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Key Trends in WMS and Supply Chain Execution Technology

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 Where are SCE Vendors Investing in Innovation? Platform Concept Really is Starting to Take Hold

What's new in Warehouse Management Systems and related supply chain execution technology (SCE)?

Here is Part 2 of an excellent discussion on this topic with a virtual panel of experts from three of the market's leading WMS/SCE software providers and two leading consultants, who offer some real insights on key issues and trends.



 Those panelists include:

  •     Tom Kozenski, VP of product strategy at software provider RedPrairie
  •     Shyam Krishna, executive vice president at software provider Softeon
  •     Chuck Fuerst, director of product strategy at HighJump Software
  •     John Pearce and Steve Hopper, both principles at StoneCross Group consulting

We next asked the panelists about where they or their customers are pushing ahead with new innovations in WMS or supply chain execution.

Kozenski said the push towards greater product traceability, especially in the food industry, is driving many of RedPrairie's customers to add capabilities in that area.

"We have a few clients that are building a traceability database using data from their supply chain applications. Historically, companies have tried to use their ERP applications to provide network-level Quality Control, Product Hold, and Item Recall capabilities," he said. "The issue is that most ERPs don't work in real-time and can't track Inventory at the pallet/case level of granularity required, using License Plate Numbers or LPNs for short."

HighJump's Fuerst said they are seeing a lot of interest in his company's "App Station" offering (a former SCDigest Cool New Product of the Month recipient).

"The App Station allows our customers to have immediate and continuous access to new features via functionality we deliver via downloadable "apps," without the need to wait for the next major release of the software," he said.

"While we see this as a very innovative concept in the enterprise software space, one of the most interesting benefits for our customers is the ability to submit their own customizations as apps to the App Station for other customers to use, as we build an app community."

Very interestingly, Softeon's Krishna says there is actually a role for WMS-like capabilities even for companies selling electronic books, music and other media.

He told SCDigest that based on recent success delivering software solutions to the traditional media industry, Softeon is now building solutions for digital supply chains too.

In this world, order fulfillment takes on a new paradigm, Krishna says.

 "The SCE platform concept is gaining some traction as companies look to build data as well as

process integrations across various SCE functions so they can become more agile."

Chuck Fuerst, HighJump Software


"We are dealing with millions of virtual SKUs in a virtual warehouse as opposed to a physical warehouse," he said. "Both our regular solutions and this new Digital Supply Chain are built on the same architecture platform, which handles events, messages, states of objects, etc., whether it is a piece of digital content or a physical SKU, a customer or a container, triggering dynamic actions and workflows."

StoneCross's Pearce says using supply chain execution solutions to improve risk management is also at the top of the list for many supply chain leaders.

"We're seeing companies using SCE to improve supply chain risk management through creative usage of supply chain incident tracking capabilities and emerging methodologies to "interface" those risk incidents to an adaptive supply chain execution plan," he said. "Some firms are starting to pilot directly integrating enterprise-wide supply chain risk incident tracking tools with SCE applications."

Finally on this topic, though WMS has been relatively late to the "Cloud delivery" party, customer interest has been growing in the option, Kozenski says...Read more on scdigest.com

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