Manugistics senior vice president of strategy Lori Mitchell-Keller believes that supplier relationships come before supply chain automation. That is why her company considers the processes and data from its supplier relationship management (SRM) suite to be “feeders” into its supply chain management (SCM) applications.
“Historically,” she told CRM Buyer Magazine, “Manugistics was a planning and optimization company. We made a decision about four years ago to bring together planning and execution.”
Common User Interface
The SRM suite — part of the Manugistics 7 offering released in May of this year — includes collaborative design, spend analysis and optimization, strategic sourcing and contract management, procurement execution, and collaborative supply planning modules. According to Mitchell-Keller, Manugistics’ goal is that users will not notice any transition when moving from one application to another.
“We don’t really separate architectural needs by functionality,” she said. “This is a standard platform across all applications.”
That platform is built on a fully Web-based, J2EE (Java 2 Enterprise Edition)-compliant architecture. “Prior to Manugistics 7,” Mitchell-Keller noted, “some modules had Web-enabled views, but the software was not fully Web-based.”
Manugistics vice president of corporate communications Didi Blackwood told CRM Buyer that the average sale price on a Manugistics suite license currently hovers around US$850,000 — down from an earlier $1 million.
Inching Toward the Demand Chain
Mark Peacock, a partner with Deloitte Consulting, told CRM Buyer that firms like Manugistics and i2 likely will begin to incorporate customer-facing functions into their offerings through partner relationship management (PRM) software. Aberdeen Group research director Karen Smith agreed, saying that PRM has become an underserved niche as stand-alone vendors thin out.
However, Mitchell-Keller said, Manugistics considers channel partners to be just another category of trading partners when it comes to managing the demand chain.
“PRM is really a growth out of SRM,” she said, “through managing channels with collaborative activity. But PRM on the demand side is not what Manugistics is doing.”
Information Drives Manufacturing
Matching the activities of two traditionally disparate parts of enterprises — marketing and operations — is where Manugistics is focusing its energy.
“Where we believe there is a hole,” Mitchell-Keller said, “is that marketing and sales are making decisions around CRM data they have — designing promotions, for instance — and the back office has been making decisions on how to best optimize the budgets and maintain costs on production.”
But those two strategies often do not line up, she said. Manugistics is seeking to provide companies with an understanding of what is happening in the demand chain so that information can drive the manufacturing process.
“You’ll never see us do financials, and we’ll never do HR,” she said. “We don’t want to be an ERP vendor, but we will continue to push the marriage of the supply and demand chains.”