How LLamasoft Is Designing Success For Customers’ Supply Chains

Ann Arbor, Michigan-based supply chain design software business LLamasoft is considered one of the fastest growing technology companies in North America. The company was founded by Don Hicks and Toby Brzoznowski in the late 1990s, and offers a number of innovative solutions that help some of the world’s best-known brands make smarter, faster decisions about their supply chain operations.

Its flagship software, Supply Chain Guru, is used for optimizing and simulating supply chain network operations and modeling potential changes based on performance, costs and risks. Last year, LLamasoft released Supply Chain Guru X, the newest generation of its software, which enables companies to build living models of their end-to-end supply chains. Customers can easily visualize inefficiencies, optimize for significant improvements in cost, service and risk, and test hundreds of potential scenarios for continuous supply chain improvement and innovation. Also released was Demand Guru, a new solution that empowers companies to improve their supply chain design and strategic business initiatives by incorporating powerful causative demand modeling.

In 2012, LLamasoft raised $6 million in funding, led by MK Capital. Nike also became a strategic investment partner that year, taking a minority share in October. Jumping forward to 2015, LLamasoft had a big year – acquiring IBM’s LogicTools supply chain applications business, raising $50 million in Series B funding from Goldman Sachs to fund expansion and R&D, and acquiring South Africa-based Barloworld.

Several months ago, TPG Capital, the investment group behind companies like Uber, McAfee and Airbnb, invested over $200 million in LLamasoft after seeing great promise in the company and fully understanding the value its technology delivers to customers.

Today, LLamasoft counts among its 700 customers companies such as Michael Kors, Land O’ Lakes, Johnson & Johnson, and Wayfair. The company estimates that it signs 30 to 40 new clients per quarter. When I asked Brzoznowski if he could share some of LLamasoft’s customer success stories, he pointed out a few recent examples of customer use cases including Michael Kors, U.S. Silica, Hewlett-Packard and Johnson & Johnson.

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2017 Parcel Express Roundtable: Paying for peak performance

It can be hard to believe that very much happens in a year, but that theory is put to the test when it comes to the parcel express market.

In fact, over the past 12 months we’ve seen major changes in pricing from the parcel duopoly of FedEx and UPS; the accelerated emergence of regional parcel players; and don’t forget we’re all watching the increasing power and reach of e-commerce giant Amazon as it grows its own delivery capabilities globally.

These developments require parcel shippers to do whatever it takes to stay on top of their parcel game from both a financial and operational perspective. To help them along, Logistics Management has gathered Jerry Hempstead, president of Hempstead Consulting, a parcel advisory firm; David Ross, transportation and logistics director at investment firm Stifel; and Rob Martinez, president and CEO at Shipware, an audit and parcel consulting services company.

Over the next few pages, our experts offer their insight into what’s driving parcel market trends and offers some practical advice for how shippers need to re-adjust to ever-changing market conditions.

Logistics Management (LM): How would you describe today’s parcel marketplace?

Jerry Hempstead: All of the parcel carriers are doing well in volume and earnings—even the USPS is making money if you back out the Congressional mandates. And it’s clear that e-commerce is driving the volumes. To top it off, service levels this year are at record levels and are predictable and consistent.

My observation is that there’s no statistical difference between the service performance offered by FedEx and UPS across a year’s worth of activity, although FedEx offers a faster delivery on ground to about 25% more city pairs than UPS. This pressure on speeding up the promise and refining the networks to make the magic happen will only improve the consumer experience in parcel services.

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Why Supply Chain Visibility Tools are a Good Investment

Global supply and demand networks introduce distance, cultural and time-zone challenges, creating a need for greater visibility. Moreover, businesses are under constant pressure to cut supply chain costs and improve cycle times while meeting customer expectations. Ongoing mergers and acquisitions create even more complexity as each new division finds itself operating in silos and unable to leverage economies across the organization.

According to a recent report by Lora Cecere, founder and CEO of Supply Chain Insights LLC, two of the top global supply chain business pains for companies are increasing regulations and compliance and decreased clarity on decision-making across global and regional teams. Other major pain points included the ability to effectively use data; product quality and supplier reliability; availability of skilled people to do the job; and risk management.

To manage the opportunities and risks requires three supply chain visibility capabilities: quick access to global supply chain information; proactive supply chain alerts and the ability to manage by exception; and efficient collaboration with global trading partners. This type of visibility is more than tracking and tracing on the transportation leg. It’s following a product concept and subsequent purchase or sales order from design to final delivery, with all the compliance and finance steps along the way.

With easy access to real-time information, a company can monitor performance across the commercialization and purchase order lifecycles, including sourcing, logistics and import and export operations. With this insight, a company can improve its understanding of the impacts of decisions across its supply chain and respond quicker to potential issues. Similarly, supply chain visibility tools can help identify key metrics and create alerts to manage safety stock levels and minimum/maximum inventory levels, for example.

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Is Your Money Safe? Risk Management Blindspots That Cost Investors Dearly

Is Your Money Safe? Risk Management Blindspots That Cost Investors Dearly

Both retail and institutional investors who have survived one or more economic recessions have learned that they cannot select their money managers solely on a demonstrated stream of at or above benchmark returns and that they need to include the underlying risk of their investment portfolio in the formula that calculates expected future value. However, the risk denominator in portfolio management analytics may be underestimated or misestimated because of the following three industry problems:

1. The traditional view of risk is disaggregated

The traditional view segregates risk into market, credit and operational.

2. Regulators are approaching the industry reactively

Significant regulatory tightening ensued after the 2008 mortgage crisis.

3. Operational risks is not adequately represented

To manage market risk better, most investors are well aware of basic portfolio hygiene principles including the value of diversification, the importance of looking at volatility driven asset correlation, rebalancing, the criticality of subtracting leverage when assessing quality alpha, the value of protecting for inflation through IL bonds or inflation-hedging assets such as real estate.


How can investors make safer investments?

What could investors do in an environment of confusing regulatory requirements and limited transparency around operational risk? For starters, Investors can raise their awareness and employ alternatives to address the information asymmetry in the following ways:

1. Select asset managers that demonstrate commitment to operational risk management

Certainly some asset managers understand and are willing to invest in operational excellence and risk management.

2. Look for business partners that can help

Whenever there are potential gaps, new business models emerge and the industry evolves.

3. Improve your investment due-diligence process

Investors are in the best position to demand greater transparency and accountability from money managers and one way to do that is to raise the standards of due-diligence.

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Indonesia to Ease Curbs on Foreign Investment as Growth Slows

Indonesia to Ease Curbs on Foreign Investment as Growth Slows

Indonesia said it will allow foreign investment in airports and ports as the government seeks to revitalize an economy growing at the weakest pace since the global recession.

The country may also ease limits on overseas holdings in its telecommunications and pharmaceutical industries, the Investment Coordinating Board said today, hours after a report showed economic expansion slowed for a fifth quarter. Gross domestic product increased 5.62 percent in the three months ended Sept. 30 from a year earlier, as a declining rupiah restrained investment in Southeast Asia’s largest economy.

Indonesian policy makers are grappling with a depreciated exchange rate, elevated inflation and diminished foreign capital inflows undermining President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono’s legacy of economic stability before he steps down next year. His failure to fix infrastructure gaps in his two terms has added to price pressures, threatening his party’s chances at elections in 2014.

“The dust has yet to settle on the slowdown definitely,” said Wellian Wiranto, a Singapore-based investment strategist at the wealth-management unit of Barclays Plc. “Hopefully it will be replaced by construction dust coming from new infrastructure investment if they stick to these opening up measures.”

The rupiah fell 0.5 percent to 11,415 per dollar as of 3:45 p.m. in Jakarta today, according to prices from local banks compiled by Bloomberg. It has dropped more than 15 percent this year, the worst performer among Asia’s 11 most-active currencies tracked by Bloomberg.

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