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RedPrairie Software Review

 

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RedPrairie's Supply Chain Management Software Offerings

The company's three supply chain solution stacks are warehouse management systems (WMS), transportation management systems (TMS) and work force management (WFM). Each software solution is geared to the needs of their larger, more sophisticated clients and is built from the ground up using a Service Oriented Architecture (SOA) framework. The RedPrairie SOA supports standards based integration and a seamless exchange of information, along with a common set of features for performance management, business processes, event management and web visibility. Also, RedPrairie has developed Integrator which is a proprietary supply chain focused Enterprise Application Integration (EAI) solution. Because RedPrairie has largely subscribed to industry standards, such as XML and EDI to exchange information with the supply chain ecosystems, Integrator normally eliminates the need for additional costly middleware.

RedPrairie's Business Intelligence (BI) tool gathers, filters, analyzes and graphically displays performance information to enable informed and timely business decisions. The BI solution retrieves data and KPIs from RedPrairie and systems across the enterprise to provide comprehensive visibility into the supply chain.

Warehouse Management Systems

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

As a best of breed solution for large sophisticated customers looking for a full featured WMS, the Warehouse Management software suite meets the most demanding of warehouse system needs. RedPrairie is often selected for large, complex automated warehouse implementations. WM 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 example of the integration with warehouse technology is a real time event when the MHE system senses new cases on the conveyer, and asks WM where to send each case. The Warehouse Management software then responds 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 will pull the next pallet to be moved to a new location.

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

Transportation Management Systems

According to Gartner, RedPrairie's Transportation Management (TM) is a full featured transportation solution 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 a second tier vendor. The company continues to expand TM's software scope by adding 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 strategies that integrate with the execution features.

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

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

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

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