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Supply Chain Matters Interviews Joe Shamir- CEO of ToolsGroup

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While attending the recent Gartner Supply Chain Executive Conference in Phoenix, Supply Chain Matters had the opportunity to sit–down and catch-up with some CEO’s of supply chain software and services providers.  One distinct opportunity was a conversation with Joseph Shamir, CEO of supply chain planning and analytics software provider ToolsGroup.

This author has known Joe Shamir for quite some time, dating back to my days as an industry analyst at AMR Research (now absorbed into Gartner) focused on the supply chain technology market.  At the time, ToolsGroup was a start-up in the midst of making a stronger market presence with a core mission for supporting distribution and customer-centric supply chain planning needs. Briefings with Joe Shamir were often dynamic and quite interactive.

Joe is a colorful and knowledgeable figure in supply chain planning and he has not at all been bashful in sharing views related to planning practices, especially when it relates to leveraging granular data in planning practices.  I mention this specific history because he was, by my recollection, one of the strongest advocates for item-level and demand sensing practices. He has been and continues to be an advocate in the critical importance of a singular planning model to insure scalability and responsiveness in supply chain planning.

Much later, when this author was leading IDC’s supply chain management research, Joe would reference ToolsGroup efforts at Colgate Palmolive, augmenting existing SAP applications and addressing the need for supply chain planners to not over react to events. His passion was in letting the “system” plan requirements based on demonstrated fulfillment or promotional patterns of product demand. His belief was that planners needed to shielded from the day-to-day “noise” of events.

In our interview, I especially wanted Joe to reflect on his prior beliefs and where supply chain planning has morphed to become in the current era of supporting online and omni-channel customer fulfillment. Indeed with the advent of today’s online customer fulfillment needs, more and more distribution sensitive supply chain are now moving toward greater levels of item-level planning, network balancing and what ToolsGroup currently articulates as Predictive Commerce. The clock speed of business has dramatically changed.

Joe acknowledged that perhaps his thinking was ahead of the market, but indeed many of his beliefs have come to the fore.  However, Joe was quick to caution that from his observations, change management and talent management issues still remain to be overcome in addressing the changing needs and requirements of supply chain planning.  This especially relates to broader leverage of demand analytics and indeed, application of more predictive analytics applied to supply chain planning. The role of planner has become more strategic and skill requirements need to catch-up.

Shamir is especially excited about last week’s announced release of a new ToolsGroup simulation tool termed Instant Replay, an application that allows users to retrospectively analyze demand, inventory, supply and service events to ascertain how specific past events relate to key performance indicator (KPI) achievement. According to its announcement, the analogy of this application is one described as a ‘golf swing analyzer” for supply chain planning professionals in determining what actually happened, what should have happened based on the plan, with optimized recommendations as to what to address in subsequent planning. His analogy is one of “fly by wire” planning.

After last week’s interview it is indeed clear to this author that rather than resting on either the belief or laurels that what he predicted for distribution sensitive supply chain planning has indeed arrived, Joe Shamir will continue with his passion toward describing the next set of challenges while positioning his firm to be in the forefront of supporting said challenges with innovative technology. As he often describes, there is little time to rest.

Bob Ferrari

Disclosure: ToolsGroup is a current client of the Ferrari Consulting and Research group.


Intrigo Systems Cited by Gartner as a Cool Vendor

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About a year ago, Supply Chain Matters provided our readers a perspective on specialized SAP focused systems integrator firm Intrigo Systems, and how that firm was helping to accelerate value for existing SAP APO customers. We experienced quite a lot of reader interest and uptake on our commentary. In the specific area of broader SAP APO adoption and business value, Intrigo has been deploying its Optek tool suite for SAP APO planning needs since 2009.  The suite consists of modules designed to place the planner more in control of the process while making SAP APO functionally more effective.

At the recent Gartner Supply Chain Executive Conference, we managed to catch-up with Intrigo CEO Padman Ramunkutty, a colorful and well known recognized SAP APO expert. In full disclosure, this Editor has known Padman for many years and I value his perspectives on supply chain planning and software technology trends.  In fact, during a networking break at the conference, we managed to simultaneously speak with not only Padman, but also Sanjiv Sidhu, past founder of the former i2 Technologies, and now Chairmen and Co-founder of 09 Solutions. Indeed, two icons of supply chain planning with enormous perspectives of how planning software has progressed.

In our conversation, Padman reminded this Editor that in addition to our Supply Chain Matters recognition of Optek’s value over a year ago, Gartner has recently recognized Intrigo as a “Cool Vendor” in Supply Chain Planning for 2015, specifically citing Optek as an extension for SAP APO as an means for leveraging value for existing investments.  In a March 31 Gartner report, key findings included the following: “Supply chain leaders need to find ways of leveraging their existing investments in their quest to improve supply chain performance.”

Thus, we are pleased that Gartner has now also recognized Intrigo Systems as a “Cool Vendor”.

Bob Ferrari


Gartner Reports Robust Growth in 2014 Worldwide Supply Chain Management and Procurement Software Revenues

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In conjunction with its Supply Chain Executive Conference held this week, industry analyst firm Gartner reaffirmed a rather robust year of nearly 11 percent growth for supply chain and procurement software during 2014. Gartner estimated total revenues for SCM and procurement software to be $9.9 billion last year, outpacing other software market segments. The 2014 sizing of $9.9 billion reflects a nearly $1 billion increase from the Gartner $8.9 billion number reported for 2013 performance. The current 10.8 percent growth rate compares to the 7.3 percent growth reported for 2013. The fact that the pace increased by 3.5 percentage points is by our Supply Chain Matters lens, a reflection of a stepped-up emphasis in supply chain business and procurement process support needs.

Gartner again confirmed the overall fragmentation of this market segment which has continued by this author’s perspective, for the past 15 years. The top 10 vendors currently account for 55 percent of total market share, while the remaining 57 vendors tracked by Gartner account for the remaining share of the overall market. Gartner further reports that the average growth rate for remaining 57 vendors averaged nearly 10 percent, which is again, a very healthy growth performance.

As in the past, SAP and Oracle are again reported as the overall leaders of this market segment, followed by JDA Software (current Supply Chain Matters sponsor), Manhattan Associates and Epicor rounding out the top five revenue listing. We caution our readers to not be totally enamored by the SCM and procurement revenue numbers reported by both SAP and oracle since they are often internal estimates that are generated by each of these ERP providers vying for number one bragging rights. Neither reports such breakouts in their official financial reports to the investment community.

Double digit growth for this particular software segment is not at all unusual and reflects the continued importance that industry firms place on investing in supply chain capabilities. The most recent peak was in 2011 with a 12.2 percent growth rate. In its announcement, Gartner stated that: “The SCM and procurement software market experienced solid growth through sustained application demand, as supply chain remains a key source of competitive advantage in driving business growth objectives, such as improved customer satisfaction, greater business agility and operational improvements.” That statement seems understated.

From our discussions, client interactions and travels, we believe that the overwhelming complexity that is now impacting multiple manufacturing, retail and service focused industry supply chains has prompted needs for added technology support.

Bob Ferrari

Disclosure: JDA Software is one of other sponsors of the Supply Chain Matters blog.


Supply Chain Matters Summary Impressions: JDA Software FOCUS 2015 Conference

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Last week, Supply Chain Matters attended the JDA Software FOCUS 2015 conference in Orlando Florida providing a number of live update commentaries regarding this conference. In this final commentary related to this year’s FOCUS, we provide our summary impressions.

To view our prior observations and commentaries, please click on the below links:

Update One- Day One Keynote Impressions

Update Two- Day One Afternoon Sessions and JDA Cloud Strategy

Update Three- Day Two Customer Keynote Sessions

Update Four- Conference Awards and Announcements

 

In our view and in the view of others we spoke with, this was a far different JDA conference, one presenting a much broader cross-industry focus, a more succinct strategic agenda for customers and a less arrogant tone. For industry analysts such as this author, the sessions were far more open without restrictions and JDA executives were more open and willing to discuss strategic direction. It was fitting that the conference represented the 30th anniversary for JDA as a software firm.

As noted in our initial commentary, we were especially honed-in on the opening welcome address from JDA’s Chairmen and CEO, Bal Dail who outlined a three point strategy for JDA that included its plans to deliver for existing customers, continued corporate investments in technology and in partnerships. From the podium, he acknowledged that in the past, JDA had not especially listened to customers.  He also acknowledged a culture of past arrogance in the persona of JDA.  There were messages related to commitments for responding to customer needs for advanced technology, much broader partnerships with other providers, including the announcement of a new partnership with Google and the Google Cloud Platform for cloud services. Further emphasized was the ongoing partnership with IBM in Retail industry intelligent fulfillment needs.

We were further impressed with our 1-1 interviews with Jean-Francois Gagne, Chief Innovation Officer, Razat Gaurav, Executive Vice President, Global Industries, Fab Brasca, Vice President, Solution Strategy, Global Industries.  As a reference, Gagne arrived at JDA with the acquisition of Red Prairie while Gaurav and Brasca in a long-time veterans. We touched upon a number of technology strategy and industry adoption topics and this author came away with even more reinforcement that JDA is indeed far more focused and aligned toward bringing more leading-edge technologies to its various industry customers. The takeaway for our readers is that JDA is far more focused on leading-edge cloud development and that should pay dividends in time-to-value down the road.

The day two customer keynote theme was important and powerful, especially since it featured PepsiCo’s supply chain transformation journey that dates back to the early nineties and including the former Manugistics and i2 Technologies technology applications. The relationship of PepsiCo with JDA technology is a 20 year legacy, which is somewhat extraordinary in the supply chain best-of-breed technology industry. That was the missing reinforcement that JDA supports manufacturing and distribution intensive supply chains, in addition to retail.

This year’s FOCUS indeed included a special emphasis on the needs to support Omni-channel customer fulfillment needs, especially the various aspects of JDA’s Intelligent Fulfillment and JDA’s Flowcasting applications. Suffice to indicate that we were impressed by the depth of functionality.

We were also updated on the progress of JDA’s partnership with IBM to address the needs to process and fulfill retail industry Omni-channel orders. The partnership calls for combining the elements of JDA’s warehouse management, demand and workforce planning support capabilities with IBM’s Sterling Distributed Order Management network platform. JDA communicated to conference attendees that the initial release of this functionality will become available in June.

That was indeed a rewarding conference and it reminded those several years past where a broad variety of customer, industry and vendor specific supply chain management business process and IT focused topics were presented, discussed and talked about among attendees.

Bob Ferrari

Disclosure: JDA Software is one of other sponsors of the Supply Chain Matters© blog.


Supply Chain Matters Update Four- JDA Software FOCUS 2015 Conference

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Supply Chain Matters pens this commentary from JDA Software’s FOCUS 2015 conference wrapping up today in Orlando Florida. To view our prior observations and commentaries, please click on the below:

Update One

Update Two

Update Three

 

For the past ten years, in conjunction with the FOCUS customer conference, JDA’s Real Results Awards recognizes noteworthy customer demonstrations of innovation and business process excellence among six categories. The winners announced this year were:

Best Cost Savings- Edwards Lifesciences who decreased inventory by 13 percent and reduced its global expedited logistics costs by $2.8 million from 2011-2013. This customer presented its experiences during yesterday’s customer keynote sessions.

Best Partner Project- El Palacio de Heirro for its partnership with netLogistiK, a JDA alliance member to transform outdated infrastructure into a modern and robust WMS platform.

Best Collaboration- Fiat Chrysler Automobiles for improved collaboration between commercial and manufacturing teams for production planning and scheduling processes, enabling the identification of capacity issues earlier in the process, and improvements in order-to-delivery processes.

Best Result in Retail- Grupo Marti for automating its retail sports equipment replenishment processes through more accurate forecasting, factoring seasonality and sales promotional programs, while substantially improving inventory management and retail store replenishment.

Best Time to Value- Kenco for its joint efforts with JDA Consulting Services in going live with a specific 3PL customer’s JDA Warehouse Management System in just nine months, achieving full productivity within two weeks from go-live.

Best Result in Manufacturing- Tyco in its leveraged use of warehouse management applications to automate and standardize its distribution centers resulting in 36 percent reductions in warehousing costs at installed locations while dramatically improving lines shipped per hour.

Supply Chain Matters echoes our well-done and congratulations to the implementation teams representing each of these award winners. For further details regarding each of these awards, our readers can review the JDA press release related to the 2015 Real Results awards.

This year’s FOCUS indeed included a special emphasis on the needs to support Omni-channel customer fulfillment needs, especially the various aspects of JDA’s Intelligent Fulfillment and JDA’s Flowcasting applications. This year’s FOCUS included the unveiling of new capabilities to the JDA Intelligent Fulfillment and Transportation portfolios, including more granular, warehouse aware item definitions to improve load building, support for dynamic shipment splitting and prioritization, as well as other enhancements to integrated fleet and transportation management. This author had the opportunity to view sessions on each of these applications and will provide separate impressions commentaries at a later date.

Suffice to indicate that we were impressed by the depth of functionality.

We were also updated on the progress of JDA’s partnership with IBM to address the needs to process and fulfill retail industry Omni-channel orders. The partnership calls for combining the elements of JDA’s warehouse management, demand and workforce planning support capabilities with IBM’s Sterling Distributed Order Management network platform. JDA communicated to conference attendees that the initial release of this functionality will become available in June.

In our final commentary, we will summarize our overall impressions and takeaways from FOCUS 2015.

Bob Ferrari

Disclosure: JDA Software is one of other sponsors of the Supply Chain Matters© blog.


Supply Chain Matters Update Three- JDA Software FOCUS 2015 Conference

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Supply Chain Matters pens this commentary from JDA Software’s FOCUS 2015 conference being held this week in Orlando Florida. In our previous two dispatches, we updated readers on the day one opening keynote sessions and on our impressions of JDA’s technology direction.

Our perceptions of JDA’s past FOCUS events included an observation that despite its Manugistics and i2 Technologies roots in supporting the supply chain technology needs for both discrete and process focused industries, there appeared to be more concentrated amount of customer messaging directed at retail industry needs. With the new challenges brought about by Omni-channel customer fulfillment needs, the challenges of retail industry are indeed prominent. But, industry supply chains are infinity connected together, as industries such as consumer packaged goods, consumer electronics and others are far more focused on customer centricity.

Day two of this year’s FOCUS keynotes featured a customer theme. Presenters included senior supply chain executives from Edwards Lifesciences and PepsiCo.

This author has long admired PepsiCo’s supply chain capabilities, and candidly, has not garnered the recognition that it deserves. PepsiCo and specifically the Frito-Lay group have led the way in Direct Store Delivery (DSD) and packaged product promotional PepsiCo presentation at JDA FOCUS 2015support programs that custom assemble and deliver end-of-aisles promotional product. This morning, Rich Beck, Senior Vice President of PepsiCo Global Operations addressed the timeline of PepsiCo’s supply chain transformation journey that dates back to the early nineties that includes former Manugistics and i2 Technologies and other applications. Under Beck’s leadership, transformational efforts have accelerated. Interesting enough, the relationship with JDA technology is a 20 year legacy, which is somewhat extraordinary in the supply chain best-of-breed technology industry.

Transformation is continuous and moving forward. Pepsico’s supply chain teams are now focused on the next phase, which includes an emphasis on device mobility in all supply chain applications, further adoption of cloud-based delivery IT infrastructure along with leveraged use of Internet of Things (IoT) technology in connecting manufacturing with the supply chain. There was additional mention of piloting a virtual control center environment allowing teams to remotely monitor and adjust manufacturing volumes based on product demand. Each of these broad initiatives is directed at five specific business priorities, including product innovation, enhanced execution and driving additional cash returns. Once more, environmental sustainability remains an important dimension and includes elements of clean water, zero landfill usage, innovative packaging, sustainable agriculture and other initiatives.

We extend a Supply Chain Matters Tip of the Hat to Pepsico’s extended supply chain Supply Chain Matters Tip of the Hat Awardteam for their extraordinary and continuous transformational efforts along with demonstrating that advanced technology, social and environmental responsibility can make a difference in supply chain business process capabilities.

Kudo’s to this year’s JDA FOCUS planning team for featuring a customer keynote that demonstrates the notions of a food, beverage, snacks and agricultural producer, a customer-centric driven supply chain with direct interactions and collaboration with various retail supply chains.

In our remaining commentaries related to this year’s FOCUS conference, we will highlight major announcements and other observations.

Stay tuned.

 

Bob Ferrari

Disclosure: JDA Software is one of other sponsors of the Supply Chain Matters blog.


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