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SCE Leaders Partner To See Beyond Their Portfolios

Written By: Predrag Jakovljevic
Published On: May 19 2003

Event Summary

Lately, some supply chain execution (SCE) leaders, not wanting to rest on their laurels of recently outperforming the entire enterprise applications market (if not many more other markets across the entire economy spectrum), have entered a number of partnerships with the aim to thereby extend their value proposition far beyond their expertise on the execution side of the supply chain management (SCM).

The partnerships detailed in this note are:

  • RedPrairie Corporation (www.redprairie.com) and webplan Corporation (www.webplan.com) — an alliance to deliver to customers an integrated SCP and SCE solution.

  • RedPrairie Corporation and PeopleSoft, Inc. (NASDAQ: PSFT) — RedPrairie announced a new adapter for its transportation management system (TMS) that will provide integration to PeopleSoft ERP and SCP applications.

  • Manhattan Associates, Inc. (NASDAQ: MANH) and PeopleSoft, Inc. (NASDAQ: PSFT) —Manhattan Associates became a member of PeopleSoft Software Alliance Program and plans to develop integration between its product and PeopleSoft Supply Chain Management (SCM) modules.

  • Manhattan Associates and SeeBeyond (Nasdaq: SBYN) — Manhattan Associates has selected SeeBeyond, one of the leading global providers of eBusiness and Application Integration (eAI) solutions, as a real-time integration solution partner.

  • Manhattan Associates embraces of radio frequency identification (RFID) technology — Manhattan Associates intends to expand its retail compliance guarantee for the top 100 global retailers and the top 100 US retailers to include any new and emerging RFID standards.

  • Manhattan Associates and the Auto-ID Center — Manhattan Associates claims to be the only SCE provider to join the Auto-ID Center, a not-for-profit research organization headquartered at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), and which is designing the critical elements and creating global standards for the next generation bar code—called the EPC Network.

This is Part One of a three-part note.

Part Two will discuss Market Requirements and the Market Impact.

Part Three will detail the Challenges and make User Recommendations.

RedPrairie Corporation and webplan Corporation

On March 28, RedPrairie Corporation (www.redprairie.com), a provider of comprehensive SCE solutions including transportation, labor productivity and warehouse management, as well as supply chain visibility and collaboration solutions, and webplan Corporation (www.webplan.com), also a privately-held provider of software and services that combine supply chain planning (SCP) and execution (SCE), announced an alliance that will supposedly deliver to customers an integrated SCP and SCE solution that should improve supply chain performance, drive out costs and result in more consistently executable plans. The integrated solution, in tune with the dynamic and increasingly real-time nature of today's supply chains, was demonstrated on April 2-4 in Scottsdale, AZ during RedShift, RedPrairie's annual user conference and logistics summit.

The initial integrated solution will reportedly address two important business problems associated with today's manufacturing planning, materials planning and supply chain environments:

  1. The lack of accurate logistics costs and service information that would enable more optimized decisions across the entire supply chain
  2. The lack of real-time inventory and event information needed to respond to supply chain change when building and executing manufacturing and materials plans.

Together, RedPrairie and webplan intend to address these challenges and improve customer's supply chain results by integrating logistics cost and service information (e.g., optimized transportation plans based on a set of planned orders) with real-time changes to inventory or delivery exceptions (e.g., an expected material shipment that is going to be late) to enable planners to make better, more accurate decisions. As an example of the improved supply chain workflows delivered with the integrated solution, planners can now evaluate multiple manufacturing or supply plans and see total supply chain costs, including optimized transportation costs, in choosing which plan provides the optimal scenario.

RedPrairie Corporation and PeopleSoft

Only a day earlier, on March 27, continuing its focus on delivering integration between its DigitaLogistix (DLx) SCE suite and major ERP providers, RedPrairie announced a new adapter for its transportation management system (TMS) that will provide integration to PeopleSoft ERP and SCP applications. The new TMS adapter should complement RedPrairie's previously developed and certified adapter for integration of its Warehouse Management System (WMS) with the PeopleSoft ERP suite. The new adaptor will enable the necessary transactional interchanges between a PeopleSoft ERP instance and RedPrairie's TMS (i.e., DLx Transportation) module. As part of an integrated logistics workflow, the adapter should provide for communication of customer, location, and order release information to the TMS. On completion of transportation planning, optimized load consolidation, and shipment execution processes, the adaptor should then enable communication of shipping plans back to the PeopleSoft ERP. The adaptor will also supposedly be configured to support real-time integration, for example, when changes occur within transportation planning and execution processes that need to be immediately communicated to the ERP.

RedPrairie's PeopleSoft adapters, as well as its certified interfaces to other ERP solutions, are built using DLx Integrator, RedPrairie's own enterprise application integration (EAI) framework, whose capabilities include:

  • Visual data mapping

  • Ability to integrate using multiple protocols, such as XML, direct table-to-table, HTTP post, flat file, SAP IDOCS, and many others

  • Ability to send and receive data synchronously and asynchronously to one central point for communication to multiple sites

  • Real-time, graphical network monitor this unique capability allows users to see any transactional problems that exist across the network, with the ability to drill down to detect and repair the underlying problem. It provides a single console to enable IT staff to manage these transactional flows across the network.

  • Embedded event management this function proactively notifies appropriate personnel if a transactional problem occurs (e.g. an interface to a material handling system is down or an order download with a data quality problem was detected) so that corrective action can be taken promptly. This will save operating costs by minimizing system down time and lost productivity due to bad data or disruption of information flow. These alerts can be communicated via multiple media, such email, pager, and cell phone, with easily configurable subscription, scheduling and escalation features.

RedPrairie touts DLx integrator is the SCE industry's most robust tool for reducing the cost and risk of integrating logistics solutions with ERP, legacy and other business applications. The application provides powerful transaction mapping capabilities, support for all leading communication protocols, a certified adapter to SAP, as well as adapters for Oracle and PeopleSoft ERP suites. The release 2.0 of DLx Integrator, which featured a graphical network monitor and embedded event management, was in January 2003.

Manhattan Associates and PeopleSoft

Coincidentally or not, on the very same day, March 27, Manhattan Associates, Inc. (NASDAQ: MANH), a global leading provider of SCE solutions, also formed an alliance with PeopleSoft, Inc. (NASDAQ: PSFT), one of the leading providers of enterprise applications. Manhattan Associates became a member of PeopleSoft Software Alliance Program and plans to develop integration between its product and PeopleSoft Supply Chain Management (SCM) modules. The integration between Manhattan Associates' warehouse management systems (WMS) and PeopleSoft SCM 8.4 is expected to provide customers with a cost-effective means to integrate the management of complex warehouse environments into more complete supply chain processes. The planned integration is expected to offer complex manufacturing and distribution organizations with tight coordination between production, order management and fulfillment processes. In addition, once completed, the integration of these complementary solutions is expected to provide customers with an easier upgrade path and reduced cost of integration and maintenance.

Manhattan Associates' SCE solutions provide extensive warehouse and transportation management functionality to address complex distribution environments, which have attributes such as extremely high order volumes, high degrees of automation and intricate shipping requirements, including multi-channel and international shipping — where issues such as currency exchanges, customs and languages arise. Its solutions also provide capabilities for interfacing with material handling systems and advanced technologies such as radio frequency identification (RFID). Manhattan Associates is planning to qualify for PeopleSoft certification testing by the third quarter of 2003.

Manhattan Associates and SeeBeyond

Possibly a more important alliance could be the February 24 alliance between Manhattan Associates and SeeBeyond (Nasdaq: SBYN), one of the leading global providers of eBusiness and Application Integration (eAI) solutions, whereby Manhattan Associates has selected SeeBeyond as a real-time integration solution partner. As part of the agreement, SeeBeyond will jointly develop and market the SeeBeyond e*Way Intelligent Adapter for Manhattan Associates' flagship PkMS suite. Utilizing the real-time integration of warehousing systems with order management, replenishment, distribution, and transportation capabilities should provide organizations with the ability to achieve excellence in the execution of supply chain activities.

Using the SeeBeyond e*Gate Integrator platform and connector to PkMS, customers will supposedly be able to easily integrate their PkMS implementation with other third party ERP and legacy applications. Examples of enterprise applications that might need to be integrated using this solution include ERP, advanced planning and scheduling, transportation management and order management.

Manhattan Associates Embraces RFID Technology

Moreover, where Manhattan Associates, seems to be spearheading the competition, in addition to its leading SCE market share, would be its embracement of radio frequency identification (RFID) technology. To that end, on February 10, the vendor announced that it intends to expand its retail compliance guarantee for the top 100 global retailers and the top 100 US retailers to include any new and emerging RFID standards. As the business processes that support this new technology continue to evolve, Manhattan Associates remains committed to developing solutions and the associated domain expertise that will support RFID in its customers' distribution centers (DC) and in the overall retail supply chain.

Manhattan Associates would not be the only SCE vendor doing something with regard to SCE, given early in 2002, Red Prairie (then called McHugh Software International, Inc.) announced at its 5th annual Industry Summit the formation of a Center of Excellence to explore the potential applications and benefits of employing RFID technology within consumer goods supply chains. Joining RedPrairie as founding members of the Center of Excellence were: Intermec Technologies Corp., Unilever, Georgia-Pacific, Marconi InfoChain and CHEP International. RedPrairie and the other participants pedged to work together to define where, within the supply chain process, RFID will have the greatest benefit and translate these benefits into increased functionality within SCE applications.

Manhattan Associates and the Auto-ID Center

Nonetheless, Manhattan Associates claims to be the only SCE provider to join the Auto-ID Center, a not-for-profit research organization headquartered at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), and which is designing the critical elements and creating global standards for the next generation bar code—called the EPC Network. Through this program, Manhattan Associates will contribute to establishing a future standard where everyday objects with EPC tags can be identified anywhere automatically.

The Auto-ID Center was established in October 1999 by The Gillette Company, Procter & Gamble and the Uniform Code Council (UCC). Today, more than 83 companies from around the world support the Center's work. The technology system in development at the Auto-ID Center could help businesses save billions of dollars in lost, stolen or wasted products. For example, EPC tags affixed to packaging could provide manufacturers, distributors and retailers with the following benefits:

  • Product authenticity—allow distributors and retailers to confirm, with pinpoint accuracy, whether or not the goods on their shelves are authentic. Users will have instant access to information indicating precisely when, where and by whom a product was made.

  • Product availability—manufacturers will have true "produce-to-demand" capability and will be able to eliminate excess inventory by drawing on the latest data.

  • Greater efficiencies—combining "produce-to-demand" capability, plus inventory reduction and balance plus reduction in manual stock keeping, the supply chain could recognize cost efficiencies in the range of hundreds of billions of dollars.

  • Enhanced recycling—by coding a package as cardboard, aluminum or plastic, the technology may greatly simplify and improve waste management and recycling efforts.

RFID technology consists of tags or transponders, which transmit Electronic Product Codes (EPCs) and communicate wirelessly to other devices over radio frequency (RF) waves. Attached to physical objects, including the actual product as well as the cartons, pallets and containers in which they are shipped, the tags should uniquely identify the items, as readers communicate with the tag via RF. In a distribution center (DC), once within range of a reader, the data is captured, accepted and then executed against by a SCE solution like PkMS.

For retailers and the other vertical industries that Manhattan Associates serves, RFID tags present enormous opportunities to improve supply chain operations, such as:

  • Reduced stock outs due to supplier vendor managed inventory (VMI)/replenishment

  • Automated proof of delivery

  • Improved security of products

  • Warehouse labor reduction

  • Expedited cross docking

  • Improved physical counts and reconciliation

  • Improved WIP inventory and aging/quality control

With an RFID/PkMS integration, it will supposedly be possible to have totally automated logistics tracking processes, enabling products to pass through the DC without manual checking and scanning. For example, when an incoming shipment is physically moved into the four walls of the DC, the facility's antennae should capture information from the embedded RFID tags. These antennae then pass the data onto PkMS, which accepts the information and automatically receives the inventory, thereby eliminating the manual receiving processes of counting and scanning individual items, cartons and/or pallets. Real-time inventory control, tracking and alerting capabilities could be other very important advantages of RFID. As tagged inventory goes through ports, terminals, freight forwarders and actually into a DC, the RFID tag should provide real-time visibility of an item's whereabouts at all times. With RFID, PkMS should be able to track and maintain inventory with minimal supervision in an entire network of DCs in a fraction of the time currently required.

This concludes Part One of a three-part note.

Part Two will discuss Market Requirements and the Market Impact.

Part Three will present Challenges and make User Recommendations.

 
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