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.
seven new applications that, together with core warehouse, transportation
and labor management systems, constitute DigitaLogistix include:
which provides real-time, end-to-end supply chain visibility.
a set of command and control applications that enable companies to
take centralized action in response to logistics requirements and
a suite of role-based web applications for collaboration among multiple
supply chain participants.
TMS, a set of web-based transportation execution applications
aimed at automating shippers' core transportation processes and helping
them build private carrier portals.
Scorecard, a comprehensive logistics analytic and decision
support tool used to measure actual performance at the facility, enterprise
and supply chain levels.
Execution Optimizer, which provides dynamic, streaming
optimization of enterprise transportation and sourcing plans.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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