McVey - May 11, 2000
NeoModal is a new competitor in the B2B collaborative landscape with a
novel portfolio of applications that help participants in global transportation
networks minimize costs and make best use of resources.
Scheduled for completion in the next few weeks, its application suite
will include NeoContract, NeoCargo, NeoStatus, NeoYield, and NeoMarket.
The first four are being developed in-house while the last, an integrated
logistics Internet marketplace uses the recently acquired eRateRequest.com.
The products are currently under beta test by development partners and
NeoModal expects to make a formal launch in July 2000.
NeoModal has made the right decisions in setting up its new venture. Although
a newcomer to the supply chain management world, NeoModal boasts an experienced
management team led by Richard "Dick" Murphy, a 32-year veteran of the
ocean carrier industry. Murphy brings a hands-on understanding of the
global logistics business from his tenure as an executive with Sea-Land
Service, Inc., which pioneered ocean cargo containerization in the mid
1950s. Sea-Land was acquired by A. P. Moller, holding company for Denmark-based
shipper Maersk Line, in December 1999.
Another factor that will improve NeoModal's prospects for success is its
ASP delivery model. Unlike established supply chain management vendors
that are struggling to squeeze existing applications into Internet browsers,
NeoModal has built its applications from the ground up to operate in a
web environment. In so doing it avoids the costly business model transition
from traditional application installation to web deployment, which carries
drastic consequences for an organization and its revenue model.
third factor in its favor, NeoModal has composed its suite by selecting
components that complement each other well and address critical areas
of global logistics. A key part of the suite is NeoYield, which evaluates
how attractive an operation is based on asset utilization and can guide
users to the configuration that results in the best cost savings. NeoYield
uses strategic information from other parts of the suite to allow carriers
to explore different combinations of outbound and return portions, considering
both ocean and inland components, for choosing the lowest cost option.
While there is no clear leader in the global logistics software market,
NeoModal's offering will undoubtedly place it in competition with companies
like Tradiant, GoCargo, and Descartes Systems Group. NeoModal has selected
the right combination of functionality and this will give it an edge over
many of the other players.
As a new entrant in the supply chain management market, NeoModal lacks
an operating history, a live product, and production client base. At a
result, few meaningful recommendations can be made. Users should watch
for future announcements from NeoModal and stay abreast of global logistics
developments among ERP and SCM software vendors as well as third party
ASPs, all of which are potential NeoModal partners.
engaged in global logistics operations involving ocean container carriers
should evaluate NeoModal as an option among other vendors later this year
when its suite becomes generally available. Users should also request
client references from among NeoModal's development partners, the shippers,
intermediaries, and carriers that are beta testing the software and focus
their questions on application stability and depth of functionality -
two areas where new products tend to fall down.