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McHugh Software’s DigitaLogistix Built On Strong Foundation

Written By: Steve McVey
Published On: May 4 2001

McHugh Software's DigitaLogistix Built On Strong Foundation
S. McVey - May 4, 2001

Event Summary

Privately held McHugh Software International recently unveiled its answer to the heavy competition in the supply chain execution (SCE) software market: DigitaLogistix. Many applications in the suite have been available for years while a few are relative newcomers to market. McHugh has targeted the new offering at customers in its core verticals, CPG/food & beverage, high tech electronics, third-party logistics, in addition to its secondary markets in parts distribution, packaged chemicals, and dot-com industries.

The seven new applications that, together with core warehouse, transportation and labor management systems, constitute DigitaLogistix include:

  • LENS, which provides real-time, end-to-end supply chain visibility.

  • Commander, a set of command and control applications that enable companies to take centralized action in response to logistics requirements and events.

  • DigitalApps, a suite of role-based web applications for collaboration among multiple supply chain participants.

  • Digital TMS, a set of web-based transportation execution applications aimed at automating shippers' core transportation processes and helping them build private carrier portals.

  • Logistix Scorecard, a comprehensive logistics analytic and decision support tool used to measure actual performance at the facility, enterprise and supply chain levels.

  • Logistix Execution Optimizer, which provides dynamic, streaming optimization of enterprise transportation and sourcing plans.

  • Dynamic Merge-in-Transit, which enables companies to consolidate shipments from multiple sourcing points through merge centers, increasing velocity, reducing logistics costs and enabling realization of the dynamic virtual warehouse.

The software market for warehouse management systems has become more and more competitive as the technology has evolved to address the lion's share of customer requirements. DigitaLogistix competes favorably with other suites while offering users a collection of modules that work well together.

Market Impact

Like any software technology that has reached a plateau in the maturation curve, warehouse management systems have evolved to a point where there is little differentiation among them. This environment has prompted forward-thinking companies to take action, extending their solutions to include applications complementary to WMS. Of these, transportation management is the most prevalent simply because users instinctively regard logistics operations as the "spokes" through which goods are conveyed to and from the warehouse and distribution center "hubs". While nearly all of the SCE market leaders have either acquired or internally developed TMS and other applications to enhance total solutions, there is a marked lack of cohesion between products in their suites.

A product acquired from Software Architects for high-tech discrete mid-market customers provides the fundamental component architecture for DigitaLogistix. This platform imparts uniformity among the various modules that, though drawn in some cases from different sources, speak the same data language. Hence, McHugh can offer diversity of scope with uniformity in presentation, structure, and business objectives. This is an important differentiator in a market characterized by a host of competitive offerings that are sometimes slapped together with little thought to ensuring connections make sense. ERP vendors have gone farther toward a uniform data architecture than SCE vendors if only because they have been working at it longer.

One of the strengths of DigitaLogistix made possible by the component architecture is its incorporation of proven applications for WMS and TMS alongside next generation tools for labor management and supply chain visibility. Labor Management Systems (LMS) are just beginning to appear on radar screens and McHugh admits to having to adopt an evangelical role in order to sell the market on its LMS application. While LMS is not yet a hotbed within the enterprise application buyer's market, many users are examining the labor-intensive portions of their operations and concluding that considerable cost savings could be obtained through software automation. Although union leaders may bristle at any initiative for tracking and improving labor efficiency, LMS can nevertheless make lives easier for warehouse personnel and CFOs alike. We expect LMS to enhance sales of DigitaLogistix, which will make a substantial contribution to McHugh's license revenues over the next 12-18 months.

User Recommendations

Users with outdated warehouse management systems who want the latest technology available should place McHugh Software on a shortlist of SCE vendors. Prospective clients should bear in mind that not all planned modules in the suite are currently integrated. Labor management is available as a standalone product now, but will not be fully integrated to the rest of DigitaLogistix until the end of 2001. Managers may find this delay useful to assess current operations and determine whether a need exists. Users that need automation and visibility across multiple transportation modes, including sea and air, might want to consider marrying DigitaLogistix with third-party software for managing international transport lanes. Though its suite is currently best suited for domestic logistics, McHugh plans native support for all transportation modes in the not-too-distant future.

 
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