The recently held RedShift 2012 user conference was reportedly a huge success for RedPrairie, a vendor of supply chain management (SCM), workforce management (WFM), and multi-channel retail solutions. (I could not attend the multi-day event in person, but I was kindly debriefed by RedPrairie after the event). The business world has lately been transformed by a host of phenomena such as digital commerce, mobility, demand volatility, empowered consumer, multi-channel retailing (buy anywhere, fulfill anywhere), social, cloud, big data, fuel cost volatility, supply chain segmentation, and so on.
These drivers and trends require a new approach for enterprises that must do the following to transform themselves to meet today’s new business challenges now:
- Connect demand points to the supply chain
- Eliminate operational silos
- Align front-end and back-end processes
- Look beyond the four walls
- Build “big data” and “cloud” capabilities into their ecosystems
RedPrairie -- Transformed to Meet the New Challenges
RedPrairie has been on a three-year journey since the staging 2010 year, in which the vendor was acquired by New Mountain Capital and taken private. At the time, the vendor had to define the “who we are, what we do, who we serve” charter.
Then came 2011, the year of building and investment, both externally via several key acquisitions (e.g., Escalate Retail) and internally in terms of operations and product line improvements. RedPrairie continues its vertical business focus (retail currently being by far the largest industry in its revenues, with pharma, consumer products, automotive, third-party logistics (3PL) providers, food, hi-tech, and others sharing the rest) and has appointed its first ever CTO, John Kopcke, who’s been in charge of rationalizing the product architecture.
Finally, 2012 is about executing in the changing marketplace by globalizing its corporate structure and expanding its partner and/or reseller network. As a private company, RedPrairie does not disclose its financial data, but it claims healthy growth on all metrics (software licenses, bookings, new customers, subscriptions, even hardware revenue, etc.).
Delivering a Unified SCM Suite
RedPrairie’s proclaimed mission is to help its customers develop more profound connections with consumers through the following aspects and capabilities:
- Right product, right people, right place, right time
- Scheduling and managing products and people around demand, events, merchandising plans, and new product introductions (NPIs)
- Applying supply chain science across entire supply network
- Leveraging "big data” insight opportunities
- Providing a single, agile architecture approach
RedPrairie Functional Scope
The following three major themes emerged at the conference:
- Integration—The vendor has integrated its suites to connect its supply chain execution (SCE) suite to its retail store and commerce suites to provide visibility from the store shelf and online order all the way back through distribution channels to suppliers and manufacturers (see Figure 1). The intent is to improve inventory visibility, velocity, and accuracy across extended demand and supply networks.
- Traceability—A new cloud-based traceability solution is already providing benefits to two large consumer packaged goods (CPG)/food and beverage (F&B) customers. The solution provides complete electronic chain of custody traceability down to license plate number (LPN) level to increase inventory visibility to near real time, reduce risk, and improve brand protection.
- Role-based development—The vendor introduced its go-forward architectural design based on user roles across its retail and supply chain suites. This role-based user interface (UI) breaks down the traditional silos between applications to present to users all of the data, workflows, and tasks they need to do their next priority assignment or management function. These are presented to the user in simple, graphical formats that are intuitive for the user.
The On-Demand WMS solution by RedPrairie (formerly SmartTurn, which was acquired in 2010) continues to sign new customers and its revenue is increasing. The small size of these deals doesn't add a lot to the bottom line though. RedPrairie now has two solid implementations of the Collaborative Flowcasting product, and they are good references. Kraft gave a compelling presentation on its implementation at RedShift 2012. Now that the vendor has some live customers and the word is getting out, interest is picking up.
We will have to wait and see how the strategy RedPrairie unveiled will unfold. Your views, comments, opinions, and experiences with RedPrairie and its products are, as usual, welcome in the meantime.