Volume 6, Number 4 -- January 24, 2006

Manhattan Associates Targets Advanced Planning Solutions at Retailers

Published: January 24, 2006

by Alex Woodie

Manhattan Associates last week shed a little bit of light on its evolving supply chain strategy when it launched a new supply chain solution for companies in the retail industry. The software maker's strategy jumped forward last year when it bought Evant, a San Francisco developer of Java-based advanced planning, replenishment, and demand forecasting software.

The key element of the Atlanta company's evolving strategy is keeping the entire spectrum of supply chain software--namely, the execution side, which has been its specialty, and the planning side, which was Evant's specialty--on a common "footprint" bearing Manhattan's name. In fact, Manhattan claims to be the only software provider to offer the "complete footprint for supply chain management," at least for retailers, anyway.

The new capability is offered through two Manhattan products, called Integrated Planning Solutions and Integrated Logistics Solutions (although one wonders why Manhattan is making customers buy two separate products if they're so highly integrated). The company is also touting the success of customers such as O'Reilly Auto parts, an iSeries shop that saved tens of millions of dollars as a result of its use of Evant's demand planning software.

The timing of Manhattan's foray into planning is superb. Two weeks ago, Aberdeen published results of a study of IT pros that found advanced planning and replenishment is a top priority at 75 percent of respondents, which targeted store-level out-of-stock situations as the single most compelling reason to get smarter about planning.

"Out of stocks are the dirty little secret of all retailer segments and tiers," says Paula Rosenblum, Aberdeen's director of retail research, and the report's author. While advanced planning and replenishment solutions have been on the market for years, out-of-stock rates have remained relatively constant at about 8 percent over the last 10 years, Aberdeen says.

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Editor: Alex Woodie
Contributing Editors: Dan Burger, Joe Hertvik,
Shannon O'Donnell, Timothy Prickett Morgan
Publisher and Advertising Director: Jenny Thomas
Advertising Sales Representative: Kim Reed
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