Manhattan Associates Wrap-up

Rolls out extended supply chain execution strategy, announces alliance

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New York  January 15, 2002  Manhattan Associates this week rolled out its Extended Supply Chain Execution (x-SCE) strategy, wrapping up the provider's supply chain execution solutions into a single platform.

The provider made the announcement at the National Retail Federation Annual Convention and Expo in New York this week.

Manhattan Associates said the x-SCE solutions will help reduce order turnaround time, decrease labor expenses, improve inventory velocity, increase order accuracy and reduce transportation costs. The provider asserts that such efficiencies are becoming increasingly critical because customers are requiring more stock-keeping unit (SKU) variety, more packaging versions and new levels of order personalization.

At the same time, companies are placing further stress on their supply chain operations by opening new sales channels; outsourcing to third parties; increasing globalization by moving production to offshore factories and entering foreign markets; and implementing advanced planning systems. With demands mounting and executives recognizing the potential for enhanced profitability, supply chain execution has moved from a tactical necessity to a key component of a company's overall strategy, Manhattan Associates asserts.

"Quite simply, executives now realize that the inability to successfully ship product into new markets and new channels (of distribution) can have a negative impact on their top line," said Steve Banker, director of supply chain solutions at consulting firm ARC Advisory Group. "They also recognize the enormous savings that results when the supply chain is operating efficiently."

"By increasing efficiencies and supporting profit-generating opportunities both within and beyond the four walls of the enterprise, companies can work towards achieving operational excellence, which creates a true competitive advantage," said Deepak Raghavan, senior vice president for products and strategy at Manhattan Associates.

Manhattan Associates' suite of x-SCE solutions includes components called Fulfill, Deliver, Optimize and Collaborate. The components address aspects of supply chain collaboration, execution and optimization.

Real-time collaboration involves the synchronization of key processes and their associated information flows across the extended supply chain. This collaboration includes customer process synchronization, including trading partner personalization, supplier process enablement, carrier compliance and communication, global inventory visibility and supply chain event management. Collectively, this functionality is aimed at creating a "self-healing" supply chain through the use of intelligent response during execution processes like allocating inventory, receiving, picking, packing, shipping and returning of goods.

The execution component addresses the physical processes that take place in and around a warehouse or distribution center (DC). The software provides a scalable supply chain execution system to handle increasing numbers of SKUs and the increased order volume and associated complexities of order fulfillment.

Real-time optimization solutions use tools and techniques to improve the efficiency of DC operations. Optimization solutions use either rules-based or algorithm-based models to solve problems that are too complex, too dynamic or too time consuming for manual processing. They include aspects of business intelligence, facility optimization, labor optimization and event processing. Manhattan Associates said that by applying optimization to many DC processes, companies can see immediate results in terms of reducing costs, increasing fill rates and improving customer service levels.

Also this week, Manhattan Associates said it had added enhanced yard management functionality to augment PkMS, the company's supply chain execution solution. The new functionality allows users to manage inventory and orders even before the formal receiving process begins at the dock door.

In addition, Manhattan Associates announced an alliance with JDA Software, which providers software for the retail demand chain, to work with mutual clients to develop, maintain and support a standard tool set to ensure ease of integration between the two companies' solutions.