-Aldrich, Verizon Wireless, and VF Corporation. Logility Voyager Solutions, a broad SCM solution suite, features a performance monitoring architecture and provides the following capabilities:

  • Supply chain visibility
  • Demand, inventory, and replenishment planning
  • Sales and operations planning (S&OP)
  • Supply and inventory optimization (IO)
  • Manufacturing planning and scheduling
  • Transportation planning and management
  • Warehouse management

Logility Connections 2012 Rundown

The Logility Connections user conference took place this September, with about 250 attendees, mostly from North America (the company‘s European conference took place earlier in the year). The Logility Connections 2012 tagline was “Supply Chain X-Factors,” alluding to those not easily quantifiable factors and characteristics that help not only athletes but also companies and their supply chains outperform their opponents. In her keynote presentation, Karin Bursa, vice president (VP) of marketing at Logility cited the following X-Factors that manufacturing and distribution companies should leverage in order to excel in their challenging markets:

  • The ability to extend planning visibility and track performance both tactically and strategically (i.e., know your business’ health on an ongoing basis and react to valid alerts)
  • The ability to improve your business speed, agility, and flexibility (e.g., in order to handle the expected re-growth of inventories in a recovering economy or the ability to continually make informed “make, source [buy], or transfer” inventory decisions)
  • The potential for innovation excellence, not only in terms of products but also people, processes, and technology

Mike Edenfield, chief executive officer (CEO) of Logility, then gave a presentation on the state of the business. The company has seen a whopping 91 percent increase in sales in the last 18 months, with a 53 percent increase in international business (now amounting to 21 percent of total revenues). Logility prides itself on its SCM focus, its financial and organizational stability, and its highly educated workforce (a number of MSc and PhD holders among its 250 employees).

Innovation Never Stops
Logility Voyager is the only modern Microsoft .NET Framework-based SCM suite in the market that is broad and deep, while being easy to use. Built-in key performance indicators (KPIs) and alerts help Logility Voyager users refrain from using pesky Microsoft Excel spreadsheets for further offline data manipulations. Customers attest to Logility’s ease of use, built-in and pre-configurable KPIs and alerts, and the vendor’s availability of its knowledgeable staffers.

However, the vendor lacks major recognition in the market despite its impressive capabilities, compared with its more visible competitors such as SAP, JDA Software, and Oracle. The absence of any partners at the event (the little expo floor demo pods only featured various Logility Voyager modules) suggests a “we can do it all by ourselves” attitude, which may be premature considering the company’s still modest size and prowess. It was explained to me privately at the show that Logility does not invite third parties to exhibit because that can be distracting for its attendees who are there to share best practices and learn from other users how to get the most from their Logility investment.

Edenfield then talked about the major research and development (R&D) themes and ongoing efforts at Logility. These feats include improved scalability to support complex planning processes in the largest global corporations, more built-in performance management (metrics), continued efforts at harnessing a 64-bit processing power for ever-higher speeds, and ongoing development of multiple optimization engines (with in-memory solvers). Voyager’s Manufacturing Planning, Optimized Supply Planning, Inventory Optimization, and Transportation Optimization solutions all use some in-memory solvers today.

Lora Cecere, founder of Supply Chain Insights (SCI), also gave a keynote presentation on some SCM trends—“big data," mobility, and “social” networks. She described real-life examples such as the Facebook "Like" button and text analytics as demand sensing tools for consumer goods manufacturers and retailers that work by soliciting consumers’ feedback and feeling their sentiments. “Big data” techniques are also being employed to overcome demand volatility for better forecasting, and moving planners from being ‘in the loop’ to being ‘on the loop’ to automate and improve the planning process. Logility has some initiatives in the R&D phase, though these are not yet up for disclosure.  

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