AS/400 Takes Manhattan

Continuing a growing trend in the AS/400 market, Manhattan Associates Inc. (Atlanta) and IBM have announced an agreement whereby IBM pre-loads PkMS -- Manhattan’s supply chain execution solution -- on the AS/400 platform. This announcement adds Manhattan's software to a rapidly expanding list of solution developers who have struck similar pre-load deals with IBM.

"We chose Manhattan because it has a very credible package for warehouse automation," says David Burg, solutions marketing manager for IBM America. "They’ve met unbiased customer requirements, and they’re software has flexibility and functionality that IBM supports for the AS/400."

IBM started the pre-load trend two years ago, according to Burg. "Initially it was just a couple of large ERP providers. But it was so successful that we’ve expanded it," he adds.

Since that time, pre-loaded AS/400 applications have taken off as more and more software companies enter into agreements with IBM. Burg says pre-loading software on AS/400s is valuable "for a number of reasons, primarily because it saves the company the time of having to get the software up and running. It saves the company money, because they don’t have to pay for man-hours to get the product installed."

Presently, IBM has pre-load agreements with 14 ERP software companies, including: J.D. Edwards, Infinium, SAP and SSA, among others. Burg, for one, thinks the number could continue to grow. "I think the pre-load trend will increase because many customers are happy with it and have told us it is very efficient, and it also helps bring our relationship with these companies to another level."

Pete Dabbiere, general manager for hardware systems for Manhattan Assoc., says pre-loading PkMS is valuable "because it saves both time and money. There’s a lot of time involved in loading and setting up the application and doing tuning to optimize performance on the AS/400, and now you don’t have to do that."

PkMS acts as a warehouse management system designed to support large volumes of transactions and users for manufacturers and distributors. The solution enables companies to move goods through the supply chain in a quick and efficient manner by optimizing receipt, storage and distribution of inventory, while at the same time managing equipment and personnel. PkMS is also installed with industry-specific functionality to handle requirements dictated by a company’s customers.

Additional PkMS features include: continuous upgradability, increased inventory accuracy rates, ongoing compliance to the top 100 U.S. retailers’ specific guidelines, improved space utilization, and faster learning curve for system users. The current version, PkMS '99 R1, has been available since March of this year.

For Manhattan Associates, the agreement with IBM represents a big step in its efforts to gain market share in the supply chain execution solutions field. "This new relationship will allow us to maintain and strengthen our edge in speed and quality of implementation as PkMS is loaded and quality assurance tested before arriving at a customer’s distribution center," says Alan Dabbiere, president and CEO of Manhattan Associates. "We have long maintained a clear and consistent position regarding innovation in the software industry. The IBM pre-load is just another way we are embracing new opportunities to provide a best-of-breed solution to our clients."