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SSA Global Forms a Strategic Unit with an Extended-ERP Savvy Part One: Event Summary

Written By: Predrag Jakovljevic
Published On: September 15 2004

Event Summary

Just when many might have begun to think that SSA Global, a Chicago, IL-based extended enterprise solutions and services provider for process manufacturing, discrete manufacturing, consumer, services, and public companies worldwide, which had turned into a ravenous enterprise applications market consolidator over the last few years, had finally satisfied its voracious urge, the vendor struck again. To be fair, prior to its most recent acquisition, SSA Global had also done a notable work in making sense out of its slew of earlier acquisitions, which analysis will be the topic of another forthcoming article.

To refresh our memory, the vendor, which was once an object case of poorly managed enterprise resource planning (ERP) company during the late 1990s (see Another One Bites the Dust—SSA Gored to Death), has since late 2001 experienced a dozen or so of consecutive quarters of growth and profitability that are possibly unique in the industry today, but it has also done it while concurrently orchestrating several successful acquisitions, including former EXE Technologies, Inc. (see SSA GT to EXE-cute (Yet) Another Acquisition), Baan, Elevon, and Ironside Technologies (see Baan And SSA GT Merge To Form A Mid-Market Empire With An ''Iron Side''), Infinium Software (see Is SSA GT Betting Infini(um)tely On Acquisitions?), interBiz, the former e-Business division of Computer Associates (see CA Unloads interBiz Collection Into SSA GT's Sanctuary) and MAX International (see SSA Acquires MAX Hoping To Leap From Its MIN). As a result, the vendor now has 121 locations worldwide and its product offerings are used by more than 13,000 customers, some of which represent market-leading companies, in over ninety countries.

While the market has been aware of the vendor still tirelessly eyeing many more acquisitions of ailing competitors with notable products or technologies and install bases, former supply chain management (SCM) leaders i2 Technologies and Manugistics being speculatively mentioned, another acquisition happened on June 14, when SSA Global announced the completion of its acquisition of substantially all of the assets of Arzoon Inc. (www.arzoon.com), a San Mateo, CA-based privately-held provider of integrated logistics and global trade management (GTM) technology. Financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

Arzoon's unified supply chain execution (SCE) infrastructure, which is used to increase global supply chain velocity and performance, is envisioned to augment SSA Global's existing SCM solution and strategy, which was, coincidentally or not, announced at the beginning of June as a result of SSA Global's ongoing commitment to address the extended ERP needs of its customers worldwide. To that end, SSA Global's SCM strategy is "to deliver robust solutions that address the key requirements of customers and prospects at a competitive price, while extending the value of their existing technology investments".

The SSA SCM solution suite combines best-of-breed functionality with specialized industry expertise added through strategic acquisitions, such as Baan and EXE Technologies. The suite leverages erstwhile proven best-of-breed products and technologies that fuse the demand chain with the supply chain to forecast demand, take an order, give an accurate promise date, manufacture the right goods, position inventory properly, pick, pack and ship efficiently while maintaining optimal inventory levels. Accordingly, the SSA SCM solution offering includes

  • SSA Demand Planning
  • SSA Inventory Planning
  • SSA Order Planning
  • SSA Production Planning
  • SSA Supply Planning and Replenishment
  • SSA Logistics and Transportation Planning
  • SSA Warehouse Management
  • SSA Transportation Management

During the last several quarters, many companies in various industries have reportedly purchased and implemented SSA SCM solutions, particularly the customers that have chosen to implement supply chain solutions to extend the value of their original investment in ERP. Select customers of SSA Global's SCM suite include Publix, TNT Logistics, Americold, Flextronics, Georgia Pacific, Solectron, Menlo Logistics, NFI Industries, and Vector SCM.

Arzoon brings its n-tier global logistics execution solution, which includes global transportation management, international trade compliance, inventory visibility, exception management, and trading partner management to the SSA SCM portfolio. SSA Global thus believes its customers will gain greater visibility into core SCE processes while reducing transportation and logistics costs, integrating security and trade compliance, and improving procurement, fulfillment, and customer service. The vendor will initially focus on integrating Arzoon into SSA Transportation Management, and by combining Arzoon's functionality with SSA Transportation Management, as well as with SSA Warehouse Management down the track, SSA Global aims at delivering a comprehensive and strategic SCM solution that can help companies move products globally with the lowest possible total landed cost, while also providing visibility into their supply chain movements.

This is Part One of a three-part report.

Part Two will discuss the market impact.

Part Three will discuss challenges, and make user recommendations.

Strategic Solutions Team

Further, somewhat related to the SSA SCM brand unification, to bring greater focus to its customers' requirements addressed by extended ERP solutions, at the end of May, SSA Global introduced a dedicated Strategic Solutions team, comprised of industry experts solely focused on providing, servicing, and implementing strategic extended ERP solutions (i.e., SCM as well as customer relationship management [CRM], supplier relationship management [SRM], corporate performance management [CPM] and product lifecycle management [PLM] solutions) for current and prospective SSA Global customers. Companies seeking to address current business challenges, gain competitive advantage and extend the value of their existing enterprise systems (e.g., to improve operational efficiencies, reduce time-to-market, optimize costs and increase overall productivity, etc.) can now look to SSA Global's Strategic Solutions team.

SSA Global doubled its market share in 2003 and at the same time selectively integrated best-of-breed solutions into its world-class portfolio. The newly-formed Strategic Solutions team should bring necessary focus to the extended ERP solutions, and will work in concert with SSA Global's account management to reinforce customer engagements that include the extension solutions that the team will focus on:

  • SSA CPM, including Enterprise Planning, Enterprise Scorecarding, and Enterprise Business Intelligence (BI), which originate from the original equipment manufacturer (OEM) partnership with Cognos

  • SSA SCM, including Supply Chain Planning (SCP), Supply Chain Collaboration and SCE, which originate from former interBiz, Baan and EXE acquisitions, and from the partnership with Logilityfor demand planning

  • SSA CRM, including Sales Management, Marketing Management, Enterprise Service Management and Collaborative Order Management, which originate from Baan, Ironside (the order management area), and partly from the recent organic product development

  • SSA PLM, which originates from Baan

  • SSA SRM, which originates from Ironside, Baan (in the procurement area), and partly from the recent organic product development.

With the formation of a dedicated Strategic Solutions team, SSA Global has put in place experts across all major functional areas including sales, marketing, support and product development to consistently anticipate and deliver against its customers' extended enterprise needs. Jim Handy has been appointed president of SSA Global Strategic Solutions, reporting to Graeme Cooksley, executive vice president of SSA Global, responsible for worldwide field operations, marketing, support, and product management.

Handy joined SSA Global last year and was instrumental in the company's integration of Baan in North America. Then he greatly contributed to SSA Global's successful merger with EXE Technologies. Prior to joining SSA Global, Handy served as senior vice president for Geac Enterprise Solutions where he had global profit and loss (P&L) responsibilities for the SmartStream and SmartEnterprise ERP product lines. Some of current marquee SSA Global's key Strategic Solutions customers include Averitt Express, Britain's Ministry of Defense, The Big Food Group, Frans Maas, Somerfield Stores, UBS Warburg, and QVC.

Arzoon

On its hand, Arzoon has aggressively pursued its vision of a combined transportation management system (TMS) and global logistics execution and trade management platform provider, culminating with the general availability of Arzoon LIFE Release 6.0 on April 6. The software suite has since been available through Arzoon's application service provider (ASP) services for new and existing customers. Many of the new capabilities have been developed to address the needs of leading supply chain customers of Arzoon in retail, consumer packaged goods (CPG), food and beverage, and high-tech manufacturing as well as to respond to industry changes in the area of hours of service and global trade compliance reasonable care standards. The key new features, which were designed to solve real world problems in these industries and to further increase the return on investment (ROI) of Arzoon's solutions for its customers include

  • Comprehensive support of the hours of service (HOS) rules by providing dock door scheduling and enhanced transportation optimization. The new HOS rules create additional cycle time and cost for those shippers or receivers that do not have efficient dock processes in place. Arzoon's Dock Door Scheduling enhancement should decrease costs by eliminating dead time and providing controls for prioritization and visibility to shipments while automating manual processes.

  • Arzoon's Transportation Optimizer should give users visibility into consolidation opportunities across the entire organization and provide them with reduced transportation costs producing a usable optimized shipping plan through seamless integration to transportation execution and visibility processes. Overall, the customers should gain value through optimized shipments, re-optimize suboptimal (non-full) shipments, and automatically execute on full shipments. Savings can also be realized with order aggregation, multiple pick-up or drop-off and continuous move or backhaul creation with cost prorating based on both weight and distance.

  • Integration of key functionality from Arzoon's stand-alone Vigilance Event Management software to provide centralized, real-time, closed-loop alerts and resolutions of complex business events and exceptions as they occur throughout the fulfillment process. This should provide management with the critical view across the trading community of the events and exceptions that are driving profitability along with enhanced messaging notification, thereby allowing faster reaction to problems and improving customer service and management control. Additionally, Arzoon's Vigilance Event Management can be implemented to support Sarbanes-Oxley requirements by continuously monitoring (auditing) key metrics, business rules, and control points in real time.

  • Arzoon's Freight Audit functionality reportedly allows companies to benefit from cost recovery in the range of 2 to 5 percent as quoted by third party payment firms allowing them to reduce these costs and eliminate the float taken by many third party payment companies. Companies should now be able to internalize this traditionally labor-intensive process with minimal headcount requirements and more closely control carrier payments.

  • Arzoon's Import Entry Audit compares purchase orders against commercial invoices, and the Broker's 7501 entry form with standardized business processes and helping to ensure trade and Sarbanes-Oxley compliance. The possible benefits from this enhancement also include the cost savings from empowering users to proactively manage by exception and avoid fines and penalties while reducing overheads associated with the compliance process.

This concludes Part One of a three-part report.

Part Two will discuss the market impact.

Part Three will discuss challenges, and make user recommendations.

 
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