Europe Caught Up in Supply Chain Choices

On the other side of the Atlantic, ERP vendors SAP and Oracle are making inroads, according to a new study.

In Europe just as in North America, customers are caught up in deciding between in-house implementers, outside supply chain specialists and huge ERP (enterprise resource planning) vendors for applications like warehouse and transportation management, according to new research released over the past week by UK-based Analytiqa.

Choices made by businesses in Europe vary according to the type of SCM/L (supply chain management/logistics) solution, said Analytiqua researchers, in a report called "Technology Across the Supply Chain."

For example, only about 21.7 percent of companies in Europe outsource WMS (warehouse management systems) to 3PLs (third-party logistics providers).

In contrast, in the newer area of TMS (transportation management systems), almost half—or 49.1 percent—depend on 3PLs.

Meanwhile, SAP AG commands the second largest share for TMS after 3PLs, with about one-fifth the European market in this application category.

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Oracle Corp., a younger player in ERP, has nailed down a few percentage points of the European TMS market, but its presence is still outweighed by in-house developers.

On the other hand, SAP and Oracle together dominate the European WMS market

Aside from WMS and TMS, other solutions areas studied include process and invoice management, said Mark OBornick, director of research and analysis for Analytiqa.

But SAP and Oracle arent doing nearly as well in the process and inventory management arenas as in WMS, according to OBornick.

On a bright note, by and large, the supply chain and IT managers questioned in the survey said they were satisfied with the people implementing their SCM/L solutions.

In fact, a total of 65.6 percent voiced "high satisfaction," as compared with 25.8 percent expressing "average satisfaction," 7.5 percent for "low satisfaction" and 1.1 percent for "very low satisfaction."

"A major source of end-user dissatisfaction lies with in-house technology systems implementers who do not possess the necessary expertise they would claim to have," according to Analytiqas report.

"A cause of many of the failed or disastrous implementations is a desire to keep costs to a minimum, overlooking the use of more appropriate implementers."

The study uncovered some regional differences within the overall European market, too.

On the whole, "level of dissatisfaction with systems" turned out to be greater in Eastern Europe than in Western Europe.

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