November 2003 | Commentary | Supply Chain Technology

Using HighJump for Low Cost

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Supply chain execution software is a critical application for today's enterprises as they operate in a dynamic world of change. It's a world where the ability to respond to that change, cost effectively, can make or break their business.

One supplier of supply chain execution software is Eden Prairie, Minn.-based HighJump Software. The company's strategy and technology is designed to provide customers with a low cost of ownership.

"Our Supply Chain Advantage suite gives companies standard functionality to help solve their core supply chain challenges," says Chris Heim, HighJump's CEO. "This software is the result of years of experience in implementing systems for many sophisticated supply chains. The application helps companies achieve operational discipline and increased efficiencies."

No one set of best practices can be applied to all businesses. Companies need to work according to supply chain best practices, yet still hold on to those strategies that make their organization tick. That's where HighJump's adaptability tool set can help. "Companies can easily change their workflow when necessary with this software," Heim says. "And they don't need to get into custom code to make these changes."

Do-It-Yourself Upgrades

The architecture makes it easy to do upgrades, too. All customer changes remain outside the core platform. When HighJump does an upgrade, it sends out the same CD with a new version to all its customers. The customers upgrade to get more platform functionality, and still retain the changes they've made.

"We've had a number of customers perform complete system upgrades over the weekend by themselves," Heim says. "Although we're available to help, many companies can do this themselves and consequently save some money."

The savings customers have seen over time by making their own changes and upgrades is just one example of the low cost of ownership HighJump offers. Instead of bringing the software vendor in to make long, costly custom code changes, HighJump's architecture lets companies continually match their application to their business requirements quickly and cost effectively.

One HighJump customer, a third-party logistics provider, describes using the HighJump system as a selling point. When potential customers visit its facility, they're impressed with how quickly the 3PL can make changes and add specific services for the customer.

They also like the fact that adding a new customer to the system is very easy. They're up and running literally the next day. Specific HighJump capabilities contribute to supply chain execution adaptability for customers, according to Heim.

"When we set out to create a configurable warehouse management system, we didn't just start mapping it out on a white board. We listened to prospective customers," he says. "After many conversations, we saw a common problem companies had with their WMS: making system changes was so expensive, and taking these companies so much time, that they were just making do with systems that didn't meet their needs.

"So their WMS was, in some ways, a handicap for them, hindering more efficient operations. The HighJump tool set helps our customers adapt their solution to changing requirements," Heim says.

HighJump University

HighJump employs a customer-centric implementation process, using Advantage Implementation Methodology (AIM). AIM is a structured methodology that has been refined through 20 years of implementation experience.

Another interesting part of this process is HighJump University, which is a full series of both classroom and online training that is available to customers. "The better the customers learn the solutions and our tools, the easier it is for them to effectively own the system," Heim notes.

HighJump maintains partnerships with hardware, ERP, material handling, and third-party providers, and integrates these many sources into its product offerings.

"HighJump has its own flexible enterprise application integration (EAI) offering, called Advantage Link," Heim explains. "It is composed of many interfaces for a variety of enterprise applications, such as PeopleSoft ERP, Oracle ERP, and others, as well as material handling interfaces—voice picking, conveyors, carousels, automated guided vehicles and counting scales. It also has third-party interfaces.

"As with other pieces of our overall supply chain execution solution, this EAI gives customers interfaces that they can configure easily without having to get into custom code. Advantage Link has been honed over the years by working with customers and partners. In fact, our tight PeopleSoft interface is the result of joint design and development with PeopleSoft," Heim says.

More information on HighJump Software is available at its web site: www.highjumpsoftware.com.

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