In April, Supply Chain Matters alerted our readers to news that supply chain design and analysis technology provider LLamasoft had acquired IBM’s LogicTools supply chain network design applications business unit, including rights to LogicNet Plus, Inventory, Product Flow Analyst and Transportation Analyst. At the time of the announcement, our initial view was that this deal was one more related to customer acquisition and opportunities to up-sell existing LogicTools customers with broader LLamasoft applications coverage. Our suspicion was that LogicTools was an orphan within IBM’s Smarter Commerce supply chain management family of applications and services without a strategic fit.

Last week, we finally had the opportunity to speak with LLamasoft management and learn more about this acquisition, explore the strategy behind this acquisition as well as progress to-date.

Our conversation with Jeff Metersky, vice president for customer success at LLamasoft confirmed that the acquisition was a “no-brainer”, and afforded the opportunity to remove a recognized stand-alone supply chain network design technology competitor from the market as well as remove a burden from IBM.  Metersky acknowledged that while the LogicTools technology is dated, it is providing recognized value for its customer base. After the acquisition was announced, many customers directly praised LLamasoft management for the move and felt that their installed software would fare better in terms of being part of a broader supply chain network design expert community, ongoing support or added product migration options.

LLamasoft offered the small contingent of existing LogicTools employee’s positions and has now assumed software maintenance and support for existing customers.  Once more, the provider is now actively evaluating broader product strategy options related to its flagship supply chain network design application, Supply Chain Guru, which is in the midst of a major upgrade cycle. The opportunity is to provide existing customers the best from both applications while providing continued continuity for existing LogicTools customer who either continues with maintaining their current software, or consider an upgrade path to broader functionality. LLamasoft Supply Chain Guru currently supports a broad variety of supply chain design and analysis needs that include multi-echelon inventory, product flow-path and production modeling optimization. According to Metersky, in the currently planned new release, the application will be provided with a more modernized user-friendly interface and added functionality options including the best features of existing LogicTools applications.

After our post-acquisition briefing with LLamasoft, Supply Chain Matters is of the belief that while the acquisition was indeed focused on customer acquisition, existing LogicTools users will indeed gain benefits in attention and technology upgrade options. Existing LLamasoft Supply Chain Guru customers’ may have to wait longer for the next product release but now have the opportunity to collaborate with a broader community of supply chain network design multi-industry expertise as well as gain some added supply chain analytical functionality.

However, those remaining sales and operations planning or supply chain planning teams that are merely seeking to augment their supply chain management capabilities  with stand-alone supply chain network design or inventory optimization capabilities will face limited options.

The broader market implication is that LLamasoft remains on a competitive collision course with existing ERP and best-of-breed supply chain planning providers who are targeting predictive and prescriptive analytical support planning capabilities in their strategic growth plans. The more that supply chain network predictive analysis functionality is collectively sought, the more these two worlds collide.

We may well hear more news regarding this area in the week and months to come.

Bob Ferrari