On January 16, Cerqa Copyright announced it has purchased
VISUAL Supply Chain, Lilly Software's
comprehensive supply chain management software solution. Cerqa Copyright,
located in Austin, Texas, provides supply chain management solutions for
domestic and international manufacturing facilities, distributors, retail
outlets, and other customers that have specific procurement and distribution
channel requirements. Offering expertise in inventory procurement, logistics,
and freight management, Cerqa develops flexible, Just-in-Time (JIT) inventory
delivery programs and offers kitting and packaging of sub-assemblies and
finished goods. The company hopes the VISUAL solution will provide it
with complete control over high volume order management, customer and
vendor communication, production processes, quality control, and warehouse
chose VISUAL Supply Chain because it was an all encompassing product,"
explains Marion Robertson, IT Systems Support Manager for Cerqa. "In our
search, we looked at a lot of WMS vendors but found they could not offer
a system to meet our every need. We didn't want to purchase add-on modules;
we wanted a single solution that would cover manufacturing and distribution."
Software's integrated supply chain suite includes Enterprise Resource
Planning (ERP), Manufacturing Execution Systems (MES), Advanced Planning
and Scheduling (APS), Quality Management, E-business, Customer Relationship
Management (CRM), and, the advanced Warehouse Management System (WMS)
capabilities. VISUAL DCMS RF-enabled WMS application within
the VISUAL suite, impressed Cerqa with its advanced functionality to track
costs and manage inventory from point-of-receipt through storage and shipping.
are quite a few WMS players in today's marketplace, but not many with
robust warehouse capabilities found in VISUAL DCMS. Smaller still is the
number of companies that provide an integrated supply chain suite, which
is what makes Lilly Software's solution unique," says Raymond Head, Sales
Associate for Lilly Software Associates. "The ability of VISUAL DCMS to
operate as an execution-based stand alone system or to be integrated to
a client's specific host application is a distinct advantage over competitive
systems. And with the explosive growth in the contract warehousing and
Third Party Logistic (3PL) industries, VISUAL DCMS' inherent 3PL management
functionality places Lilly Software in a solid position to meet this growing
Software Associates, Inc. (LSA) is a Hampton, NH, USA-based privately
held provider of a line of enterprise and supply chain management solutions
for small-to-medium manufacturers and distributors. Lilly Software's financial
success and double-digit revenue growth during the recent years have been
attributable to its understanding of the requirements of its target market
(SMEs) that wish to acquire most of their business applications from a
single source. Also positively impacting the sales of its flagship product
suite, VISUAL, is its intuitive graphical user interface (GUI).
its easy-to-use graphical nature, the VISUAL suite enables companies to
capture accurate, real-time data about their business processes using
ERP, E-Business, APS, MES, Quality Management, Customer Relationship Management
(CRM), and Warehouse Management System (WMS) capabilities. Most VISUAL
applications run on a wide range of the most commonly used platforms.
Lilly's supply chain management (SCM) solutions revolve around VISUAL
Manufacturing, its flagship ERP product aimed primarily for to-order,
although also suitable to to-stock and mixed-mode manufacturers in some
instances. The product features strong built-in advanced planning and
scheduling (APS) and manufacturing execution system (MES) capabilities.
An additional difference with VISUAL is the ability to use metrics and
tools not found in most other peer ERP systems to manage throughput in
an orderly way increasing customer service and profit on a period-by-period
Lilly features the software that supports the needs of distribution companies
with its VISUAL Distribution product. While many peer ERP products support
picking and putting away requirements, a vast majority of them do not
have the ability to manage an order that might require kitting, assembly,
or light manufacturing in the distribution center. The real strength of
VISUAL is its integration across all the functions of the manufacturing
enterprise from design, via make, sell, distribute, to after-sales service.
the fall of 1999, Lilly also introduced Internet Order Management, the
first of several planned e-business applications. Then, in March 2000,
the company released VISUAL Customer Relationship Management (CRM). The
product supports marketing, sales, call center, and customer service functions,
and it is fully integrated with the rest of the VISUAL product components.
Lilly has also announced partnerships with Works.com and SupplierMarket.com
to offer additional e-commerce functionality to its customers.
reason of Lilly's success is its distribution model, which is based solely
on an indirect channel. The channel is comprised of companies and individuals
that sell only Lilly's VISUAL product suite. Domain expertise in job shop
manufacturing, from both a sales and product perspective, and easy-to-implement,
easy-to-use products have been critical factors to the company's distribution
Lilly Software will have to overcome some significant challenges in order
to continue to thrive in a highly competitive environment. Its market
awareness and global presence are limited, and further aggravated by the
non-cohesive marketing of its product and company brand names (VISUAL
and Lilly). Furthermore, the product shows inferior functionality in realms
outside of job-shop manufacturing functionality on the shop floor level
and of distribution. For example, the product does not currently offer
the ability to control production with rate-based scheduling techniques.
Creating and managing individual work orders is still a requirement; hence,
it is not well suited for demand flow/pure repetitive environments. Further,
it offers only a very basic standard costing method, cost simulation and
planning tools compared to what most cost accountants are expecting in
a "standard cost" system.
VISUAL's multi-site and multi-national capabilities have been improving,
it still has some limitations in handling distributed manufacturing entities;
it requires either a completely centralized set of activities for manufacturing
and accounting or a completely decentralized one. As an example, there
is no ability to perform some functions like production control on a decentralized
basis and then to have centralized order entry and accounts receivable.
the technology front, while Lilly has embraced the Microsoft component
object model (COM) technology that promises a building-block approach
to application development, it is still a long way from completing the
delivery of all COM-based products. Furthermore, as a Microsoft centric
solution one would imagine Lilly would be more actively pursuing/integrating
MS's .Net advancements, which has not happened yet.
VISUAL is already enabled for E-Business using techniques such as the
Web, EDI, integrated email, and event trigger/messaging techniques, the
only web interface that the company representatives were able to demonstrate
during a recent seminar was the on-line order status. Additionally, while
seemingly most of vendors have been touting XML, Lilly's presentation
was devoid of any XML initiatives or support statements. While its focus
on object based client/server architecture delivers a functionally strong
product, more nimble competitors are pursuing fully web-based solutions
using XML. Competitors are also formally endorsing Application Service
Provider (ASP) strategic partnerships in order to provide their current
and potential customers with attractive options; Lilly has still been
seemingly inactive in that regard.
Lilly Software's target market, North American single-site job shop discrete
manufacturing and distribution companies and/or their divisions with up
to $100 million-a-year revenue range, should consider the company's value
proposition, but avoid selecting it without looking at what the other
vendors have to offer. These companies generally have a limited IT budget,
a conservative IT strategy, complex discrete job shop manufacturing and
supply chain demands, and less complex CRM and B2B e-commerce requirements.
The industries that would most likely benefit from using Lilly Software's
products are aerospace & defense, electronics, instrumentation, industrial
machinery, fabricated metals, consumer packaged goods (CPG), wholesale
distribution, automotive and transportation equipment.
that require multi-site and multi-national capability, high-volume transaction
processing, and/or across the range functional depth may benefit from
evaluating other offerings.