Software is the engine of the supply chain, says Gregg A. Lanyard, director of product management for Manhattan Associates, but it must adapt to a customer's needs.
Adapting to the challenges posed by the pandemic is key to a company’s survival, Lanyard says, and having the right software can bring the agility needed to respond quickly and accurately.
“I think we can all agree that supply chain software is really the engine that drives most supply chains,” says Lanyard. “Whether it's ERP [enterprise resource planning], warehouse management or transportation management, what's under the hood matters. And in the world that we're living in, we're hearing a lot about disruption and how businesses and companies must adapt to change. How can they be agile? So if you have software that can adapt to that change, you're going to be in a much better position than those that do not.”
Lanyard likens software to “big balls of Play-Doh”: pliable at first, but hard to work with when it stiffens. “Lines and lines of code — they become hard to manage and make changes. What code is going to change? How well is it going to work?”
Software should be like Lego toys: blocks that work together, that are independent, identifiable, and can be easily removed, put back or added to. “That’s the new model we call microservices,” says Lanyard. “It allows for a much more flexible, agile and adaptable software engine under the covers.” Although it represents a big investment, he sees it as the future of software. Companies implementing supply-chain software have special requirements, and the need to modify applications in a manner unique to them. Lanyard’s “Lego” approach enables enhancements and modifications to be made much faster: “You can now execute the way that you need to from a company perspective.”
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