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Supply Chain Software Buyers Guide
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RedPrairie Supply Chain Software Review

 

RedPrairie Supply Chain Management Software Suite

RedPrairie's three supply chain software stacks include warehouse management systems (WMS), transportation management systems (TMS) and workforce management (WFM) software. Each system is geared to the needs of the company's larger and more sophisticated clients, and is developed from the ground up using a Service Oriented Architecture (SOA) technology framework. The RedPrairie SOA supports standards based integration for a relatively seamless exchange of information, along with a common set of features for performance management, business process automation, event management and web visibility. RedPrairie has also developed Integrator—a proprietary supply chain focused Enterprise Application Integration (EAI) solution. Because RedPrairie has largely subscribed to open and industry standards, including XML and EDI to share and exchange data with supply chain ecosystems, Integrator normally reduces or eliminates the need for additional costly middleware.

The RedPrairie Business Intelligence (BI) tool consolidates, filters, analyzes and visually displays performance information to facilitate more informed and timely business decisions. The BI software retrieves data and KPIs from RedPrairie and systems across the enterprise to deliver comprehensive visibility into the supply chain.

Warehouse Management Software

RedPrairie got a jump start over much of the supply chain management software competition and has maintained that lead with robust and full featured Warehouse Management Software. The company's main competitor in the warehouse management software space is Manhattan Associates with their WMoS solution; although the gap is tightening with offerings from Oracle, SAP, Highjump and a few others. The company's primary WMS system is an on-premise software product. However, with the recent acquisition of SmartTurn, RedPrairie now provides a WMS on demand or SaaS solution geared towards organizations looking for a lower cost option. The company has gone through several different life cycles of WMS systems and brand names. It seems for now they have settled on Warehouse Management, a vanilla and no nonsense brand name for their high end full featured offering. On Demand WMS is the name for their lighter cloud version. Warehouse Management (WM) has evolved by consolidating features from multiple software products into their current version, and is coupled with a rich history of internal WMS innovations.

As a best of breed software solution for large and sophisticated customers seeking full featured WMS, the Warehouse Management software suite meets many of the most demanding warehouse system needs. RedPrairie is often selected for large and complex warehouse automation implementations. Warehouse Management excels at integrating with material handling equipment (MHE), sort directors, automated store and retrieval systems (AS/RS), Barcode Scanners, RF, Voice, Pick-to-light and RFID. An sample of the warehouse technology integration is a real time event when the MHE system detects new cases on the conveyer, and asks WM where to send each case. The Warehouse Management software can then respond back in real time with a warehouse location or outbound trailer destination for each case traveling down the conveyer. WM can also direct a warehouse associate (driving a forklift with an RF device) where to put-away a pallet and then direct the associate to a new warehouse location where they can pull the next pallet to be moved to a new destination.

The Warehouse Management system has the standard best practice features and more, including appointment scheduling, yard management, processing inbound and outbound shipments, returns processing, inventory management, task optimization, 3D mapping and duty management for bonded warehouse. Many retailers, manufacturers and distributors are optimizing their supply chains using WM for their distribution center, fulfillment center and warehousing needs.

Transportation Management Software

According to Gartner, RedPrairie's Transportation Management (TM) software is a full featured transportation system with global capabilities supporting multimodal planning, execution, tracking and settlement. But, of the handful of Transportation Management Systems that meet these criteria, RedPrairie, although not far behind, is generally considered a second tier software vendor. The company continues to expand the TM software scope by adding more advanced features such as fleet planning and partnering with CombineNet to integrate freight sourcing and procurement for the European market. RedPrairie has been building out a set of enhanced optimization algorithms that enable continuous, more-advanced optimization methods that integrate with the execution features.

By automating manual activities (e.g. shipment planning, carrier selection, tendering and acceptance), most customers are able to reduce or re-deploy staff. Customers are also able to lower overhead by centralizing transportation functions at a network level, rather than maintaining transportation staff at each ship point.

The Transportation Management system has been re-architected to share the common SOA framework with RedPrairie's WMS and WFM software. The client web user interface (UI) is based on Microsoft's .NET platform. As a result, RedPrairie software is a relatively adaptable and extendable transportation system.

The customer base is moderate compared to other software market leaders; but, starting in 2009 sales have improved. RedPrairie high profile customers include Pella, Nestle, Eveready, Georgia-Pacific, United Sugars, General Cable, and many more. Recently the company began expanding its customer base to Europe and Asia, establishing a global foot print in the Transportation Management software industry.

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