LogFire has its head in the clouds

Cloud-based WMS keeps growing and evolving

By ·

The WMS business feels like 1999 all over again. Back then, there were a couple hundred application providers and start ups were popping up all the time. After the tech crash, many of those companies went away, were gobbled up by larger competitors like Manhattan Associates, RedPrairie and HighJump or rolled up into new companies such as Accellos and Cadre Technologies.

Now, the startups are back, but the focus for many of these new companies is the cloud. The other day I spoke to Neil Thall, executive vice president of strategy for one of these new players, LogFire.

Now about 4 years old, LogFire was started as a consulting firm that focused on implementations and upgrades of traditional software systems, including Manhattan Associates. The company counts Home Depot, Macy’s and Hot Topic among its roster of clients.

LogFire’s pedigree is impressive. Company founder Diego Pantoja-Navajas, Thall and many of LogFire’s consultants have experience with brand name supply chain management companies. Pantoja-Navajas, for instance, was a senior consultant at Manhattan Associates and a manager at Aldata. Thall was an executive vice president at Manhattan and CEO of Aldata Solution.

While the company began as a consulting firm, LogFire soon realized there was an opportunity to provide add-on software applications to its existing customers and to provide a full-blown WMS to 3PLs, mid-size retailers and mid-size suppliers to retailers who weren’t being served by the traditional WMS market. Although LogFire will implement behind the firewall, like a traditional WMS, or host a system, the focus is on a cloud strategy. “Technology in the cloud can be developed much faster than traditional software,” says Thall. “What’s more, traditional software has to be updated every three years and that has priced many end users out of the market.”

After a consulting gig or two south of the border, it also led to a focus on South America. “South America is a Greenfield opportunity that was not being mined,” Thall says. “The Chilean and Brazilian economies are doing very well and we’re seeing opportunities in Colombia and Peru.” For example, LogFire is installing a WMS in the largest super market chain in Peru.

“On of the things we heard going in is that it’s hard to do business in South America,” says Thall. “That is true. But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t do it. You have robust economies that respect what we’re doing in the US and want to learn more. We’ve taken the time to learn how to do business there and to do it right.” Today, he adds, half of LogFire’s business is coming from South America.

While cloud solutions have traditionally been less robust that conventional WMS, Thall argues that is changing. “We have full inbound and outbound functionality with visibility. We are RF and voice enabled. And, we can install our systems in a retail store as well as a DC to give full visibility across a supply chain.”

LogFire has also developed “cool guy” functionality, such as interfaces to smart phones and iPads.

“We can install a system in six to eight weeks in a complex distribution center,” he says. “The up front costs are low, there are no licensing fees and our billing model is based upon your volume. That’s attractive to 3PLs because we can match our costs to their revenues.”

Cloud solutions are certainly the fastest growing space in supply chain software, but still a relatively small slice of the revenue pie. Long term, it’s hard to say which model will prevail. But it’s a fascinating space to watch as it develops.


About the Author

Bob Trebilcock
Bob Trebilcock, editorial director, has covered materials handling, technology, logistics and supply chain topics for nearly 30 years. In addition to Supply Chain Management Review, he is also Executive Editor of Modern Materials Handling. A graduate of Bowling Green State University, Trebilcock lives in Keene, NH. He can be reached at 603-357-0484.

Subscribe to Modern Materials Handling Magazine!

Subscribe today. It's FREE!
Find out what the world’s most innovative companies are doing to improve productivity in their plants and distribution centers.
Start your FREE subscription today!

Article Topics

Automation · LogFire · · All Topics
Latest Whitepaper
Mobile Solutions: Improving Supply Chain Efficiencies
To meet customer's ever-increasing service expectations and improve their business efficiency, companies are looking to their supply chain operations – especially material handling and warehouse operations managers.
Download Today!
From the February 2017 Modern Materials Handling Issue
In warehouses and DCs, planning solutions tend to take a back seat to execution system functions. Vendors are working to boost the trust factor using tools that break down forecasts and blend with analytics.
Automated Storage on the Move
Receiving 101: Setting the Table for Success
View More From this Issue
Subscribe to Our Email Newsletter
Sign up today to receive our FREE, weekly email newsletter!
Latest Webcast
2016 Warehouse/DC Operations Webcast: Confronting omni-channel complexity
During this webcast we’ll examine the current activities, trends, and best practices in warehouse and DC operations management and how companies plan to address complex issues associate with omni-channel fulfillment.
Register Today!
EDITORS' PICKS
Johnson & Johnson: A vision for automation
J&J Vision Care brings together a variety of automated technologies, including an innovative...
Using AGVs at LEDVANCE
The lighting manufacturer reaped savings by reducing maintenance costs and product damage, and using...

System Report: Sustainable Distribution at REI
Specialty outdoor retailer REI’s new distribution center brings together the next generation of...
System Report: Whirlpool puts mobile robots to work
In Whirlpool Corp.’s Clyde, Ohio, factory, mobile robots have automated the delivery of parts to...