I’ve completed research on supply chain planning (SCP) boutiques. My colleague Clint Reiser has completed a study on warehouse management system (WMS) boutiques. We are teaming up to bring you the coolest supply chain boutiques, listed alphabetically, that we identified through those studies.
What is a boutique? A boutique is a small, regionally focused system integration and consulting firm. Supply chain boutiques garner a high percentage of their revenues from implementing supply chain applications and doing various forms of supply chain consulting. For companies looking for a more intimate relationship with their consultant, and a firm that tends to have deeper application-specific domain expertise, boutiques are a good choice. They also tend to be less expensive than the global consulting firms.
Bricz is a consultancy with a focus on all things warehousing – appropriately headquartered in the logistics hotbed of Atlanta. Bricz is agnostic to WMS vendors, providing objective insights to its clients from solution design, WMS selection, process and technology mapping, and even warehouse control system and robotics selections. They assist their clients through the implementation process, incorporating their knowledge into the process as a trusted advisor to their clients. The company’s list of clients includes a wealth of household retail brands, 3PLs, and distribution companies.
Clarkston Consulting is focused on the Consumer Goods and Life Sciences industries. Their consulting goes beyond supply chain management to include a broader strategic engagement that could include issues like customer intimacy, trade promotion optimization, innovation, and regulatory planning and remediation. But in practice, these different areas often need to be tackled at the same time. About half of their work is upfront strategic consulting and about half is in the implementation area. The implementation work is often the downstream result of a strategic engagement. In SCP, they have one of the largest practices in North America. About half of their implementations are of SAP’s SCP solution. They also have a rigorous approach to integrated business planning consulting.
enVista provides across-the-board supply chain and logistics consulting. WMS has been a historical centerpiece to the practice. enVista is system agnostic and assists its customers from WMS strategy and assessment, evaluation and selection, to system implementation, through to post implementation support. They were Koerber’s WMS partner of the year in 2022. Their supply chain execution business also includes facility and automation design.
But enVista has a whole other side to their business many are unaware of. They do supply chain strategic consulting and supply chain planning implementations. They have developed a proprietary inventory analysis tool that can not only help companies achieve service level goals with less inventory, but the inventory analysis can also flow into helping design an efficient warehouse layout. They also probably have more consultants who can do strategic consulting based on the use of supply chain design software than any other consultant in the world.
Open Sky Group is perhaps best known for being Blue Yonder’s largest dedicated WMS partner. However, the company has expanded its reach beyond its knowledge of WMS consulting and implementations to transportation management implementations and the creation and deployment of its own software suite – Kaleidoscope. In fact, the company’s knowledge of Blue Yonder’s WMS and its experience working with Blue Yonder clients informed its development of software functionality to extend and enhance Blue Yonder’s offering. This led to the development of its Enhanced Client Billing and 3PL Portal solutions, which then expanded to the development of business analytics and cost-to-serve capabilities. These proprietary products are system-agnostic and able to augment not only Blue Yonder WMS but also the capabilities of other WMS systems.
Spinnaker SCA does more supply chain planning (SCP) system integration and consulting than any other boutique in North America. They have also developed a fine reputation. In a short amount of time, I was able to talk to three of their customers. All of them were happy with the work Spinnaker did. One of their customers, Micron, went on an extraordinary supply chain journey with Spinnaker’s assistance. Spinnaker is vendor-agnostic when it comes to implementing SCP solutions. However, they do more implementations of Blue Yonder than any other SCP software supplier and Blue Yonder executives consider Spinnaker their best boutique partner when it comes to SCP.
Trinamix has a significant Oracle SCP practice. Oracle has high respect for Trinamix. If Oracle is going into a deal where the potential customer is apt to want industry-specific features or other functionality that Oracle does not have, they prefer to bring Trinamix along to the sales pitch. In fact, they prefer Trinamix in these situations over all other consulting firms – even the very large, much better-known, global consulting firms. That is because Trinamix can efficiently build extensions to the Oracle SCP solution using the Oracle product development toolkit. Those extensions are built in such a way that when the customer upgrades, the extensions are carried along as if they were part of the core SCP product.