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Consolidation is the key word in many industries today, and the European market for warehouse management systems (WMS) software is no exception. According to a recent report by the Netherlands branch of Capgemini, the business is becoming increasingly international. And that opens the door for large providers from North America. The smaller, regionally based vendors are in danger of being squeezed out by these incipient Goliaths, especially in the United Kingdom, Switzerland, Austria, Germany and the Benelux countries. Some of the incursions have been the result of acquisitions, such as RedPrairie's purchase of LIS and SSA's of EXE. Other vendors, such as Manhattan Associates, have expanded their reach through organic growth in Europe. There have also been a number of mergers within the European market, including Kewill's acquisition of Interchain and the FourSoft purchase of DCS Transport and Logistics Solutions. Then there are the big "enterprise" vendors such as SAP AG and Oracle Corp., which continue to expand their applications menus to cover additional links in the supply chain. Capgemini expects further consolidation of the European WMS market, as leading suppliers expand in Central and Eastern Europe as well. Smaller vendors will be forced to complete in niche areas of the WMS market, or through localized systems that are attractively priced, Capgemini said. In terms of technology, radio frequency identification, voice-directed systems and integration software will be major areas of focus.
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