Logility Collaborative Planning Solutions Offer Sound Proposition
Written By: Steve McVey
Published On: July 17 2000
Logility Collaborative Planning Solutions Offer Sound Proposition
Atlanta-based Logility describes itself as the leader in B2B collaborative
commerce solutions via the Internet. Though all vendors take great pains
to position themselves as leaders in something, Logility's claim goes
beyond a skillfully crafted marketing blurb. Logility traces its lineage
as a provider of collaborative software to its work with Heineken, which
purchased supply chain planning software from Logility (then wholly-owned
by American Software) in 1996. Heineken received the VICS 1999 "Best in
Logistics" award based in part on its Heineken Operational Planning System
(HOPS), developed by Logility. HOPS helped Heineken improve communication
with customers, correct irregular inventory management, and reduce lead-time
from 12 to four weeks. The system is used by all of Heineken's 450 distributors.
began its operation with a selection of software applications that collectively
supported the major planning tasks characteristic of manufacturing and
distribution enterprises. Today, although these planning applications
(see Table 1 for a summary) account for the bulk of Logility's revenue,
they have a revised role in the company's overall collaborative product
the center of Logility's product suite lie its collaborative planning
engines, Voyager XPS for CPFR (Collaborative Planning Forecasting and
Replenishment) and Voyager XES for Collaborative Transportation Management
(CTM), a set of logistics execution processes codified by the Voluntary
Interindustry Commerce Standards organization (VICS) and defined in large
part by Logility. The individual modules for inventory planning, demand
planning, replenishment planning, etc., are brought together in the collaborative
context created by XPS and XES, much like petals of a flower are joined
in the center receptacle.
Strategy and Trajectory
In keeping with its heritage, Logility still targets the process manufacturing
and distribution industry verticals, especially consumer packaged goods,
food & beverage, chemicals, and textiles. In addition it enjoys a growing
base of clients in retail, both brick-and-mortar and Internet, a phenomenon
due primarily to its collaborative planning products that are well-suited
to managing the processes by which retailers communicate and collaborate
with suppliers. Logility feels its early entry into collaborative planning
(Heineken) and resulting expertise is a major source of competitive advantage.
We expect Logility to continue emphasizing its B2B collaborative commerce
solutions over the next 3-5 years as this sector is still at the beginning
of its lifecycle.
with disparate systems is accomplished with the aid of Voyager Commerce
Corridor, a selection of partner Enterprise Application Integration (EAI)
vendors that works with Logility and the client on a per-implementation
basis to provide a true data link between XPS and third-party demand planning
packages, such as i2 RHYTHM Demand Planner or SAP APO Demand Planning.
Among these EAI companies is Mercator (formerly TSI Software, Inc.), which
has a long history with Logility and provided the cement for the standard
interface between Logility and SAP R/3 that was developed in 1997.
Logility Voyager Solutions are offered on both NT and Unix, the company
now finds its Windows NT platform to be far more popular and sales of
Unix systems are rare. American Software established Logility as a separate
business unit in January 1997 focused solely on the Supply Chain market
and moved every component of the suite to the Windows NT and Windows 2000
(as of February 2000) platform including WarehousePRO (originally OS/2
based) and Transportation Planning and Management (originally AS/400 based).
To capitalize on what it describes as "a very under-serviced platform
for supply chain management," Logility has partnered with IBM to develop
its Voyager suite natively for the AS/400e and DB2.
to its expectations, Logility has found small to mid sized companies reluctant
to sign up for application hosting, a result indicative of the marketplace
as a whole. i-Connection, one part of the company's applications hosting
services provided by partners AmQUEST (owned by American Software) and
ebaseOne, has been slow to produce expected subscription revenue. Consequently,
Logility has adopted a "wait-and-see" strategy for further development
of its ASP alliance network and relies almost entirely on its traditional
license business. i-Community, the other part of its Web-deployed solutions
business, allows users to collaborate with trading partners using Voyager
XPS and Voyager XES through a hosted service, which also provides access
to Logility's core planning "engines." Unlike i-Connection, Logility
is actively seeking alliance partners, such as portals and other exchanges,
with which to extend i-Community collaborative planning products.
recently, Logility announced an OEM agreement with ERP vendor Great Plains
Software in which its warehousing and transportation execution products
would be branded and sold as the Great Plains Supply Chain Series powered
by Logility. Great Plains plans to incorporate more of Logility's products
in the future, including its collaborative planning products.
the number of business processes that optimize the supply chain and
can be executed via intranets, extranets and the Internet. Includes
Voyager XPS (CPFR), Voyager XES (CTM) and Demand Chain Voyager. These
products facilitate collaboration with both internal and external
trading partners including Net Markets, suppliers, manufacturers,
retailers and customers
Planning, Event Planning, Inventory Planning, Replenishment Planning,
Manufacturing Planning and Scheduling,, Transportation Planning, Value
Chain Designer, Demand Chain Voyager (Internet-based forecasting)
hosting service and applications management resources for Logility's
Supply Chain Planning products. Partners: AmQUEST, ebaseOne
companies to collaborate with trading partners (via Voyager XPS and
Voyager XES) through a web-based network of suppliers, manufacturers,
distributors and retailers. Also powers both public and private trading
- The B2B
Collaborative Commerce Solutions for e-business Voyager XPS and XES
have as perhaps their strongest feature the potential to integrate and
collaborate with other planning engines. This allows suppliers to participate
actively in planning inventory replenishments for a retailer, distributor,
or manufacturer through merely a Web browser without needing other Logility
applications. The retailer (or trading partner closest to the consumer
demand) controls how the supplier and others access the planning environment.
Though a strength for Logility, this paradigm is not unknown in the
SCM software marketplace. J. D. Edwards' has put together a similar
Web-based product incorporating elements of Numetrix xtr@ and others
are sure to follow.
user interface with consistent look and feel: Logility Voyager Solutions
are soft on the eyes and place functions and graphics in intuitive locations
within the GUI. Charts and graphs are accessible from many locations
and allow interactive updates to inventories and schedules by "point-and-click."
Exceptions are conveniently summarized within a single window and users
are directed to them via multiple means, such as e-mail, page, and fax.
is right: While it doesn't offer the cheapest licenses among best-of-breed
SCM vendors, Logility on balance represents a lower total cost than
i2 Technologies or Manugistics (for installations of comparable scope).
Also, many users will find that Logility's highly configurable solutions
can lessen implementation expenses provided they are willing to adopt
standard business processes. Logility's hosted applications available
via i-Connection or Internet-based exchanges via i-Community also offer
a lower entry cost than traditional licenses.
Competing effectively with larger players. The fact that Logility
is a pioneer in collaborative planning has not stopped other vendors from
blazing their own trails into this lucrative market territory. Many of
these companies have massive resources to bring to bear on promoting competitive
offerings. A good example is SAP, whose inferior capabilities for CPFR
may nonetheless win out over Logility if SAP can regroup and focus its
development resources effectively.
hosting represents another opportunity for Logility, but other vendors
are better positioned for Internet deployment. i2's TradeMatrix platform
has the capabilities for delivering hosted applications and enjoys much
wider recognition than Logility Voyager Solutions offered through i-Connection.
Logility's conservative "wait-and-see" ASP strategy for i-Connection
may allow it to preserve capital, but may allow other vendors to establish
a stronger presence in what will ultimately be a thriving market.
of collaborative planning products lags behind rest of functionality.
Logility should increase current investment in development to improve
integration templates and seek partnerships with more EAI vendors to offer
clients maximum flexibility and further mitigate implementation integration
issues. In addition, Logility should look to partner consulting and systems
integration firms for help in defining collaborative business processes
for clients who wish to install Voyager XPS and Voyager XES. Logility
currently partners with EDS, IBM Global Services, WaveBend (formerly BDO
Seidman), and Technology Solutions Company (TSC) for CPFR-specific as
well as general supply chain consulting.
XES places Logility in the running for supply chain execution, but lacks
the maturity of some other packages. Though it may be the only software
to adhere directly to the VICS-sponsored Collaborative Transportation
Management procedures, there are other products that support collaborative
transportation and logistics processes without the VICS standards that
have been around longer, such as Descartes' DeliveryNet.LOG. Logility
needs to complete functionality for the next release of XES quickly in
order to prevent competitors from advancing.
planning for businesses carries great potential for reducing the hidden
costs that inevitably result from poor planning and limited visibility
among supply chain business partners. Logility has made a good move in
targeting this growing area and organizing its applications around the
collaborative aspects. We believe Logility should continue to emphasize
its Internet-based Voyager XPS and Voyager XES applications, but should
enhance their capabilities by incorporating additional features from its
core Voyager Solution suite.
also needs to seek commitment from consulting partners to support CPFR
initiatives and demonstrate their support by allocating resources and
providing training. CPFR and collaborative planning in general require
a different mindset than most corporate users and IT personnel possess,
one that involves judicious levels of trust and cooperation with external
suppliers and customers.
manufacturers, and distributors that are looking for software technology
to help them maintain individualized, strategic relationships with multiple
suppliers should place Logility Voyager Solutions, and specifically XPS,
high on their shortlists. Logility's experience in collaborative planning
is unmatched by its competitors, although the gap is narrowing.
XES, which adds logistics visibility and execution for customer and supplier
networks is the most recent of Logility's Internet-based Collaborative
Commerce Solutions and is thus the least developed in terms of functionality.
Still, Logility's commitment to the XES product as evidenced by its support
of VICS initiatives (CTM) and user forums is a factor that bodes well
for future enhancements and we predict Logility to release a more full-featured
version by 2001.