Supply Chain Station summarizes JDA Focus 2015 Day 2

jda-focusBefore we get into the main meat of the article summarizing the activity on Day 2 here at JDA Focus 2015, we’re just going to take a few of minutes to report on a couple of hot topics that arose during the Demand Optimization Council Meeting held here at the conference centre, on the Sunday immediately preceding the launch of the conference.

Merchandising companies given responsible for Demand Planning

This is a meeting of top retailer and consumer goods wholesale distribution companies, who get together to go over a number of current issues in the industry, and one topic of particular interest was the move by some major retailers to transfer the ownership of inventory accountability onto their merchandisers; at the same time giving them full responsibility for the Demand Planning function.

Demand Planning is normally the responsibility of a separate team, but in these instances the retailers had put the Demand Planners into the merchandising companies themselves, so that the merchandisers had control over the whole process. If this does take-off across the industry in general, it could have some important ramifications on supply chains themselves, so it’s something well worth keeping an eye on for the future.

One of the surprise issues that became apparent was the absence of similarity between the various supply chain initiatives that the companies taking part in the meeting, actually showed. They were all very individualistic; being built around the core demands of each individual organization. It was something that just goes to show how unique individual supply chains are, in what they deliver, and how they go about doing it.

The goal to evolve into demand driven organizations

The theme behind many supply chain initiatives being discussed, was however the same. And that is the target to become more demand driven, and specifically going across to becomong driven demand planning at store level. Once again, this is something that could have considerable impact on retail supply chains in the future.

A number of awards were handed out during Day 2, and the vast majority of them were focused on companies who had achieved significant progress on the Warehouse Management System (WMS) stage. It’s something that underpins the emphasis that JDA had been putting on the WMS front, especially since taking over the Red Prairie organization and re-launching their software. According to JDA’s CEO, Bal Dail, the WMS side of the business is now the company’s largest individual revenue earner.

The evolution of the Red Prairie MOCA software 

Some of the JDA software they inherited from the Red Prairie acquisition is built around Red Prairie’s “MOCA” based philosophy; a philosophy that enables clients to alter the fabric of the software, allowing them to customize certain aspects of it for their own specific needs. In the past this has, however, led to many problems that adversely affected the performance of the software. JDA have therefore now introduced a new scheme, still allowing clients to modify their MOCA software, but only after gaining approval from JDA themselves. It’s all part of their new “Plan to Deliver” philosophy, and heralds a move towards what JDA refer to as their new “Extension Framework.”

Distributed Order Management (DOM)

Distributed Order Management (DOM), also took center stage during Day 2. Rather than reinventing the wheel, JDA decided to go into partnership with IBM, who already has a DOM software solution on sale. By joining forces, they can take advantage of the experience that IBM already have gained in this particular arena, but also bringing their own extensive experience and knowledge to bear, to create a new generation of responsive DOM software.

Analog Devices – the significance of proof of concept in supply chain software evaluation

Analog Devices, a company that specializes in manufacturing electronic chips, made an interesting presentation regarding the process of selecting the most appropriate supply chain software. This presentation focused on JDAs factory scheduling software, and how they had started out with the 100-plus requirements that they wanted their supply chain software to cover; which they eventually distilled down to just 10 key, core supply chain requirements.

Analog Devices then went through a 3 to 4 month investigation process wherein they live-trialed various different types of current software packages, to find the one that most closely catered for their core supply chain values; their  finally final decision of course being to run with the JDA package.

Although this process was relatively time-consuming and costly, it paid dividends by ensuring that the software package they finally selected (which, of course, turned out to be the JDA software package) was the software package that matched their core needs; plus it saved incalculable money by preventing them going down a less appropriate route. In other words, whilst the proof of concept process that they went through has its associated costs, it was beneficial in real terms, and something that all companies should consider doing before deploying new supply chain software programs.

Next generation chain IT technology tools

Avnet, one of the world’s foremost suppliers of supply chain IT technology, laid on a presentation on supply chain software in the cloud, and the use of Big Data, coupled with advanced analytics. The presentation touched on the Internet of Things and how, with all the new connectivity, this technology will become used more and more by businesses and consumers at all levels.

The Avnet presentation went on to discuss the series of next-generation tools that the company is deploying to improve and manage customer related insights and decision-making. These tools are aimed at helping companies to regulate their reordering process, and avoid the placing of last-minute rush orders that can sometimes prove difficult to fulfill. The tools also smooth out the huge variances that can occur between initial forecast and final “hard” order quantities.

These new programs which can be added into existing supply chain packages are not yet 100% automated, but do already go a long way towards smoothing out many of these spikes. In fact Avnet reported that in one instance these tools were instrumental in enabling one particular client to improve their turnover of inventory from 2 to 8; something which, if seen across the board, would have a significant impact on supply chain operation in general.

One thing is for sure and that is that these types of advanced analytics applications will point the way for the evolution of supply chain management.

JDA Focus 2015 conclusion

That brings us to the end of this Day 2 summary of JDA Focus 2015, an event that clearly indicates the current trending in the global supply chain market, as companies adopt new technologies to become truly demand driven organizations.


Please feel free to provide any feedback about other ways in which JDA software can improve their “plan to deliver” philosophy and its application.

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