Acta Technology Inc. and Manugistics Group Inc. are teaming up to help companies better integrate data from disparate systems and use that data to optimize decision-making and analysis within supply chain systems.
The partnership, which will be announced next week, will combine Actas core functionality of extracting data from enterprise systems and Manugistics SCM (supply chain management) functionality.
As part of the agreement Manugistics, of Rockville, Md., will provide with its WebConnect Integrate High Volume Edition Actas ActaWorks platform for large-scale data transfers in application-to-application integration and data warehousing.
The alliance will allow Manugistics customers to integrate large volumes of data between enterprise systems and other apps without having to use outside integration software.
Acta, for its part, plays into SCM by providing integrated data that feeds into supply chain, analytic, eCommerce and customer relationship management applications.
Tom Murphy, data administration manager at Jabil Circuit, Inc., a $3.5 billion electronics manufacturer in St. Petersburg, Fla., is using Actas data integration platform primarily to extract data from Jabils SAP R3 enterprise software system – a notoriously difficult task. He also uses Acta software to integrate data from disparate systems.
Jabil has been in an expansion mode for the past several years, acquiring new plants and along with them various ERP(enterprise resource planning) and SCM systems.
Murphy uses Actas integration platform to pull data from those ERP systems, as well as other SCM software, into a single repository. With the integration platform, Murphy is able to analyze data like suppliers on time delivery history, defect rate and pricing structure per supplier to ultimately minimize inventory.
Although he is currently using a supply chain planning system from another vendor for Jabils roughly 20 global plants, Murphy would consider looking at Manugistics under one circumstance.
"Quite honestly, the supply chain systems weve purchased are based on the value it brings to business and where it can pay for itself," said Murphy. "If it came down to one versus the other, both had the same functionality and one was integrated with Acta, sure we would go with that."
Like most in the highly competitive electronics manufacturing field, Murphy is looking to supply chain optimization capabilities to separate his company from its competitors.
Manugistics, for its part, had been making strides over the past few quarters in widening its SCM footprint through acquisitions and innovation. In July, the company completed its acquisition of SpaceWorks Inc., which provided Manugistics with a more fully rounded, Web-based pricing optimization and forecasting solution.
However, according to a report from Boston-based AMR Research Inc., a slowed economy may hamper Manugistics expansion efforts in subsequent quarters, causing a retrenchment of sorts. Whether or not that will effect further supply chain optimization innovation is uncertain.
"The challenge in todays economy is a lot of unscheduled movement," said Jabils Murphy. "In the past our big problem was capacity. Weve solved that. Now, as a product changes, what that does to our inventory [is what we have to watch].
"Excess inventory will kill us."
Renee Boucher Ferguson covers application integration and enterprise software, she can be contacted at [email protected]