JDA FOCUS challenges attendees to think outside the silo

The first user conference since the JDA/RedPrairie merger sees record attendance.
By Josh Bond, Associate Editor
May 10, 2013 - MMH Editorial

The 2,600 primarily customer attendees at this year’s JDA FOCUS were looking for lots of things. They wanted to know how JDA’s acquisition of RedPrairie is going, four months later, and what it will mean to them. They wanted to learn about JDA eight, a cloud-based bundle of more than 30 supply chain software products built on a single platform. And they wanted to know how any one of those products – WMS, TMS, SCMP—might improve their businesses.

But according to Hamish Brewer, JDA’s CEO, they would do well to think beyond the individual benefits of each product.

“For most of you, there is more potential value in connecting nodes in your supply chain than in drilling down into any one silo,” said Hamish during his opening address to the audience on Day 1. “The consequence of siloed thinking is that if you have a problem in any one of them it will be relatively easy to fix it in that silo. But if you have a problem across three, it gets difficult very quickly.”

This sentiment is not so subtly hidden behind the release of JDA eight, which emphasizes the notion of convergence of software applications. Common platforms make each of the traditional software silos work better with one another, but that can be accomplished to some extent with any mixture of software, middleware, and IT infrastructure investment. The message at FOCUS this year is that there’s a better way to do business.

“We’re encouraging customers to stop talking about individual products at all, because that just reinforces the silos,” says Prashant Bhatia, vice president of industry strategy for JDA. “Instead, we should talk about roles and functions.”

For instance, what does a warehouse’s receiving supervisor need to know? He needs information from both the WMS and the TMS. What does an online commerce manager need to know?

Most best-of-breed WMS are ready out of the box to cater to a company’s siloed habits. The wealth of configuration options means customization, or one-off code written to suit a company’s homegrown processes, is rarely necessary or advisable. But that doesn’t mean the configuration options that have been standardized into core products are necessarily good for business either, says Tom Kozenski, marketing, JDA.

As software converges, it is more and more capable of being all things to all people. But a company might do well to shed some of the things it’s been doing. This is particularly evident in the multi-channel boom, says Kozenski, wherein a customer might have operated three distinct supply chains for each channel: wholesale, retail, and direct-to-consumer. The convergence of channels – the collapsing and combining of strategies for the movement of goods—is driving the convergence of software. A convergent TMS now needs to include long haul, fleet and parcel carrier options to serve all three, says Kozenski, in addition to relaying information smoothly to and from the WMS.

“Optimization is a funny word,” he says. “You can optimize a WMS. You can optimize a TMS. But if you optimize a platform that sits above them, it might be one plus one equals three. We love to pitch the platform approach [such as in JDA eight], but the customer buys by silo. They think the platform is interesting, but only as long as it solves the problem in the silo. For many of them, siloed behaviors, thinking and budgets are hard to get away from.”



About the Author

image
Josh Bond
Associate Editor

Josh Bond is an associate editor to Modern. Josh was formerly Modern’s lift truck columnist and contributing editor, has a degree in Journalism from Keene State College and has studied business management at Franklin Pierce.


Subscribe to Logistics Management magazine

Subscribe today. It's FREE!
Get timely insider information that you can use to better manage your
entire logistics operation.
Start your FREE subscription today!

Recent Entries

The Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) reported this week that U.S. trade with its North America Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) partners Canada and Mexico increased 4.4 percent from August 2013 to August 2014 at $100.6 billion.

As expected, global trade dipped from August to September but still saw annual gains, according to data issued this week by Panjiva, an online search engine with detailed information on global suppliers and manufacturers.

Transportation and logistics merger and acquisition (M&A) activity in the third quarter saw annual gains, which were driven by smaller deals in the trucking logistics, shipping, and passenger air sectors, according to data issued in the Intersections report by PwC this week.

With the holidays rapidly approaching, it appears retailers are not quite done getting inventory set up and on the shelves in time for what is expected to be a fairly active shopping season. That much was evident based on recent data for September volumes issued by the Port of Los Angeles (POLA) and the Port of Long Beach (POLB).

Join Industry Expert Adrian Gonzalez for this educational webinar on the tenets and the benefits of Closed-Loop Operational Management. You’ll learn how Closed-Loop Operational Management optimizes orders, inventory, and transportation concurrently, and how it is able to optimize large-scale problems on a daily basis.

About the Author

Josh Bond, Associate Editor
Josh Bond is an associate editor to Modern. Josh was formerly Modern’s lift truck columnist and contributing editor, has a degree in Journalism from Keene State College and has studied business management at Franklin Pierce. Contact Josh Bond

Comments

Post a comment
Commenting is not available in this channel entry.


© Copyright 2013 Peerless Media LLC, a division of EH Publishing, Inc • 111 Speen Street, Ste 200, Framingham, MA 01701 USA