Oh No! App Mania Has Hit The Supply Chain!

Prepare to be nickel-and-dimed one feature at a time. It’s coming.

Unlike the author of a recent post in the SCMR blogs, I am not pleasantly surprised by the amount of effort being put into smartphone app development right now. First of all, there’s only so much you can do on a smartphone screen. For the vast majority of analytical supply management applications, smartphones just don’t make sense. Secondly, unless you have constant access to free wifi, you’re not going to want to download megabytes of data and push your mobility bill through the roof. Thirdly, the real value in supply management systems materializes when data flows from one to the next — and all of the relevant data is available. Data stuck in a standalone app that doesn’t do much more than display that data isn’t very useful.

Plus, do you really need 100+ WMS apps? Really? No! There aren’t 100 WMS applications, and if you think there are, then what you are really buying is 100 different instances of a WMS workflow engine custom tailored to a specific situation. You’re paying for 90% of the same functionality 100 times over. I guess it’s good for the vendor if they can create 100 apps by only doing the work required to create 11 and charging you for each and every app, but it’s not good for you.

HighJump, one company that plans to release up to 100 apps a year, may try to tell you that it’s a great idea because it is a way to get new functionality in your system without waiting for a new release, but you don’t need apps for that. If you’re using a true multi-tenant SaaS application, then you get every update the vendor makes as soon as its available, and you get it all for one maintenance fee.

In other words, if you want to needlessly empty the corporate bank account, there’s an app for that.