Supply Chain Matters recently had the opportunity to participate in a business and product briefing from LLamasoft, and was favorably impressed with both the full featured functionality and market growth of this technology provider.

For readers who may not be familiar, LLamasoft is a privately-held provider of global supply chain design and predictive analytics software headquartered in Ann Arbor Michigan. Beyond its funky, and sometimes difficult to remember name, there is quite a lot of available functionality for consideration.

The company was founded in 1998 by a group of talented academics, with the company’s flagship platform Supply Chan Guru coming to market in 2003.  Since that time, there has been considerable functionality added, including the introduction of a simulation engine in 2007. Supply Chain Guru now forms the basis of a common database upon which additional analytical and simulation tools are generated, offering users rather important capabilities for performing multiple forms of supply chain analysis from a consistent set of data. What further impressed me about Guru was its robust and easy-to-use user interface, along with a variety of rich visualization, import-export, and user reporting tools.

The Supply Chain Guru platform forms the basis of a number of supply chain analytical applications, including supply chain design and network optimization, simulation and multi-echelon inventory optimization.  The company has garnered quite an impressive list of customers from multiple industry settings, which is not surprising when considering all of the various analytical capabilities that come with Guru.

Having previous marketing leadership responsibilities in the inventory optimization domain, I was especially impressed with the product flow optimization, safety stock placement, and pre-build or pre-buy inventory analysis incorporated in LLamasoft’s inventory optimization application. With recent vendor consolidation in the IO vendor arena, LLamasoft was able to take advantage of an application area that continues to garner a lot of supply chain team interest.

Another important consideration of Guru is that it has the potential to be a broad-based, all -purpose supply chain analytical tool by providing the ability to appeal to many different skill levels of functional users.  Supply chain planners and strategists can utilize analytical tools related to global supply chain design, simulation, or what-if analysis.  Strategic sourcing and procurement teams can take advantage of product sourcing or pre-buy inventory analysis, while inventory planners can analyze and optimize inventory stocking and trade-offs across the entire supply chain.  Sustainability teams can leverage the greenhouse gas analysis application to formulate the impact or tradeoff of various green supply chain initiatives. Sales and operations planning (S&OP) teams have the ability to utilize many of the analytical modules in performing various simulation and what-if analysis, along with presenting key information to executive audiences. Supply chain consulting teams also utilize applications within Guru as a basis of analysis and strategic trade-offs, and often, the tool can remain for continued use by existing planning and analysis teams.

Last September, Guru’s Data Connector utility was certified for interoperability with SAP ECC 6.04, and SAP recently announced that LLamasoft has been designated as a certified partner for supply chain network design and strategic planning.

If your organization is considering an investment in supply chain analytical and modeling technology, you may want to consider LLamasoft on your evaluation listing.

Bob Ferrari