BlueYonder 2019 – the Goldilocks WMS

“And this one is JUST RIGHT”, Goldilocks proclaims in the 19th-century fable. Since then the term “Goldilocks Conditions”, meaning the perfect conditions for whatever is next, has been applied to science, space exploration, and other endeavors. 

We are now 5 months post go-live of our first BlueYonder version 2019 WMS implementation – done in the EU with a large European 3PL and implemented in the JDA/BlueYonder Cloud. 

Our experience so far? Zero product defects reported, great performance, and a great experience for the customer. Our team came home early from the go-live and the site reported only very minor issues related to requested configuration tweaks (common during the post go-live period) over the past 5 months.

Our conclusion: This release might be the ultimate “Goldilocks WMS”.

Look, anyone reading my posts knows I am no JDA/BlueYonder cheerleader. In fact, some people used to ask me why I was such a “hater” in my previous posts. I was never a “hater”, but I was extremely frustrated, especially after the disastrous merger of RP and JDA, by the lack of focus on WMS and good product decisions. See my previous postings if you want some background.

Fast forward to 2019. A new CEO and C-Level team have reinvigorated the organization. Additionally, starting with the 2017 release, some tragic missteps with the product, mostly during the initial years of the JDA/RP merger, have been largely rectified – leading to this impressive release – and a new name: BlueYonder.

Like any software package, there are releases and there are great releases – this is a great release. To give some context on this current release, and being the only person who has implemented every version of this software, these are my favorites:

  • Dominica (v4) – This is the last SAI release before we sold to RedPrairie (RP). Largely driven by a MOCA re-write and support for both Windows servers and Unix, it was the release that made several other WMS companies say to themselves “someone needs to buy those guys or they’ll be trouble”. We sold to RP shortly after this release went live in several sites – one of which is still running (although obviously upgraded a few times).
  • 2009.2 – A lot of distance between Dominica and 2009.2 with lot of fits and starts after selling to RP. Not to mention the ensuing internal battles between DCS and DMPlus factions at RP. These were finally resolved in the 2009 release. The release, driven by the terrific DCS team at RP, along with a lot of input from implementation teams and customers, was killer. A lot of customers, especially 3PLs, paused here for quite a few years as it really did everything right (well – and 2010 was a mess).
  • 2013.2 (and 8.x and customer-specific 2014 follow-ons) – Similar to 2009, this release saw a lot of things come together. The modernization of MOCA, led by the brilliant Derek Inksetter and his team at RP, and hardening of the discontinuities in the 2010 and 2012 versions all came together in this great release. Becoming another pause-point for customers, the release was just plain solid and good at everything.
  • 2019 – this generation of software started with the 2016(9.1)/2017 releases. At that time, JDA/BlueYonder had our teams at GetUsROI do the final QA run on the software for them. While we saw good quality in those initial versions, our strong comment back to them was that the loss of DDAs in the Web UI (as Page Builder was not an adequate substitute for this at the time) would stop people from wanting to upgrade past 2013/8.x. This Page Builder issue is largely corrected in 2019.

While the 2019 Page Builder is not a 100% replacement for DDAs, it is close. I would argue, in fact, that the major differences have more to do with the metaphor of Web UIs (vs thick client) than the actual technology of DDA vs Page Builder. In other words, it may not be a 1-for-1 replacement of DDAs, but if you factor in the basic differences in the way you want to portray things on a “Web” oriented screen – you should have what you need.

A lot of other things, obviously, went into this release. Chief among these, for implementers like us, who work on the most difficult, high-volume, highly automated sites running JDA/BlueYonder software, has to do with the obvious concentration on performance improvements. A lot of work seems to have gone on in this regard during 2017 and 2018 with the 2019 release reaps those benefits.

Finally, for implementers who really know this product, MOCA is still present and adding a lot of the value it always has. While needed less than in previous releases, especially for non-automated implementations, the unique ability this product has to tune micro-flows at the micro-services level simply has no rivals. From its inception, this WMS has always sought to be the best combination of configurable high-level flows and tunable micro-flows through MOCA scripting. A lot of that is still alive and well.

While still imperfect, as all software is, with all the work from 2017-2019 coming together within this release – one is led, undeniably, to the conclusion that this WMS is, indeed, just right. 

BlueYonder 2019, the Goldilocks WMS.