With supply chain execution priorities in mind, enablers in this market that have added event management and portal capabilities also benefit as enterprises move to extended SCM, according to The Yankee Group. Synchronizing fulfillment across multiple entities requires newer releases of supply chain execution software. Enablers such as Manugistics, Manhattan Associates, RedPrairie, Optum, WebPlan and Provia Software should enjoy higher upgrade rates within their customer base than execution enablers that cannot support extended supply chain execution.
The analysts also continue to highlight the efforts in supply chain communication and B2B integration. As critical organizational partners in a competitive supply chain form tighter and broader electronic relationships, the volume and frequency of data and transactions only increase. This brings integration enablers into the mix with effective enterprise net connector solutions. Sterling Commerce, Cyclone Commerce and Transentric are the enablers positioned to satisfy an enterprise's supply chain communication and B2B integration.
According to the analysts, warehouse management system (WMS) enablers continue to be dominated by a shrinking list of best-of-breed solutions. Players most often cited with the strongest positions are Manhattan Associates, Red Prairie, HighJump and Provia. But SSA Global (mainly because of its recent acquisition of EXE), Irista, Redpoint Systems, KNAPP Software, Lilly Software and Logility have certainly carved a niche in this area of fulfillment and logistics. With WMS market contraction really starting in 2002, such consolidation will continue "with the strong becoming stronger and the weak being either acquired (e.g., SSA acquisition of EXE, Epicor acquisition of TDC Solutions) or forced to downsize for survival on maintenance revenues (e.g., Optum, Ann Arbor)," explains Klappich.
By 2007, he predicts the ERP players will dominate the WMS market for companies that have crafted strategies to more tightly manage process flows that span the entire fulfillment and production lifecycle. "And though market dominance will shift from best-of-breed to ERP WMS, the heterogeneous nature of many companies and the continued trend toward logistics outsourcing will continue to demand standalone WMS, which will become a lifesaver for the few best-of-breed WMS vendors that survive."
Pure fulfillment plays, such as Optum, Yantra and Demand Management (recently acquired by Logility), continue to stand out, and visibility players like Escalate and Viewlocity continue to command attention.
Pure transportation management services (TMS) continue to be the domain of the best-of-breed, but the analysts expect ERP players to eventually take more of a foothold here, too. In the meantime, G-Log, i2, Manugistics, Schneider Logistics, Americas Systems, Avnet Supply Chain Services and Tramco get the most mention in the market in this area, with global trade management (GTM) still dominated by Vastera.
And don't forget inventory optimization. Best-of-breed players in this arena include Optian, SmartOps, Prescient and Elogex.
Though our New England homeowner might be at a standstill while he awaits the arrival of his runner for his stairway, fulfillment and logistics are not. Events in this space keep moving forward. Fulfillment and logistics enablers will continue to reinvent themselves in a way that allows them to more effectively respond to customer demand like process-oriented transportation solutions and global logistics support. Recent acquisitions indicate that the shakeout in the logistics market is poised to further accelerate. And with continuing interest in RFID, globalization and transportation security issues, analysts will have plenty to talk about for some time to come.
About the author: Murphree has 14+ years experience as a journalist reporting about Fortune 500 companies' supply and demand chain management endeavors. As former editor-in-chief for Supply & Demand Chain Executive, she was responsible for developing and managing editorial content that helped the magazine gain national recognition as the "go to" source for key business issues relating to sourcing, procurement, operations and demand management.
As President and Founder of Speak Easy, Murphree travels all over the country advocating and promoting the value of supply and demand chain management for today's enterprises.