News & Views | Supply Chain Management

News & Views is published monthly by 180 Systems. Our objective is to provide recent articles to our readers on business technology topics. In some cases, our blog contains a title with a hyperlink to a source article, a quote from the article and our comments. In other cases, we have provided a blog without a hyperlink for original content by 180 Systems. We encourage you to post your own comments. You can also access our blog by topic.

Supply Chain and Logistics Technology: ERP vs. Best of Breed

ERP, Supply Chain Management

July 1, 2013 from Logistics Management – “Shippers continue to grapple with the age-old dilemma of having to choose between ERP-developed supply chain software and those targeted solutions produced by best-of-breed providers. Here are a few tips that could make the choice a little easier…”

180 View – We are always running into the question of ERP vs. Best of Breed. As my MBA professor often said, the answer to the question is “it depends.” There will be situations when the needs of an organization compel it to invest in a best of breed solution as the ERP vendor only scrapes the surface. The problem with best of breed is integration despite all the technology advancements such as web services/xml. Ideally the ERP or accounting system is already integrated with the best of breed. If not, make sure you have a well-defined specification as well as an understanding of costs to implement as well as to stay in synch as the integrated systems are upgraded.

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RedPrairie to acquire JDA for roughly $1.9 billion

ERP, Supply Chain Management

November 1, 2012 from Logistics Management – “Supply chain and logistics software and technology providers RedPrairie and JDA Software announced today that two companies and its affiliates have entered into a definitive merger agreement…

An industry source estimated that combined revenues will be in the $1 billion to $1.2 billion range, which would make them the largest best of breed provider of supply chain management software..”

180 View – The consolidation continues but this time it’s with supply chain management (SCM) and not ERP, which for some may lead to the question about what is the difference between SCM and ERP. I poked around for a good explanation of the differences and found the following at – “ERP, or enterprise resource planning, is a software system that covers company business processes including purchasing, inventory, planning, sales order management and financial management. SCM, or supply chain management, can also refer to a software system or an area of management. SCM software can overlap with ERP business processes, but tends to be focused on flow of supply, value added processes, and distribution of product including warehousing and distribution centers.” In my opinion, SCM is a best of breed solution when it comes to very challenging logistics related to transportation and warehousing. It also applies when linking different organizations each with their own ERP system across the supply chain.


Supply Chain Technology: Will WMS take over the world?

ERP, Supply Chain Management, Warehouse Management

October 1, 2012 from Logistics Management – “The warehouse management systems (WMS) market is on a tear. In 2011 it grew by 10 percent over 2010 to nearly $1.3 billion, according to ARC Advisory Group, a leading supply chain management software analyst firm…

The “warehouse” concept is simple in theory. After all, how difficult can it really be to manage a cavernous space filled with racks, boxes, pallets, and forklifts?

In reality, the task is huge and requires the right mix of people, systems, and solutions to run smoothly. For many logistics professionals, the latter need is filled by a WMS, which is tasked with controlling the movement and storage of materials within an operation and then processing the associated transactions.

As WMS evolved over the years, the number of functionalities that these systems can handle has increased exponentially. Wave and batch picking, task interleaving (mixing dissimilar tasks like putaway and picking), automated data collection (ADC), advanced shipment notifications (ASN), cross docking, and slotting are just a few of the vital warehouse functions that today’s WMS can tackle…”

180 View – There are opportunities for significant business process improvement in those cavernous spaces which are not always well handled by ERP systems but don’t count on WMS taking over the world any time soon.


10 Ways to Use ERP to Lean the Manufacturing Supply Chain

Manufacturing and Distribution, Supply Chain Management

Whitepaper from IFS – “…In short, we will discuss:

  • Four tips to help you bring lean supply chain improvements to your manufacturing operation.
  • Six technology tools that help automate these lean supply chain practices…”

180 View – This whitepaper does not contain the usual marketing spin found in many whitepapers published by vendors, and could be helpful to manufacturers. The whitepaper is old but the concepts still apply today.


Top 20 Supply Chain Management Software Suppliers

Supply Chain Management

July 21, 2010 from Modern Materials Handling – “…We began by looking at the top providers of warehouse management systems (WMS), but our focus has evolved… While the lines between supply chain execution and supply chain planning providers were once clearly drawn, that is no longer the case; ERP providers supply WMS, and supply chain execution providers supply planning and optimization solutions.

180 View – Don’t you love the 3 letter acronyms – ERP, WMS, SCM…? Some of the higher-end ERP systems include WMS and SCM, but when it comes to supply chain planning and optimization, you will likely require a best of breed option with one of the SCM vendors that specialize in that market.


How to Compare Actual Landed Costs

Supply Chain Management

October 28, 2010 from Supply Chain Management Review – “As companies come under increasing pressure to compete on price, the rush to “outsource” and embrace cheap overseas labor and low-cost manufacturing in developing countries has resembled a modern-day version of the California gold rush…

As more companies are competing on price, it is becoming even more important to know our true inventory costs accurately and immediately. This gets complicated by varying costs like freight, the duty imposed on imported products, and of course the exchange rate. The trick is to know our real costs at the time of selling…“

180 View – The article is written by a supply chain vendor that provides a “a community of logistics service providers, carriers, trading partners and banks who are integrated” such that “decisions can be based on visibility into true cost actuals as they occur.” Although the article is clearly biased, it does address significant issues for many companies struggling with complicated supply chain issues. It does not replace the ERP system or update inventory with landed costs but could help detect problems sooner than later. However the ERP system still needs a way to allocate actual costs to inventory on some basis across multiple purchase orders and products. But what happens if the products have been sold before all the costs are known? One solution would be to create a notional account that would not update the general ledger but could be used for product or customer gross profit analysis.