Manhattan Associates hosted its annual user conference, Manhattan Momentum, in Hollywood, Florida from May 23rd through today, May 25. “Assemble Agents of Change” was the theme of the conference. And it was good to assemble in person again after two years of virtual conferences due to COVID-19 restrictions. The topic of change is certainly as relevant as ever. Of course, change is always occurring. But it has certainly been more pronounced recently within the supply chain world. This is evident from the widespread global supply chain disruptions that we all read about daily. Eddie Capel, Manhattan’s president and CEO, kicked off the conference with the goal of “making the impossible – possible.” He then introduced Sanjiv Siotia, Manhattan’s CTO, to discuss the Manhattan Active Platform, the technology that makes everything else in Manhattan’s vision possible.
New Manhattan Active Business Capabilities
Brian Kinsella then discussed how Manhattan Active solutions are made up of assembled microservices, and how they are putting microservices together to form solution unifications that deliver additional features and capabilities for customers, and how these unified solutions are further combined to deliver even broader capabilities. Brian provided some specific omni-channel examples with easy to envision benefits. The ability for a consumer to buy an item online, then come into the store and add to that transaction or to exchange the online purchase at the store. These multi-step omni-channel transactions appear simple to the consumer but are typically constrained in practice by retailer technology silos – constraints that are removed when these processes are unified. Most importantly, these are capabilities that can improve upon customer experiences.
The Manhattan Active WM roadmap includes the next evolution of order streaming, applying those dynamic direct-to-consumer principles to retail replenishment and B-to-B fulfillment environments. In these environments, order streaming works backwards from an optimized load plan to determine the most effective way to sequence and prioritize the warehouse work and get it to the dock to execute that shipment. Also on the roadmap is the next evolution of yard management. They are taking data from WMS and using it more effectively for the yard. For example, when it is time to pull in the next trailer, they can see what is on it and where those items are going to be put away in the warehouse, and choose a plan that will minimize travel distance. In addition, Manhattan Associates is developing a dynamic load building service that optimizes a plan that accounts for factors such as weight balancing and shelving units within trailers. And the system will sequence the warehouse work to arrive at the dock in a way that facilitates the loading of the trailer in the desired sequence.
Manhattan Active WM in Action
A Manhattan Active WM break out session revealed that there are currently 21 clients live across 39 sites. The session included executives from two existing Active WM clients, Dan Jennings from RNDC and Jerry Troupe from Pet Supplies Plus. Dan stated that the continuous updates that come with Active WM was a strong selling point for adopting the solution. With 40 facilities, the traditional upgrade process was considered a substantial expense and burden that could be minimized through a solution with a more streamlined, continuous update process that also provides more timely enhancements. Pet Supplies Plus was the first customer adoption of Active WM, and decided on the solution in part due to its ability to scale along with Pet Supplies Plus anticipated growth. Pet Supplies Plus went live in a like-for-like conversion scenario from an older version in a little over 5 months and is currently rolling out some of the systems newer innovations, including the labor management employee engagement capabilities, including an employee incentive points program that rewards productivity.
I attended additional sessions that described recently completed enhancements and customer adoption metrics for Manhattan Active WM. Most notably, the solution is adopted across 21 end-user industries – indicating its widespread applicability to fulfillment needs.