SCM Vendors Prep Products with More Integration

With bolstered balance sheets, supply-chain-management vendors gear up to meet challenges.

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After spending the past couple of years redefining internal management, strategy and product directions, supply-chain-management vendors are now focusing on moving forward with new product capabilities and bolstered balance sheets.

Manugistics Group Inc. and Manhattan Associates Inc. each are in the works with new supply-chain functionality, while i2 Technologies Inc. is amassing cash to shore up customer confidence and potentially pay off expensive lawsuits.

After undergoing a complete refresh of its sales and operations teams, Manugistics is working on the next point release of its Manugistics 7 platform, which unifies about 52 product sets onto a single, Web-based platform.

Nearly three years into the reworking of its applications set, Manugistics is more accurately describing its offerings as encompassing both supply and demand capabilities. The company will release Version 7.2.1 at the end of the year, which will have more of its older product set integrated onto the platform and will provide new capabilities for bridging pricing and promotion with planning and forecasting.

The upgraded release will include new pricing, promotion and optimization features in its Demand Revenue applications. The net effect is that the capabilities can be deployed at customer sites as one offering, which should help to bring demand and supply into balance, officials said.

Manugistics, of Rockville, Md., also will add target pricing and precision pricing to the release.

At the same time, the company is in the process of porting its entire product line to IBMs WebSphere and DB2 platforms. That offering also will be available later this year.

/zimages/4/28571.gifClick here to read an analysis of how radio-frequency identification (RFID) technology is reshaping supply-chain management.

Separately, Manhattan Associates, which will promote its chief operating officer to the CEO post this summer, announced Monday at its annual Momentum conference in Orlando, Fla., an upgraded Integrated Logistics Solutions suite and the availability of its 2004R1 suite.

The ILS suite provides a business-process approach to supply-chain execution. Essentially a logistics management platform, the upgrade provides capabilities for source-to-consumption supply-chain management.

Utilizing the ILS suite, Manhattan Associates, of Atlanta, plans to develop targeted business processes and functionality for a number of vertical markets.

The 2004R1 suite, on the other hand, is geared toward helping customers better collaborate and meet industry initiatives such as RFID mandates. A slew of applications have upgrades, including those for transportation planning and execution, carrier management, reverse logistics management, and distributed order management.

The suite also provides a new integration platform for RFID and RFID-enabled applications.

Finally, Dallas-based i2 Technologies has seen a recent cash influx, meant to quell customer fears that the company wont survive while also bolstering its balance sheet, officials said.

i2s CEO, Sanjiv Sidhu, last week agreed to make a $20 million equity investment in the company—conditional to Q Investments Ltd.s $100 million investment in i2. The company is also earmarking the proceeds to potentially settle pending class-action and derivative lawsuits. Officials said theyre not anticipating any funds put aside for software development.

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