Last week, several colleagues and I attended JDA’s annual user conference in Las Vegas. The theme of this year’s conference was “Outperform” and had over 2200 customer attendees. The customer case studies were very informative, and could pique the curiosity of executives from every walk of life or industry. The show stopper for Day 2 was the keynote address from Captain Richard Phillips, former Captain of the Maersk Alabama (I probably don’t need to tell you who he is).
On day 1, JDA CEO Hamish Brewer’s keynote address outlined the organization’s recently refined corporate strategy. There were two key aspects to the refined strategy: technology and customer experience. From a technology standpoint, JDA has organized its product offering into five suites of adjacent and complementary solutions:
- Manufacturing Planning: demand planning, sales & operations planning, master planning, factory planning, and inventory planning;
- Collaborative Category Management: customer insights & analytics, assortments, planogram precision / volume, automation & workflow, mobility & task management, and flowcasting;
- Distribution Centric Supply Chain (DSC): demand and fulfillment, distributed order management, transportation management, warehouse management, and labor management;
- Retail Planning: demand planning, merchandise financial planning, assortment planning, pricing & promotions, and micro / macro space planning;
- Store Operations: workforce management, task management, enterprise store operations, and in-store picking.
From my perspective, the DSC suite is one of the more interesting revelations from the show. The basic point of the suite is to bridge the gaps between fulfillment and transportation and warehousing. The integration of their TMS and WMS applications is already done. Additionally, JDA has integrated their TMS application with their fulfillment capabilities, and plan to have the WMS application integrated in the near future. In the next phase, JDA will integrate item locations from the warehouse into the TMS. While there was debate about whether this was actually an important piece of technology to have, it allows retailers to be more efficient when they are pulling inventory from a DC to deliver to the store. While most warehouses will have similar items located near each other, either on the same shelf or at least the same row, this capability will streamline the picking process when a retailer is receiving store replenishments as well as web orders to be picked up in the store. With more customers moving towards e-commerce, this becomes an important capability.
The final piece of the integration is to bring together distributed order management and inventory visibility. Distributed order management is really a key for omni-channel operations. This technology allows the retailer to capture all information in the order management process across all relevant channels. The benefit to retailers is that it doesn’t matter where an order originates; all fulfillment channels have access to the information and the retailer can appropriately allocate the inventory depending on stock levels, demand requirements, and timing of fulfillment.
The second aspect of JDA’s revised corporate strategy is an improved focus on the customer experience. JDA is investing in account managers for their customers due to feedback from their customers. By increasing employee headcount in these customer manager roles, JDA is seeking to ensure a single point of contact for the customer. This point of contact is responsible for coordinating all of the customer’s needs across the company, with a key focus on helping organizations get the most out of their investment with JDA. This starts with account planning and ends with execution.
Hamish Brewer outlined his commitment to his customers: customer value, quality, innovation, and real results. The alignment of the DCS product suite looks like it could be one way for JDA to deliver this promise. The integration of these key pieces of technology, with the distributed order management system as the backbone of omni-channel operations, puts JDA in a great position moving forward. Now, they just need to execute. Stay tuned for more news and insights from JDA Focus.