Manhattan Associates [NASDAQ:MANH]: Pioneering Supply Chain Commerce

Manhattan Associates [NASDAQ:MANH]: Pioneering Supply Chain Commerce

Eddie Capel, President & CEO, Manhattan AssociatesEddie Capel, President & CEO “A mother who dreads shopping,” “a forgetful father and husband,” and “an accommodating omni-channel commerce retailer” were some of the characters that Eddie Capel, President and CEO of Manhattan Associates, used to sketch a witty feature film at their annual user conference, Momentum 2016. Themed as “The Experience Factor,” the film’s intention was to showcase the latest Supply Chain Management (SCM) software innovation in action. Through real-time on-stage interjections and interactions, with the actors in the movie, Capel demonstrated how SCM innovations across an enterprise can deliver a fulfilling experience to customers with a profitable outcome to shareholders. Along with the latest technologies, Capel also revealed about the complexities in omni-channel commerce while bridging the disparate parts and making fulfilling customer experiences possible.

“Today, growing consumer expectations are placing increased pressure on retail enterprises to fulfill higher order volumes at faster speeds,” substantiates Vikas Aron, Director-Product Management, Manhattan Associates. Solving these impediments is the SCM Wizard, Manhattan Associates. The Atlanta, GA-based firm is a global leader in providing supply chain execution and collaborative commerce solutions, which leverage state-of-the-art technologies, innovative practices, and its domain expertise to enhance performance, profitability, and competitive advantage. “We design, build and deliver market-leading Supply Chain Commerce Solutions that drive top line growth by converging front-end sales with back-end supply chain execution and efficiency,” says Capel.

Bringing Convergence and Visibility

Manhattan’s supply chain suite has been architected to break down silos and allow the supply chain to serve high growth without sacrificing bottom-line performance. The suite primarily consists of five elements—carrier management, distribution management, transportation management, supply chain convergence, and visibility. Through these elements, the firm assists its customers in effectively bridging the gap between digital and brick-and-mortar selling by allowing them to extend their supply chain aisle. According to Capel, “Supply chains must become more than efficiency tools that push products to market and drive costs out of an organization. They must help companies get closer to their customers; they must drive profitable commerce.”

One of the recent benefiters of the state-of-the-art suite was Urban Outfitters.

The luxury brands and hip designer labels-trend setter firm planned to expand its customer base in North America and Europe through additional locations and direct-to-consumer offerings. As they prepared for this growth, they needed a warehouse management solution that could grow with it. “We wanted to work with the best supply chain experts and solutions to achieve our objectives and take our distribution processes to the next level,” informs Mike Sparks, Director of Supply Chain Systems, Urban Outfitters. With the assistance of Manhattan Associates, Urban Outfitters launched their warehouse management project with its direct channel division and an additional distribution center that it had acquired in South Carolina. Manhattan’s solutions helped them improve distribution processes, integrate with existing technologies, and support the direct channel’s high volumes of small orders. Also, Manhattan’s warehouse management solutions enabled the company plan distribution of incoming shipments better and fulfill orders more quickly and accurately.

Supply chains must become more than efficiency tools that push products to market and drive costs out of an organization

Having served clients in manufacturing, retail, and wholesale industries, Manhattan Associates firmly believes in the magnitude of bridging functional gaps between warehousing, transportation, and the extended enterprise. “Convergence of processes among these divisions allows for a more responsive operation, as well as opening the door to increased profitability,” adds Capel.

Furthermore, the firm also explains that achieving omni-channel success is dependent upon having a sound distribution and logistics infrastructure in place, and yet the importance of having a good Transportation Management System (TMS) is surprisingly misunderstood. The firm’s TMS software offers the scope of solutions that an organization needs to run a comprehensive and integrated system. Fully cloud-enabled, the solution-set is available in multiple deployment structures, including multi-tenant, private hosted, on-premise, or hybrid options. Manhattan’s TMS provides exceptional information such as shipment delay that can be used to determine a new source for an order and dynamically relocate inventory in real life time. The sophisticated TMS provides inbound visibility to store routes to assist schedule/forecast store labor, enhancing the ability to leverage store replenishment routes for online distribution channel-to-store and store-to-store transfers.

TMS coupled with Manhattan’s distribution software automates every link in even the most complex supply chains. Also, anchored by their industry-leading warehouse management solutions, Manhattan Associates’ distribution management provides a comprehensive set of supply chain execution solutions to help organizations connect inbound and outbound operations, increase product velocity, improve customer service, and achieve world-class efficiency across an organization’s distribution network.

Innovation and Investment

Innovation has been a key element in the firm’s methodology to improve their suite continually. Capel feels that the hyper-acceleration of sophisticated consumer technology and omni-channel customer behavior is redefining commerce, and a successful navigation of this novel commerce landscape requires technology that can effectively enable omni-channel supply chain optimization. Through their new fangled mobile solutions, the firm is helping its clients modernize and mobilize nearly every touch point of their supply chains, including warehouse management, mobile Point of Sale (mPoS) implementation, and customer engagement, in an effort to bring eCommerce into the store.

"Growing consumer expectations are placing increased pressure on retail enterprises to fulfill higher order volumes at faster speeds"

The firm has been tackling many customer and industry-specific challenges head-on with a long-term and forward-looking investment in product excellence, R&D innovation, and strategic alliances, with leading firms such as Cognizant. Through their partnership with Cognizant, Manhattan Associates brings customers best-in-class solutions for supply chain package implementation and other complementary services that optimize return on investment and mitigate risk. Cognizant’s business consulting teams leverage Manhattan’s innovative offerings to benefit customers in multi-channel retailing, consumer goods manufacturing, pharmaceuticals, third-party logistics, and wholesale distribution industries.

Manhattan also proffers customer support and maintenance programs to ensure that its customers stay up to speed with the firm’s product developments and obtain the highest performance possible. Manhattan focuses on creating a targeted service program that meets its clientele’s specific business goals and requirements.

The Journey Ahead

Manhattan Associates has been delivering many more critical pieces for companies to become omni-channel commerce-ready. As hinted by Capel during the keynote at Momentum 2016, the firm has been working along the lines of optimized planning and execution and synchronized operations using predictive analytics, machine learning, and artificial intelligence tools. Bi-directional constraint awareness and related optimization capabilities should result in a more profitable omni-channel execution.

Manhattan has come a long way from a conservative and constantly profitable provider of WMS software to a provider of an SCM software platform that enables omni-channel commerce. Today, Manhattan designs, builds, and delivers market-leading supply chain commerce solutions for customers around the globe. The firm has been driving the commerce revolution with unmatched insight and unrivaled technology, and also plans to do that in future. By connecting front-end revenue and relationships with back-end execution and efficiency, optimized on a common technology platform, the firm is all set to inscribe the next version of the supply chain.

- Shiv Shanker
    February 15, 2017