Manugistics Supply Chain Management

Supply Chain
Manugistics has built an extensive set of APIs to exchange data among its own modules -- the points at which the Manugistics SCM suite can be linked to existing ERP (enterprise resource planning) or CRM systems.

Manugistics is one of the top vendors to beat in the supply chain automation space, according to many industry experts, including Deloitte Consulting’s Mark Peacock, who told CRM Buyer Magazine that Manugistics has remained true to its original client base. “They’ve got good traction with baseline manufacturers,” he noted. “They’re not trying to do anything sexy, but they do good, solid blocking and tackling with supply chain automation.”

In addition to manufacturing, Manugistics currently offers between 10 and 15 vertical applications, depending on how one categorizes industries. They include aerospace and defense; apparel, footwear and textiles; automotive; chemicals; consumer packaged goods; communications and high-tech; energy; financial services; food and agriculture; government; life sciences; retail; transportation; and utilities.

Manugistics’ SCM (supply chain management) suite — part of the Manugistics 7 offering released in May of this year — currently consists of network design and optimization, manufacturing planning and scheduling, sales and operations planning, fulfillment management, collaborative VMI (vendor-managed inventory) and CPFR (collaborative planning, forecasting and replenishment) modules. The company also offers iHub, a private trading network platform.

Expanding into CRM?

One pressing question in the supply chain market is how far vendors will move toward customer-facing functions. Will supply chain vendors make a play for traditional CRM processes?

If Manugistics were to make a move toward the front office, it would be “starting from a position that makes sense,” Peacock said. “This is a logical extension of their suites. They would be growing through the budding theory — growing an additional tendril as opposed to throwing spores all over the place.”

According to Lori Mitchell-Keller, Manugistics senior vice president of strategy, the answer to whether Manugistics is creeping toward CRM is both yes and no. “We will not do sales force automation, and we will not do call center management,” she told CRM Buyer. “But there are pieces of CRM that are decision support, and CRM vendors haven’t exploited this area.”

The Whole Enchilada

Mitchell-Keller said that Manugistics customers typically do not mix and match supply chain modules in an implementation, so inter-vendor integration is not a high priority. “Typically, the work that a user would do with Manugistics software would [involve] mostly Manugistics capabilities,” she explained.

The company may be feeling a backlash against very large projects, though. Vice president of corporate communications DiDi Blackwood told CRM Buyer that license fees for an average customer win have dropped from about US$1 million to $850,000.

Still, the company has built an extensive set of APIs (application programming interfaces)to exchange data among its own modules — the points at which the Manugistics SCM suite can be linked to existing ERP (enterprise resource planning) or CRM systems. As an example, she cited a manager planning a promotion that required several hundred cases of a product to be discounted. “Through a portlet,” she explained, “we can provide the capability for that user to jump out and see if the ERP system posted a purchase order.”

Down the Java Path

Mitchell-Keller said that in the war between Microsoft’s .NET and the industry alliance of Java-loyal vendors, Manugistics is “certainly down the Java path.” She speculated that at some point, the two sets of standards might merge. But clients are not asking Manugistics for .NET-based software.

“They are asking us for the standards,” she said.

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