In an exclusive interview with CIOApplications, Lee Rector, Executive Vice President, Mantis Informatics uncovers several resourceful insights about his organization’s execution management solutions and software, their unique value proposition, and roadmap for the future.
1) What led to Mantis’ founding? Can you provide a quick overview of the journey?
The story behind Mantis’ inception dates back to the year 1996 when the first version of the execution management software was developed. The software was heavily coded, and it required the customers to have significant resources and over 10-15 years of experience to get the software up and running. In the year 2000, Mantis developed the second version of the software by building execution management tools over a more contemporary and object-oriented type programming. This made things easier for programmers; however, it still fell short in addressing the complexities faced by the end-users of the customers. By this time, the market itself evolved, demanding tools that would eliminate the customers’ need to go back to their providers and spend large amounts of money on getting small changes or reports out of those execution software systems. A multitude of companies in the execution management space were pinned under two significant limitations— lack of in-house programmers and inaccessibility to the program source code. Over the next 14 years, Mantis perfected their WMS software to mitigate this particular challenge in execution management and built its final version of the software. Built on the premise of rapid implementation and a do-it-yourself model, Mantis’ execution management software turned out to be precisely what the market needed.
The customers can have the solution up and running at 40 percent of typical tier 1 WMS vendors for implementation and internal resources. Additionally, the continuous support to the client is reduced by 90 percent when the client has their own IT department. The customers are provisioned with a set of robust tools that enable them to perform their own reporting from their dashboards to build their process flowcharts without having to recode the software or recompile it whenever a change is made.
2) Can you provide a brief overview of Mantis’ product portfolio and the various features that it offers?
Since the beginning, we have incorporated a significant amount of automation control, a vital part of which is embedded inside the software that enables us to stay clear of using third-party interpreters and communication protocols.
We have incorporated a significant amount of automation control, a vital part of which is embedded inside the software that enables us to stay clear of using third-party interpreters and communication protocols
Over the last 18 months we have made a concentrated effort to extend and market our technology that involves voice, smart glasses, RFID. We combined them all into one wearable package called VVR (voice, vision, and RFID) that allows clients to get 100 percent accuracy on their picks as well as increase management efficiency. Mantis’ suite of tools is easily integrated with the customer’s infrastructure, depending on their intrinsic requirements. We have mainly included all processes into one execution system. The software suite has a core functionality of a tier 1 WMS solution through which we have extended features such as billing modules. Moreover, 3PLs are also constituted as a vital part of our business and customer base, for which we have developed advanced level slotting, planning, and design inside our solution. With our labor monitoring dashboard, we have over 1800 KPIs available to the end-user and at any given time.
As an organization with its business spread across 40 counties, Mantis is known to be a prominent global player in the execution management market. Because of this diversity, we have developed our product suite with over 16 different languages that are embedded within the software. This provides us a strategic advantage when it comes to languages, user preference, and what we would like to call ‘the presentation layer of our software.’
3) Could you share a specific customer success story in which you helped your customer to unlock business benefits with the help of your solutions?
Mantis has a vast clientele that has enjoyed successful engagements with us. For instance, our company and its solution were instrumental in helping one of the top five 3PL providers in the country. The client implemented our solution to manage their 14 sites with over 500 users. It seemed like a difficult endeavor to manage all the users with three individuals to provide consistent support. Mantis’ solution not only enabled the client with seamless software implementation, but they were also able to have it up and running with minimal cost and in a limited time frame. We went ahead to implement the solution at one-tenth of the cost of global systems that the client had in place for implementation. In addition, we also provided them with a self-service implementation model that enabled them to get the execution software up and running on their own for their future sites.
4) What according to you is the work culture at Mantis, and how does it impact the stature of the company?
The team at Mantis follows a principle-centered leadership where everybody is focused on the same goal. One of the key things that invariably sets us apart and ahead of the competition is that we have one core product, and we specialize in delivering just that with utmost efficiency. With an entrepreneurial culture and experienced professionals, we at Mantis bring our clients the advantage of exceptionally flexible and adaptable in the market.
5) What does the roadmap hold for Mantis in the next 12-18 months?
Currently, from a geographical standpoint, we have our first implementations underway in Asia. We have also reached a high implementation rate in North America, which is expected to increase our user base further by two or three hundred percent in the next 18 months. From an organizational perspective, Mantis is moving forward with a touch of technology and automation. We are well-positioned to support the growth of automation in warehouse execution management within the markets of North America and bring new technologies such as our proprietary VVR package to eliminate the need for third-party middleware systems.