Momentum 2024: Pushing Possible with Manhattan Associates

Pushing Possible at Momentum 2024 with Manhattan Associates

Last week I had the opportunity to attend Momentum 2024 hosted by Manhattan Associates. I had the chance to see the latest announcements from Manhattan, discuss some of these announcements through LinkedIn Lives, attend sessions to learn more about end users’ experiences and connect with many of their partners. My biggest takeaways were their announcement of Supply Chain Planning, usage of Generative AI and their positioning for the future.

Supply Chain Planning

The first big announcement at Momentum was Manhattan’s new Supply Chain Planning platform. Now, you may be thinking, isn’t supply chain planning already a thing? Yes, of course it is but they are taking supply chain planning into the modern age to have a deeper impact further down the supply chain than we have historically seen.

Traditionally we look at supply chain planning’s major focus as inventory management, meaning, do we have enough inventory to cover our forecast and not go out of stock but also not have too much. Not necessarily the easiest thing to do in some cases. However, this can result in potential negative impacts downstream even if you have the required amount of inventory. From an operations perspective, if we are experiencing surges of inbound inventory then we can end up with bottlenecks and higher costs. To work through these challenges we need to expand our capacity which could mean extra equipment, overtime hours or bringing in additional temporary labor which all comes at a cost. 

To address these issues, Manhattan’s new Supply Chain Planning goes beyond just planning inventory and takes into consideration all of the operational factors as well – it is truly pioneering and bringing supply chain unification to life with supply chain planning and supply chain execution. This is challenging the traditional thinking of just getting inventory. Now, we want to be able to get the right amount of inventory at the right time so that we can optimize our operational actions as well. The executives also explained how by planning inventory in a different way we can see cost savings on overall labor spend. This new tool will enable you to be more efficient and give you real time access to information to account for any disruptions.

AI in the Warehouse

One of the most frequent questions I get asked is “how is AI being utilized in the warehouse?” and there are definitely a number of different solutions being developed using multiple different types of AI but the most common usage is Generative AI which is what ChatGPT utilizes. During Momentum there were two generative AI solutions announced, one focused on customer service and retail and the other, a GenAI tool that can answer general questions about any Manhattan Active solution by generating responses from the product’s knowledgebase and it can also answer questions regarding the product’s configuration.

So how is Manhattan utilizing AI in the warehouse? Well, if you aren’t familiar with Manhattan Active WMS it is a cloud-native WMS that has a robust number of features that can scale with you over time. A feature can be turned on only when it’s needed so there is nothing extra until you need it. They also push out new updates to the Manhattan Active platform every 90 days so there are constant upgrades and features for a user to utilize without any downtime or disruptions to business. 

Now, system configuration is complex and hard to understand for many users. Oftentimes in order to determine how to configure an update or feature in a system there needs to be a support call or ticket put in for assistance. Now, with Manhattan Assist, their new generative AI tool, these support calls can be greatly reduced. Assist is available in all parts of Manhattan Active and acts as a chatbot where you can ask any questions regarding configuration of the current part of the system you are in. It can give you high level information and continue to dig deeper depending on the information the user is looking for, simplifying the world of configurations. 

Future Positioning

Undoubtedly the warehouse has evolved and become incredibly more tech-focused over the last few years. We are witnessing rapid advancement in systems, hardware, automation and robotics in our space which is amazing to see. It is a known fact that warehouses are having difficulties finding human labor and that the latest automation and introduction of robots in the workforce can definitely help pick up some of that slack. At Momentum, Manhattan was highlighting many of these advancements in the space through their Discovery Center where several of their partners had kiosks to discuss their offerings and how they work with Manhattan’s multiple platforms.

Aside from the puppies and sloths, the highlight of the Discovery Center for me was certainly Agility Robotics’ humanoid robot named Digit. While Digit may steal the show, it’s important to understand that just a few years ago you wouldn’t have found robots of any kind at a conference like this. Now, robotics are prevalent throughout the industry and Manhattan is recognizing these advancements through their partnerships. Manhattan’s warehouse execution system (WES) is embedded in their WMS which means that integrations with partners like Agility can be more seamless and happen more efficiently. In my eyes, this is a big win because the more you can streamline your systems to be able to communicate and work effectively together the faster you can implement and the more overall benefit you will see. 

Keep your eyes on what Manhattan is up to and how they continue to evolve their offerings to meet the needs of a modern warehouse and overall supply chain. 

More on Manhattan?

Find our live streams from Momentum 2024 on our LinkedIn or listen to our previous podcast featuring them here:

Podcast: 413 Creating Sustainable Supply Chain Strategies for a Greener Future

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© The New Warehouse.
All rights reserved.