Welcome to ERP - Distribution Showdown! Epicor Enterprise vs. JDA Supply Chain Planning & Optimization Suite vs. Pronto Xi

Welcome to ERP - Distribution Showdown!
Epicor Enterprise vs. JDA Supply Chain Planning & Optimization Suite vs. Pronto Xi

I'm Larry Blitz, editor of Technology Evaluation Centers' (TEC) Vendor Showdown series. Welcome to our latest: ERP - Distribution Showdown. You'll notice this one has a broader focus than Showdowns we've done in the past. Again we'll be comparing three vendor solutions head-to-head, but not just on functionality. This time we'll also look at the industries these solutions support, how well they cover different portions of the mid-market segment, and how their installed bases break out geographically. Of course, functionality is again a key component of this Showdown, broken down into four main distribution areas and 13 subareas. We hope you find today's Showdown helpful and informative, and invite your comments and questions at showdown@technologyevaluation.com.


Today's Showdown compares ERP - distribution solutions Epicor Enterprise, JDA Supply Chain Planning & Optimization Suite, and Pronto Xi. All the results you see here are taken from TEC's newly published Mid-Market ERP-Distribution Buyer's Guide, a comprehensive industry guide to ERP - distribution, transportation management systems (TMSs), warehouse management systems (WMSs), supplier relationship management (SRM), and demand management (DM) solutions and vendors. Click here to download your complimentary PDF copy.


Chart 1: Breakdown of supported industries

cc Chart 1 above indicates which industries these three ERP - distribution solutions support. What becomes readily apparent is that all three solutions are broadly based in terms of vertical markets. JDA Supply Chain Planning & Optimization Suite and Pronto Xi support all ten, with Epicor Enterprise supporting eight out of the ten, dropping off only in Food and beverage and Wholesale . However, this should not be taken to suggest that there aren't any important differences between these three vendor solutions.

Chart 2: Breakdown of market segments and geographical areas.

JDA Supply Chain Planning & Optimization Suite
JDA Supply Chain Planning & Optimization Suite is more of a best-of-breed solution, specializing in international trade and in logistics and transportation management, and is less of a full scale enterprise resource planning (ERP) system than the other two solutions. This is evidenced by its comparatively poor showing in back office functionality (a major part of what constitutes an ERP solution), and its relative strength in international logistics and transportation.

Also noteworthy is that JDA specializes in the high and middle end of the mid-market (as shown in Chart 2 above), deriving a full 50 percent of its revenues from companies in the $501 to $1 billion (USD) range, and a full 40 percent of its revenues from companies in the $101 to $500 million (USD) range. Only 10 percent of its revenues come from the low end of the mid-market segment ($51 to $100 million [USD]).

In terms of its customer base, JDA is very much North American–based, with almost 70 percent of its business coming from North American customers, with most of the balance in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, and very little in Asia.

Pronto Xi
Pronto is an Australian-based ERP vendor, so it's no surprise that 70 percent of its business is in Australia, with most of the balance in the Asian market, and very little in North America. Unlike JDA, Pronto specializes in the mid and lower ends of the market, with 60 percent of its revenues coming from these two segments, and only 10 percent coming from the high end of the market. Pronto offers a full ERP solution with strong back end functionality.

Epicor Enterprise
Epicor Enterprise falls right down the middle in terms of the market segment it most supports, with 45 percent of its business coming from the mid-level companies. Its next strongest segment of the market is the lower end, with 20 percent of its revenues coming from companies in the $51 to $100 million (USD) range.

Sixty-three percent of Epicor's business is in North America, with almost all the rest in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa.

We've included information on the vendors' market segments and geographical markets because we believe these are important factors to consider when selecting a software solution. Any vendor doing a lot of business with companies of your size and in your geographical market is likely to have the kind of knowledge and expertise necessary to understand and support your company's special needs and problems.

Now we come to the all-important functionality scores. It must be remembered that the functionality ratings you see here refer to the specific solutions being rated, and not to the vendor in general.

Chart 3. Breakdown of business components.

As you can see in Chart 3 above, the functionality portion of the Showdown is broken down into four main areas: Supply Chain Management (SCM), Distribution Process Management (DPM), Retail & Commerce, and Back Office. Within each area are functional subareas, a total of 13 in all.

In SCM, the backbone of any ERP - distribution solution, Epicor Enterprise has the strongest showing across the board. JDA Supply Chain Planning & Optimization Suite is strong in Transportation Management, Trade Logistics, and Procurement, but gets only average scores in Warehouse and Supplier Management. Pronto Xi is also strong across the board in SCM, except in Transportation Management.

In Retail & Commerce, Pronto Xi scored best, with Epicor Enterprise and JDA Supply Chain Planning & Optimization Suite sharing the second spot.

In DPM, it's basically dead even. All three vendor solutions score well across the board, although Epicor Enterprise slightly outperforms JDA in Process Management, and slightly outscores Pronto in Purchasing Management.

In Back Office, both Epicor Enterprise and Pronto Xi get top grades, with JDA Supply Chain Planning & Optimization Suite placing third. Again, this is no surprise, since this JDA solution is more of a supply chain optimization, best-of-breed solution.


Each of the vendor solutions we looked at in this Showdown offers a different combination of strengths and weaknesses.

For example, Pronto Xi scored well in every functional area except Transportation Management . If your business requires a strong transportation management module, JDA Supply Chain Planning & Optimization Suite may be the better choice, but that comes at a price: JDA Supply Chain Planning & Optimization Suite is weaker than Pronto Xi in Web Commerce and Financials . Epicor Enterprise also scored well across the board, but was weaker in Retail and POS . (It should be remembered that Epicor Enterprise offers other solutions that have strong retail and POS functionality). If your needs include a strong retail component, both JDA Supply Chain Planning & Optimization Suite and Pronto Xi may be better choices.

Also worth considering is which vendor is best positioned to understand and support your needs. With almost all its business in Asia-Pacific, Pronto has good knowledge and experience in that geographical market. On the other hand, if your company is in the upper part of the mid-market and North American–based, that much more closely fits with JDA's corporate profile than either of the two other vendors. If your business is in the mid or lower end and North American–based, Epicor is the closest fit in terms of business size and geography. And, of course, functionality, as we've seen above, has to be factored in as well.

The fact is, no solution is ideal for every business. At the end of the day, it's largely the particular needs of your business that will determine which solution is the best fit for you.

A quick and easy way to compare ERP - distribution solutions based on your organization's particular functional requirements is by using TEC's ERP - Distribution Evaluation Center, which contains the latest vendor request for information (RFI) data for 17 different ERP - distribution solutions. TEC's ERP - Distribution Evaluation Center allows you to set priorities that reflect your organization's business model and special needs at every level of functionality, and you'll get the results in a matter of minutes. At the modular and submodular levels—even down to the individual criteria—you can tell the system which business processes are critical, important, or not important to your organization. The system then compares your priorities against the vendor RFI responses to produce a shortlist of solutions. You get a custom comparison—one that ranks vendor solutions on how well their functionality matches the business requirements of your organization.

It's the best way we know of to evaluate ERP - distribution solutions, and we invite you to give it a run-through. Simply click on the link below to visit TEC's ERP - Distribution Evaluation Center to conduct your fast, free custom ERP - distribution comparison. After all, there's no other organization quite like yours.


For a free, custom comparison of ERP - distribution solutions, click below.

Find out which ERP - distribution solutions are best suited to your company's particular requirements and type of business.

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