The recent acquisition by Logility of Halo represents an important step forward for the supply chain market. Halo has many meanings but one is a circle of light. I think it’s an appropriate name for the company and results customers can expect to achieve — shining a light across the supply chain, reaching into all that data and gaining new insights.
Why is this acquisition so important?
- As we know, the supply chain is a fabric of many processes, data source, enterprises and events across the chain. And these threads of data come in all sorts of data formats. Traditional systems (such as ERP) are still reliant on columns and rows as their exclusive format for acquiring and analyzing data. Halo can take in many types of data — structured and unstructured — and present them in visually, meaningful formats.
- Supply chains are multi-enterprise. Analytics for the chain, therefore, has to be open — not necessarily embedded within a single solution. Enterprise systems are closed structures by necessity. But supply chain systems need to be open. Thus, a Halo can sit on top of various data structures and systems that may be within or across the chain.
- We need more predictiveness. We have plenty of history in our existing systems. Most applications that say they are predictive just rely on history. Yes, history is good for learning, for gleaning patterns which Logility/Halo can do with machine learning, neural nets and so on — algorithmic planning. But now they go a step forward, pulling and sensing events and presenting important ones to users — not just as alerts — in context of other factors.
I took a look at some of the elements of Halo and was pleased to see that many of the nagging issues I often talk to customers about, they had solutions for. For example:
- Customer profitability: Impacts of policy on inventory, cost to serve, analyzing changes in price and other service factors with customers and the impact these may have on profits and potential sales.
- Evaluation of pipeline risk: For many industries there is a lot of inventory sitting in the channel. This presents several huge issues such as: markdowns with the loss of profit; subsequent cannibalizing of new product introductions; and reduction in sales as channel partners try to burn off inventory. Brand and pricing goals can be affected as savvy customers search across the web to look for products at a reduced price.
- Dynamic Collaboration: Halo takes collaboration to a higher — interactive — level. Rather than quarterly or annual metrics reports, Halo can provide interactive metric reporting on performance with your 3PLs and suppliers. They can see how they are doing, and make the needed fixes now. This also provides the ability, then, for partners to have an uncontested view and discussion between one another — a real foundation for collaboration!
Other examples that are important to supply chain management today include:
- Supplier volatility and risk
- Customer variable demand
- Environmental events that affect supply or demand, and
- Cash and profit management, to name a few.
An important consideration is that for many users, though talked about, discovery and analytics are kind of new areas. And there are so many factors that can impact performance. Logility has gained in the Halo acquisition a substantial team of data scientists that work with customers on learning, using and designing — if necessary — additional views and reports. This capability will augment Logility’s existing managed services offerings.
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