Manugistics Plans New Version of Logistics Tools for 2005

With fuel prices soaring and freight capacity shrinking, supply chain vendor Manugistics readies a new edition of RFQ, an offering for cutting good deals on freight shipment.

For businesses that want to save money next year by beating the rising costs of freight, Manugistics Inc. plans to release a new, licensable version of its NetWorks Transport RFQ in early 2005.

"Fuel prices are going up, and freight capacity is getting tighter. This is forcing companies to rethink their relationships with [freight] carriers," said Gregg Lanyard, senior solutions manager at Manugistics, in an interview with

Currently available on a hosted basis only, RFQ (request for quotation) is a Web-based logistics procurement system for "going online and doing real-time collaboration with carriers to negotiate rates and capacity," Lanyard said.

"Weve been offering RFQ on a hosted model for the past two-and-a-half years, and weve had great success with that," according to Lanyard.

The upcoming licensable version is geared to companies that want to manage RFQ themselves. Some businesses in many industries—including retail and consumer packaged goods manufacturing, for example—have frequent needs to renegotiate their rates, he said. Third-party logistics providers make up another target market.

The licensable edition will include a spot bidding feature not yet available in the hosted edition. But Manugistics expects to add spot bidding to the hosted offering some time next summer, was told.

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RFQ is based on technology obtained through Manugistics acquisition of Digital Freight in 2002. Manugistics then built an optimizer and analyzer, and added it to the product. This capability is designed to help customers fine-tune their shipping decisions based on criteria such as business constraints.

Manugistics, Lanyard said, is facing "a little bit of competition" in RFQs overall space, chiefly from i2, Manhattan Associates and Freeport Logistics.

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