HighJump, a global provider of supply chain solutions, wrapped up its annual user conference, HighJump Elevate, last week. More than 800 people attended the event in San Antonio, Texas. I attended and also presented on the topic of “Warehouse Practices that Matter.”
HighJump is best known for its warehouse management systems (WMS). Their flagship WMS is known for its adaptability. And indeed, one customer, Brightstar, talked about an implementation of the WMS in a facility that was part warehouse and part light manufacturing. This project involved enabling extensive serialization across the consumer electronic devices the company distributes. Sitting in the audience, I thought, they picked the right vendor for this project. This would have been difficult to accomplish with many other solutions.
Customers can choose Cloud or on-premise solutions. HighJump is well along in their transition to providing Cloud solutions. One thousand customers are now in the Cloud. Oracle is their primary hosting partner.
HighJump conducts an annual net promoter score (NPS) survey with follow up calls from key executives to customers. NPS is a management tool that is used to gauge the loyalty of a company’s customer relationships. Firms that use NPS are serious about achieving and maintaining high levels of customer satisfaction.
WMS is a complex product. Implementations don’t always go smoothly. Tom Kirkham, the Head of Information Technology, at John B. Sanfilippo and Sons, spoke about a partnership with HighJump that has lasted for 13 years. Sanfilippo is a leading supplier and processor of nuts. Mr. Kirkham took the audience back to 2005 when JBSS was planning a consolidation project of five plants into a new 1.1 million square foot facility. During the initial implementation in 2006, Mr. Kirkham concluded that the case picking process they had implemented just was not going to cut it for their operation. Mr. Kirkham was on the phone with the services team from 5 pm at night until the wee hours of the morning rewriting the picking algorithm. The new picking process worked. The warehouse was able to open and operate effectively the next morning. Speaking about that call though, Mr. Kirkham said, “No other supplier would have done this.” Other customers, both on stage and in private conversations, remarked on HighJump being customer centric.
HighJump also provides direct store delivery and transportation management systems. But their solution portfolio is broadening. In early 2017, HighJump acquired the Vitech Business Group, a leading system integrator of voice-directed warehouse solutions. In 2017, HighJump was acquired by Körber AG, a company that owns a number of material handling and logistics solution providers. HighJump became part of the Logistics Systems business unit. The software businesses of Körber Logistics include Aberle Software, DM Logic, Inconso, and HighJump.
These partner companies allow them to offer warehouse control systems and a warehouse simulation tool called CLASS. CLASS is an interesting solution. A WMS allows you many ways to promote new efficiencies in the warehouse. But customers are not always sure what specific processes will be optimal for their operations. CLASS is a tool that can, for example, allow a company to select the receiving, put-away or picking process – as well as layout – that will be best for their company. I like the product. I’d like to see it more tightly integrated to the WMS solution so that companies can continue to improve their operations as their business changes.
On the hardware front – really hardware plus really smart embedded software – Körber owns a provider of autonomous mobile robots (AMRs) called Magazino. Magazino is still working with just a few customers before they seek to expand and provide solutions to a much broader market. ARC has just completed a study of the AMR market. Because Magazino’s robots both move autonomously and pick, rather than just moving, they could well emerge as one of the leaders in this extremely fast-growing market.
Körber is known as a patient investor. Once firms are acquired, they are rarely, if ever, spun off. Körber also has deep pockets. It would not be surprising to see more acquisitions that further expand the HighJump supply chain solution portfolio.