JDA FOCUS 2015: Labor in the consumerized, connected and converged supply chain

by | May 14, 2015

When JDA FOCUS 2015 opened at the Marriott World Center in Orlando Florida on April 27, it was the first time that most customers met JDA’s new boss Bal Dail.  Bal replaced Hamish Brewer as president and CEO just after last year’s user conference, and JDA’s new boss opened this year’s conference by talking about retail’s new boss, the customer, and how her expectations are putting new pressure on all aspects of the retail supply chain.

While most retailers’ view of their supply chain as production and distribution of product to their stores.  JDA has a broader vision of the supply chain, which they refer to as SCM 3.0.  It believes the supply chain has been consumerized, connected and converged (i.e., blending of digital and physical channels supported by the labor required to deliver) to meet the demands of the customer. And, of course, JDA is committed to providing solutions that help companies throughout the supply chain deliver on this vision.

I spoke with Tyler Owen, Senior Solution Strategy Director for JDA’s Store Operations products, who drove this point home.  He said the role of the warehouse and store will continue to blend. Companies with the best wall-to-wall logistics will have the competitive advantage. This means the retail store will need handle customer facing, task-based and fulfillment activities as effectively as possible. Store labor will be integral to the process, and retailers will need to make an even more dramatic shift from viewing labor as a cost to be minimized to a resource that must be effectively utilized and measured by return on invested labor.

A good example of this vision in action is JDA’s new tablet applications and dashboards that Razat Guarav, JDA’s Executive Vice President and General Manager for Global Industry Solutions, demonstrated during the general session.  Not only did he show how users could rapidly understand out of stocks and supply chain delays but he also demonstrated a labor dashboard that helped users quickly assess the cost and productivity of their workforce.

Last year, JDA announced that RedPrairie’s Workforce Management system (WFM-R) would be its go-forward platform.  As far as I could tell, all WFM content at this year’s conference focused on WFM-R.  New feature development has centered on global capabilities with JDA releasing time keeping and scheduling functionality designed to meet the needs of Western Europe’s labor contracts.  I spoke with a couple of multi-national customers that welcomed this capability. JDA was also demonstrating JDA Task, their replatformed task management solution.

But, when I spoke with people involved with JDA’s WFM products, they seemed to be most excited about development of a new long-term labor planning product which they hope to provide retailers unparalleled insight into future labor needs.  At first, I thought this was the further development of the Planora solution that RedPraire had acquired just before the JDA acquisition.  However, it sounds like a brand new solution, built from the ground up.  I look forward to learning more about this product in the coming months.

Overall, JDA FOCUS 2015 nicely showcased an organization that has evolved considerably over the last year.  With a new management team, JDA is clearly focused on delivering for their customers who, in turn, are focused on delivering for their customers.

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