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JDA moves forward with next steps of its product roadmap

By Jeff Berman, Group News Editor
May 02, 2011

JDA Software Inc., a provider of demand chain technology services, announced today that it has released JDA Transportation & Logistics Management 6.3.4, which company officials said is the “second phase” of its post i2 acquisition transportation and logistics product roadmap integration plan rolled out in April 2010.

This new offering focuses on freight order management capabilities convergence, which JDA said help shippers, carriers, and third-party logistics providers to manage multi-modal logistics network complexities through freight order management and inbound visibility convergence, coupled with functionality to drive integrated supply chain planning and execution.

As reported in LM last December, JDA introduced the first phase, JDA Logistics Procurement, which leverages products developed by i2 and Manugistics, whom JDA acquired in July 2006, in conjunction with products developed through JDA’s Transportation and Logistics Management platform, which, in total, provide shippers, carriers, and 3PLs “with a comprehensive planning and execution platform…to more effectively manage the complexities of a multi-modal logistics network.”

The objective of JDA Logistics Procurement was to allow for a collaborative environment between shippers and carriers to negotiate network rates. And the discrete nature of this offering is two-fold: one part being the ability to different rate constructs across geographies and the other part being able to fine-tune capabilities by mode, with respect to individual rate characteristics for each mode.

“This release has a set of capabilities designed around bridging the gap between order management and transportation management,” said Fabrizio Brasca, JDA vice president, global logistics, in an interview.

As an example of where this is applicable, Brasca cited inbound transportation, where processes are often challenged because shippers that may own the process lack visibility into things like inventory availability or how things are going to be staged or released as a purchase order, which can make planning and taking advantage of a scale of transportation difficult.

But this release, he said, allows shippers and their suppliers to collaborate at a PO level and suppliers and vendors to collaborate and identify material availability, package availability and have a “trigger” in the transportation planning process.

“In addition to delivering against our convergence plan, we also investing heavily in the platform as a whole,” said Brasca. “We are continuing to invest in new net functionality. Not only is JDA bringing together these two rich and robust transportation solutions together into this super-set…we are focusing on being thought leaders for both facets of the industry.”

JDA Transportation & Logistics Management 6.3.4 is comprised of various feature functionalities.

The first one is the ability to model fixed routes to take advantage of changes within the supply chain as they occur so if there is an opportunity to improve a fixed route for a shipper or add to it based on near-term changes, it can be specifically modeled as well as take advantage to opportunistically improve upon or leverage any changes within a route.

Another area centers on transportation value for parcel shippers, whether parcel is their primary mode or just a portion of their business.

“Parcel has some peculiarity and complexity particularly around the rating mechanisms involved…making it challenging for TMS providers to accommodate that mode very well,” said Brasca. “As a result, most TMS’s have had to rely on partners to accommodate this mode, and the negative value of that is it forces you to separate it out to make sure certain orders go by that mode and separate it out from overall workflows and look for things like modal shift opportunities that may exist between modes like parcel and truckload.”

For things like this Brasca said JDA has embedded within its rating model in its core TMS the ability to rate single versus multi-piece shipments and other parcel-related characteristics to effectively model parcel as a mode within a TMS. This is done by taking rates from parcel service providers and uploading them directly into the JDA solution. This eliminates the need to rely on a partner to accommodate workflows and take advantage of JDA’s optimization technologies to look holistically into a network for modal shifting opportunities and things like zone-skipping that involve hub movements.

Two other feature functionalities in this new release are dock scheduling and slot booking.

Brasca said JDA has a long history of modeling dock-level constraints as part of its overall optimization along with modeling different types of inbound and outbound docks, commodities being moved on these docks, and if they are scheduled by commodity or equipment type.

“There is quite a specific amount of granularity so when we run our optimization there is consideration down to that level of detail,” said Brasca. “A few years ago…we started to take those dock plans and render them into the TMS so shippers could interact with those plans and re-schedule them or make changes based upon things that happen in the execution world. This release continues to refine that and extend that to the broader transportation chain, and, in particular, extend it out to the carrier community so they can interact with the dock schedule in a very granular way and be able to do direct appointment booking right into the dock schedule and within the constraints and boundaries of how the optimization plan is put together, which is important because you don’t want your carriers coming in and ripping apart what you put together as an optimized network plan.”

The new offering also includes freight audit functionality which JDA said mitigates the costs associated with deviating from a dedicated carrier list in the open market with a freight auction portal. This portal, in turn, said JDA, creates a private, controlled method of covering loads by automatically routing declined loads into a “mini-marketplace,” where approved carriers can bid in a contained environment for those loads.

Brasca said these bids can also be tendered out to a broader network to carriers shippers do not have established contracts with but may have some sort of relationship as a pre-approved or tertiary carriers, which mitigates this risk of service levels they provide.

In JDA’s first quarter earnings call last week, CEO Hamish Brewer said that there’s little doubt in my mind that the recent recession has brought the need for superior supply chain execution firmly into focus for most companies in its target market.
As we integrate the JDA and i2 suites of products together into one seamless offering, a process which will be substantially complete by the end of 2012, this integration will yield transformational capabilities for manufacturers, distributors and retailers everywhere,” said Brewer.

For related stories, please click here.

About the Author

Jeff Berman headshot
Jeff Berman
Group News Editor

Jeff Berman is Group News Editor for Logistics Management, Modern Materials Handling, and Supply Chain Management Review. Jeff works and lives in Cape Elizabeth, Maine, where he covers all aspects of the supply chain, logistics, freight transportation, and materials handling sectors on a daily basis. .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

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