sc digest
May 10, 2013 - Supply Chain Newsletter

This Week in SCDigest

bullet Trip Report: JDA Focus User Conference 2013
bullet SC Digest On-Target e-Magazine
bullet Supply Chain Graphic of the Week and Supply Chain by the Numbers bullet Holste's Blog/Distribution Digest
bullet Cartoon Caption Contest Continues This Week! bullet Trivia      bullet Feedback
bullet New Supply Chain By Design and Expert Insight bullet Upcoming Videocasts/On Demand Videocasts

Register Now for 2013 Global Supply Chain Summit

Market Leadership Conference on Governance, Risk and Compliance in Today's Global Supply Chain

  first thought


Supply Chain Graphic of the Week:

The Core Value of Inventory Optimization

Supply Chain by the Numbers for Week of May 10, 2013:

  • I/O Takes Inventory Away for Amway
  • HOS Countdown Clock
  • Death Toll Rises in Bangladesh
  • US, China Manufacturing Costs to Converge by 2015 - but India will Still be Well Below


April 30, 2013 Contest

See The Full-Sized Cartoon and Send In Your Entry Today!

Holste's Blog: Keep Your Developing Project Alive & On Course With A Little Help From Industry Providers


Market Leadership Conference on Governance, Risk and Compliance in Today's Global Supply Chain


Weekly On-Target Newsletter:
May 9, 2013 Edition

DC Metrics, Collab Transportation, 3PL's Green Experience and more


Four Steps for Thinking About An Optimization Problem

By Dr. Michael Watson


Adapting Big Data into Agile Supply Chain Planning

By Glen Margolis
Founder and Chief Executive Officer
Steelwedge Software


What important supply chain educational tool was invented at MIT in the early 1960s?

Answer Found at the Bottom of the Page


Trip Report: JDA Focus User Conference 2013

I'm back from the JDA Software user conference in Orlando, an event in a sense I have attended since 2003, our first year of SCDigest, when I attended the Manugistics conference that year, before JDA acquired "Manu" in 2006.

The event in a real sense is even more important this year than last, even after the JDA acquisition of i2 in early 2010, as the company late in 2012 closed its somewhat odd merger with RedPrairie. I say "somewhat odd" because it was RedPrairie's private equity owners New Mountain Capital that acquired the then public and about twice as large JDA and took it private late last year took it private.

But New Mountain decided to keep the JDA name, headquarters location, and most of its leadership team in control of key positions (including CEO Hamish Brewer). The now combined companies had 2012 revenues of about $1 billion - a substantial size for a supply chain software company.


"JDA continues to push the Cloud solutions approach it started championing at Focus 2012, and Brewer said in a media and analysts briefing that 36% of Q1 sales were Cloud-based deployments."


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Its conference is more important than ever now because the merger for the first time really created a company that combines planning/optimization solutions with so-called supply chain execution (RedPrairie) to deliver a comprehensive supply chain software suite, and because it has risen to quite a large scale in terms of size and the number of customers it has; thousands of companies now use JDA software, so a large percentage of SCDigest readers are affected by what JDA says and does.

I realize already here that I need about twice the space that I have to cover the JDA news from the conference, keynote and breakout session highlights, and some analysis and recommendations for JDA. Look for a part 2 next week.

The attendance was in the 2600-2700 range, a big number for this industry. I was told about 25% came from the former RedPrairie base.

RedPrairie had two tracks on the agenda (Warehouse Management and Workforce Management), and Brewer called out several areas where he sees real opportunity to gain leverage from the combined companies: (1) better WMS-TMS integration; and (2) integration of JDA's existing e-commerce/multi-channel solutions with RedPrairie's fulfillment solutions for a true end-to-end capability in this hot space.

The latter makes perfect sense, and the former is long overdue. Companies with both WMS and TMS, including RedPrairie itself, have struggled to really come up with a 1+1 = 3 proposition, which is why so few of them win both sides of the customer equation. Maybe JDA can crack the code.

If you smartly read between the lines there, what I said implies the JDA TMS (which is mostly the former i2 solution with some Manugistics capabilities added in) will be the go forward product, and RedPrairie's TMS gradually retired (with what a user told me is a pretty generous six-year support plan). But really that is ok, because the current JDA solution is frankly much broader and more functionally rich anyway.

Though announced a month ago, the conference was also sort of the coming out party for the news JDA eight software suite and platform. If not for the RedPrairie merger, this would have been the major theme of the conference, but because of it the new release had to share the main stage.

I will say this is a very impressive effort, putting more than 30 applications under a common platform, look and feel, adding a powerful workflow capability to tie it all together (coming from i2's technology in this area), overall technology enhancements (including an interesting hybrid in-memory processing approach), "in-line" analytics (the analytics come embedded right in the application workflow), and new applications, including something JDA calls Demand 360. That new solution enables demand planners to slice and dice data in new ways and stay connected to the original forecasts, steps which are often performed outside demand planning systems today.

There are this very good reasons why JDA eight was recently selected as an SCDigest cool new product of the month.

I think under-appreciated from attendees and analysts is that Brewer said JDA's broad portfolio of solutions will be organized into six "suites". Those are: retail planning; retail execution; all channel commerce; warehouse; transportation; and manufacturing and distribution planning.

As one consultant said to me at the conference, these will be the six "elevators" that will in the end determine which of all the combined JDA/Manu/i2/RedPrairie solutions make it to the go-forward solution set. Users should pay close attention to the detail here - these suites are where the investment will go.

JDA continues to push the Cloud solutions approach it started championing at Focus 2012, and Brewer said in a media and analysts briefing that 36% of Q1 sales were Cloud-based deployments. An executive for high-end blue jeans manufacturer True Religion made the smart observation in a panel session that it makes little sense for a fast growing company to get itself tangled up in hiring lots of IT staff and managing applications when it can have someone else take care of all that in the Cloud.

I am simply not going to have room to cover highlights of key sessions here. Since there was some excellent insight and case studies at Focus applicable to readers whether they are JDA customers or not, I am going to have to save those for next week. With what room I have left I will use to offer keynote presentations highlights and provide a few final thoughts for JDA.

Digital genius and inventor Ray Kurzweil gave a keynote presentation on what the real ramifications are for the never-ending exponential growth of information-based technologies. When the project to map the human genome was only 1% complete in 7 years, for example, "linear" thinkers fretted about the slow pace. Kurzweil instead said "Great, we're almost done." Sure enough, the whole project was complete another 7 years later (1, 2, 4, 8, 16, etc.).

Kurzweil says "3D digital printing" for physical items will explode over the next decade - and that I know will deliver huge threats and opportunities for companies and their supply chains. Companies must pay attention to this starting immediately. I mean it. Kurzweil says 3D printing will soon be able to produce apparel items, as just one example.

Peter Unanue, EVP of Hispanic food manufacturer Goya Foods, gave a strong testimony that while you may be able to go from small to mid-sized with a limited technology capability, to go from mid-size to large you need a very strong supply chain technology foundation. It is better to be early than late in that evolution, was the message, or else you will constrain growth in the end.

Walmart exec Gary Maxwell said that in international markets, honest assessment of a country's real buyer needs, maturity in terms of infrastructure and supply chain knowledge/talent, price points that need to be hit and more must dictate a company's logistics strategy. Too many companies entering emerging markets over-invest in technology and automation, adding costs that make it tough to hit the price points and which provide a low ROI, he said.

"Best in market, not best in class," summarizes this approach.

All told, a very good event. My thoughts for JDA:

While I think the RedPrairie community was clearly shown respect, it could have been offered a little more "love." My conversations indicated that many felt a bit like outsiders. That is to a certain extent inevitable under the circumstances, but I will say there is a difference between "here's how your solutions will be included in our roadmap" and "here is why you are important to us" - you need some of both and I am confident JDA will get there.

There is so much opportunity in the consumer goods to retail sector that JDA tends to forget a bit in its messaging about some of the many other sectors where it has customers, especially from the i2 base (high tech, other discrete manufacturing, 3PLs, and others - RedPrairie has a lot of these too). JDA should make a more consistent effort at these events to take big picture themes and say "and here's how this concept applies to the high tech sector," etc.

That advice and $5.00 will get you a cup of coffee at Starbucks. Excellent and important event overall, as usual.

Did you attend Focus 2013? What are your thoughts? Any comments on Gilmore's observations? Let us know your thoughts at the Feedback button (email) or section (web form) below.



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Upcoming May Videocast:

The 13 Keys to Retail Vendor Performance Management Success

Realizing the Potential to Improve Fill Rates, Lead Times and Accuracy and Power the Bottom Line

Featuring Camille Fratanduono, Assistant Vice President, Pricing, Inventory Planning and Analysis at Pep Boys and Greg Holder, CEO of Compliance Networks

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

New June Videocast :

The State of JDA eight

An Integrated Suite of More than 30 Supply Chain Planning and Execution Solutions, All Delivered in the Cloud

Featuring Danny Halim, Vice President, Manufacturing Industry Strategy at JDA, Charles Devenney, Director, Supply Chain Planning, Coca-Cola Bottling Co. Consolidated, Ron Ozment, Director, Supply Chain Strategy, H-E-B

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

On Demand Videocast:

End-to-End Optimization Uncovers True Drivers of Inventory Levels

Quantify Inventory Opportunities for Better Results, as Dr. David Simchi-Levi, Pepsico Case Study Will Show

Featuring David Simchi-Levi, a Professor of Engineering Systems at MIT and Chairman of OPS Rules and Laszlo Molnar, Sr. Director, Supply Chain at PepsiCo Worldwide Flavours

Now Available On Demand


Some good Feedback on our recent First Thoughts piece on Showdown at the US Energy Corral?, in which SCDigest editor Dan Gilmore predicts some real conflict will emerge soon between the forces in favor of aggressive domestic oil and especially natural gas production versus those - including some in the current administration - who are simply against all fossil fuels.

That includes our Feedback of the week from Kim LeTart of JDA Software, who says a balance can and should be found. More letters next week.

Feedback of the Week: On US Energy Show Down:


I agree with you that we ought to be pushing full ahead with oil and gas production in this country and we should not let politics put undue curbs on this. Unfortunately, we live in very divisive political times where everything has become subject to extreme political interpretation by both sides. Any hope of compromise is seen as weakness and any Congressman or Senator who even attempts to reach across the aisle is quickly shuffled out of office by his or her own party.

In the case of fracking, the environmentalists do have valid concerns about potential effects which should be further studied. And we must be concerned about greenhouse gas effects from carbon fuels for the sake of our children and grandchildren. But the two sides do not have to be mutually exclusive. We can continue to explore energy independence from both fossil fuel and natural sources concurrently. The dream of a totally fossil fuel free energy environment is a good one we should continue to pursue, but it will not occur in our lifetimes and should not prevent us from exploiting the resources we have at our disposal today. If we realize how unproductive the current divisiveness is and start compromising again, in and out of politics, we can accomplish both.

Jim LeTart
Sr. Manager, Marketing
JDA Software

  More On Energy Show Down:  

Great article on energy issues and opportunities. In my opinion, there will not be a showdown between environmentalists and people in favor of using and expanding non-conventional oil and gas. I think you will see environmental forces continue to question individual programs such as the Keystone pipeline as they come up. And we probably need someone keeping industry honest about environmental risks, remember the BP oil spill. Interestingly, a case can be made for more natural gas pipelines vs. Keystone, but I would predict that Keystone will get approval.

It is exciting to think that we can significantly reduce our dependence on imported oil and, as Dan points out, this has great benefit to the long term prospects for the U.S. economy. However, I think that we need to continue to invest in renewables for the future, they represent the best way to reduce the amount of pollutants that even natural gas puts into the atmosphere.

Herb Shields
HCS Consulting


Great article! I knew the gas market was low, but the comparison to other markets was excellent.

Trevor Pinto


Thought you would find this interesting. Read it at lunch just before your column.

Apparently we are not the only country with an abundance of natural gas.

Kevin McCarthy
Director Consulting Services
C. H. Robinson Worldwide, Inc.




Q: What important supply chain educational tool was invented at MIT in the early 1960s?

A: The Beer Game – still very popular today.

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