HighJump Software Inc., a company that develops supply chain execution (SCE) software, agreed last month to be acquired by the industrial giant 3M. Though the software company's acquisition by the $1.6 billion conglomerate best known for making Scotch tape and Post-it Notes might come as a surprise, Chris Heim insists it all makes sense.
Heim, who is HighJump's chief executive officer, acknowledges that this is an unlikely pairing. "Before 3M approached us last summer," he says, "if you had asked me to list the top 100 companies [that might acquire HighJump], 3M never would have made the list. But the more I got to know and understand its strategy, the more I thought it would work." Heim says HighJump, whose products will continue to be marketed under that name, will become part of the 3M industrial services business. "What they want to do is go from being a products company to being a solutions company. Part of what they are running into as they talk to customers is that many of the issues involve supply chain solutions."
Heim believes becoming part of a global business will help HighJump close deals with potential customers who are reluctant to give business to a relatively small software company. (HighJump, which was privately held, had revenues of about $36 million.) "This gives us financial backing unparalleled in our marketplace," Heim says. "It gives us an easier path to become a global company. It gives us access to very interesting 3M research," he says, citing 3M's work in RFID implementation in particular.
In another transaction affecting the supply chain software industry, Retailix Ltd. acquired OMI International, a provider of warehouse and supply chain management software based in Dallas. Retailix, an Israeli company with North American headquarters in Dallas, provides software to the retail food industry.