JDA Software Group Inc. today released a software product that it said allows users to integrate their digital and physical supply chains, identify unprofitable links in omnichannel logistics, and adjust their fulfillment models to avoid them.
In the rush to compete for market share, retail companies often promise fast delivery and wide selection to every customer, Paula Natoli, JDA's vice president for product management, said in an interview. However, many businesses find they have to sacrifice their profit margin in order to fulfill that service level. "When you make an online order with multiple line items and it arrives at your house in five different parcels, you know for a fact the vendor didn't make a profit on that order," Natoli said.
JDA, based in Scottsdale, Ariz., says its new approach, called JDA 9.0, will help planners avoid these distribution nightmares by using the company's cloud-based "Flex" platform to collect data from disparate sources and provide end-to-end visibility from manufacturer to consumer and all intermediate points.
Powered by this compilation of logistics data, the software can provide overarching supply chain planning, optimization, and business analytics for players at every level, including manufacturers, retailers, third-party logistics providers (3PLs), and wholesale distributors, the company says.
In practice, that means a user could make more intelligent fulfillment decisions, such as setting shipping strategies based not just on where an order was placed but where it will be delivered. That approach combines aspects of warehouse management systems (WMS), transportation management systems (TMS), order management software, and supply chain planning software.
The company had released the previous version of this product, JDA Eight, in 2013, as a compilation of more than 30 software products hosted on a single, cloud-based platform. The earlier product was designed to provide high-level oversight that was previously available only through enterprise resource planning (ERP) platforms.
By upgrading to version 9.0, JDA is asserting its ability to manage the end-to-end supply chain workflow and compete against enterprise software platforms from SAP SE, Oracle Corp., and Manhattan Associates Inc., said James Cooke, principal analyst at Nucleus Research Inc., an analyst firm.
"JDA sees where things have to go to support business intelligence in the supply chain," Cooke said. "You have to gather data from various systems, from what the supplier has to what the customer wants."
That high-altitude visibility is crucial in an era where only 16 percent of companies are actually making a profit fulfilling omnichannel demand, according to a 2014 survey of 400 retail and consumer-goods leaders conducted for JDA by consulting firm PwC.
"The emergence of omnichannel selling—coupled with 'me commerce' trends that increase the need for personalized service—have placed companies in an extremely difficult position," JDA chief product officer Kelly Thomas said in a release.
"Most businesses have made significant investments in manufacturing facilities, distribution networks, and technology systems to serve this complex market demand. However, too often, these disparate resources fail to work together toward the shared goal of profitability," Thomas said.