Supply chains have existed since the very first good or service was produced and sold in antiquity. SCM advanced with the advent of industrialization, enabling businesses to produce and distribute goods and services more effectively. Supply chain management software systems have become more complex throughout time as a result of little adjustments (like the creation of computers). SCM, however, largely remained a linear, segregated operation that was overseen by supply chain experts for generations.
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Although SCM has always been a cornerstone of business, the supply chain is now more important than ever as a gauge of a company’s success. The businesses that can successfully manage their supply chains to change with the rapidly evolving, turbulent, and technologically driven business environment of today will survive and prosper.
SCM has traditionally focused on boosting productivity and cutting expenses. Although these needs remain the same, the client now occupies a central position in determining the SCM priorities. Customer experiences “live and die in the supply chain,” so the saying goes.
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What is supply chain management software?
At its most basic level, supply chain management software (SCM) is the control of the movement of materials, information, and money associated with a good or service from the acquisition of raw materials to the delivery of the good at the final location.
Even though the supply chain and logistics are sometimes confused, logistics is actually only one part of the supply chain. Modern SCM systems are digitally based and incorporate material handling and software for all parties engaged in the creation of goods and services, order fulfillment, and information tracking, including suppliers, manufacturers, wholesalers, carriers, and retailers.
Procurement, product lifecycle management, supply chain planning (including inventory planning and the upkeep of enterprise assets and production lines), logistics (including fleet management and transportation), and order management are all part of the supply chain. Supply chain management software can also be used to manage activities related to international trade, such as managing multinational production systems and managing global suppliers.
The benefits of supply chain management software
Supply chain management software benefits will be discussed below:
1. Enhanced visibility
Effective supply chain management depends on knowing where and what is happening in your supply chain. SCM software gives you a centralized picture of the people, processes, and technologies used across all operations, giving you end-to-end insight of your supply chain. By enhancing data exchange and collaboration between suppliers, distributors, and retailers, improved transparency enables companies to track performance along the whole supply chain.
2. Increased efficiency
Inefficient supply chains cost businesses a lot of money since time equals money. You may speed up execution by identifying and eliminating bottlenecks that are slowing down supply chain activities. In addition, productivity is increased and time-to-market is shortened by integrating supply chain management software with existing systems and automating manual operations.
The cost of raw materials, delivery schedules, and sales numbers are just a few examples of the wealth of useful information generated by each operation along the supply chain. You can monitor process performance and make data-driven decisions to enhance supply chain operations and give customers the greatest experience possible thanks to supply chain management software, which gives you real-time access to this data.
4. Reduced costs
The performance of your organization as a whole and your bottom line can both be significantly impacted by cost reduction. With the help of a supply chain management solution, you may cut expenses like those related to inventory stacking and eliminate waste by enhancing quality control. Additionally, by tracking payments, suppliers are always paid on time, avoiding late fines and occasionally even receiving early payment discounts.
5. Mitigate risk
Your supply chain’s continuity may be threatened by a number of economic, environmental, political, and technical reasons. By identifying and keeping an eye on these risks in supply chain risk management software, you may anticipate supply-related problems in advance and put a plan in place to reduce disruption.
6. Greater agility
You can anticipate and respond promptly to disturbances like supplier problems or changes in consumer demand by having complete insight into supply chain operations and access to all related data in one location, ensuring that you can keep serving customers and making money.
7. Increased compliance
The supply chain’s various activities must adhere to stringent compliance regulations; for example, raw materials must meet specified requirements, sustainability criteria must be followed, and foreign exports need customs paperwork. The reduced chance of human error and assurance that rules are followed are made possible by SCM software’s greater visibility and the capability to incorporate compliance controls into processes. By doing this, the risk of non-compliance, potential fines, and reputational harm to the brand are reduced.
Main features of supply chain management software
There are some outstanding supply chain management software features:
1. Ability to integrate throughout the supply chain
A digital solution should include features that cover the entire supply chain, linking several organizations including suppliers, OEMs, shippers, warehousing centers, and customers. Technology is an enabler in this process. Regardless of the information source, operating system, or platform, it should be able to communicate with all of your other programs, including corporate software, legacy systems, third-party applications, help desk, and email. This can resolve connectivity problems and facilitate effective information transfer throughout a chain. Integration produces a single source of truth for all stakeholders by bringing together different systems, people, and processes, which ends miscommunication.
In addition, it prevents feature duplication and lowers the cost of maintaining distinct apps. Better production planning, effective logistics use, and a reduction in stock-outs and excess inventory are the benefits of this. Integration with core systems is made feasible through the use of APIs, data connectors, and SDKs, thereby utilizing already installed infrastructure.
2. Real-time and collaboration capabilities
In order to minimize issues like bottlenecks, lost goods, and dissatisfied consumers, real-time information is crucial. Organizations are equipped to react swiftly to changes in the supply chain thanks to real-time capabilities.
Multiple stakeholders should be able to collaborate on a project so that they are all on the same page using effective supply chain management software without the need for continual back-and-forth communication or manual changes. For instance, despite being physically separated from one another, a fleet manager, a truck driver, and a customer can all stay in touch and see the same information about an order, enhancing collaboration and preserving end-to-end transparency.
3. Process optimization abilities
Automating normal, repetitive chores frees up workers to focus on more lucrative responsibilities. The order-to-cash cycle can be automated to the greatest extent possible, which shortens the product life cycle, lessens the need for paper-based paperwork, and strengthens ties between production, warehousing, and delivery.
Logistics and transportation companies can move items more effectively and economically with the aid of optimization technologies. This is critical given the rising cost of gasoline and the continuously changing national and local rules that may create uncertainty or impede the flow of shipments.
4. Analytics and forecasting
Good supply chain management software should assist you in evaluating your business in addition to automating daily tasks. It should have built-in analytics and forecasting capabilities to help you understand the health and performance of your company, identify bottlenecks, capitalize on your current strengths, predict customer demand and plan future production, identify system inefficiencies, and predict events that are likely to happen.
Leaders are enabled to better plan future demands with reliable data and insights, run what-if simulations to manage risks, and adopt new processes like predictive dispatch that anticipate future need. In other words, analytics aid organizations in maximizing the use of already-available data to improve present and future systems and processes.
Prebuilt application components and customizable business rule configurations add flexibility that enables firms to quickly adjust to changes and launch products with specialized solutions for customers. Using programming languages like Python and Java, some supply chain solutions allow developers to expand their feature sets. Additionally, open architecture promotes businesses to create their own applications that are tailored to their particular needs, such as creating numerous iterations of a single product to appeal to various client segments, hence optimizing revenue.
6. Cloud-based access and mobility
Authorized users can access organizations using cloud-based supply chain management software at any time, from anywhere, to continue managing, tracking, and monitoring the status of transactions. Another advantage is that setting up a cloud-based solution is less expensive, quicker, and riskier for organizations than purchasing an on-premise system.
An organization’s ability to keep track of numerous activities, such as order status or shipment, is improved when it has access to a mobile app for managing supply chain and logistics. Users’ mobile phones can get real-time warnings, which improves collaboration between parties and allows for quick response to any problems.
The core of any business software is data security. Companies should consider data encryption, virus scanning, network monitoring, audit trail, and fault tolerance when selecting a supply chain management solution. They should also make sure that all technology-related compliance is upheld, as well as the essential requirements for secure communications between authorized parties.
Any software must develop with a company. A supply chain management software should be able to handle the rising volume that comes along with businesses expanding into new markets, adding new products to their line, and gaining new clients. The system must be able to support numerous apps and extra channels without degrading its performance.
List of supply chain management software
E2Open Channel Shaping
In order to expand its supply chain management services, E2Open now offers the Channel Shaping Intelligent Application Suite (formerly Zyme), a partner relationship management (PRM) software program that it bought from Zyme.
SAP Ariba Procurement
The procurement features of SAP Ariba include supplier and catalog enablement, advancements in guided buying and spot buying, and connectivity with the Ariba Network, which the vendor claims has more than 4.6 million connected businesses.
The SAP Supply Chain Management (SCM) suite of applications, which is tightly linked, automates a number of tasks that are essential to the enterprise supply chain.
Supply chain visibility, demand, inventory, and replenishment planning, Sales and Operations Planning (S&OP), supply and inventory optimization, manufacturing planning and scheduling, transportation planning and management, and warehouse management are all features of Logility, a comprehensive supply chain management software solution. Fender Musical Instruments, Sigma-Aldrich, Verizon Wireless, Big Lots, and Michelle Wine are a few of the companies who use Logility.
Oracle SCM Cloud
The Oracle SCM Cloud is a large collection of interconnected apps in supply chain management software list for automating supply chain management procedures.
ImportYeti assists consumers in finding the best supplier by analyzing rivals, locating leads, conducting market research, and quantifying and defining the best suppliers for each product using customs data. The website compiles data from the marine cargo records kept by U.S. customs and arranges it into charts, maps, and sections. With 500k monthly active users, ImportYeti emphasizes customer feedback for ongoing improvement.
Infor Supply Chain Management
By establishing connections between businesses and their supply chain partners and digitally transforming business processes from planning to delivery both inside and outside the enterprise, Infor supply chain management solutions enable intelligent, real-time supply chain orchestration. The former Lawson brand SCM product has been replaced by Infor Supply Chain Management.
Manhattan Active Supply Chain
Manhattan Associates provides Manhattan Active Supply Chain, a comprehensive set of applications that combines supply chain management software providers of the Manhattan Active Distribution warehouse management software and modules for workforce and warehouse management with Manhattan Transportation, a set of applications focused on logistics and transportation.
Anaplan is a revolutionary approach to think about, plan, and manage your business. For quicker, more certain judgments, Anaplan’s exclusive HyperblockTM technology enables you to contextualize current performance and estimate future results. To advance your company, Anaplan provides networked enterprise-wide strategy and planning. Anaplan, a San Francisco-based company, serves more than 2,000 clients globally and has over 200 partners.
Any size of organization can use the BOARD platform for making business decisions. BOARD is a cloud-based platform that houses several business modeling, planning, and analysis tools.
Supply chain management software for small business
Software for tracking supplies and progress in building is called Matrak. The platform increases project collaboration while connecting your supply chain for improved visibility. To make drawings static and create a bill of materials, upload the drawings. Next, directly from the designs, update progress using Matrak. Reports are produced so that everyone can access information instantly.
2. Fuse Inventory
Demand planning, supply chain management software, and inventory analytics are all handled by the software program known as Fuse Inventory. Utilize demand estimates to view your supply chain at scale and replenish as necessary.
Precoro is a capable procurement tool that assists forward-thinking SMBs and Enterprises in saving time and money by doing away with manual effort. Precoro allows you to spend 65% less time on procurement management while saving more than 15% on daily costs.
Megaventory is a medium-sized business-focused cloud inventory management and order fulfillment software solution with excellent manufacturing and reporting features.
BuyCo is a container shipping management and tracking solution made exclusively for the marine industry that provides tools for tracking expenses, cooperating on the supply chain management software, gaining visibility into shipments, storing documents, and more. BuyCo facilitates communication between suppliers, partners, members, customers, and other stakeholders, and offers complete visibility into every stage of the supply chain in order to assist maritime transportation firms with logistics management.
Odoo is a set of open-source, customizable business software that may be used for accounting, customer relationship management (CRM), sales, enterprise resource planning (ERP), project management, manufacturing, inventory management, and more. Odoo can be deployed locally or hosted in the cloud and is made to accommodate business demands regardless of scale and price.
In order to build, manage, and exchange optimum routing plans, Route4Me provides small businesses and corporations with a smart platform. Route4Me uses technologies for mapping, searching, and categorization in an effort to provide a user-friendly route planning solution.
8. Dynamics 365
A multilingual, multicurrency enterprise resource planning (ERP) program is Microsoft Dynamics 365. With its robust development platform and tools, the solution, which is intended for medium and bigger businesses, is completely adaptable and expandable. Dynamics 365 provides a variety of solutions for marketing, artificial intelligence, mixed reality, retail, project service automation, sales, customer service, field service management, talent acquisition, finance, and operations.
9. Pirate Ship
Pirate Ship is a cloud-based service that enables small businesses to purchase postage and create shipping labels for local and international products using USPS postage. By creating a private connection, it enables users to buy and print shipping labels in the ZPL or PDF file formats and share them with clients.
ShipStation was created as a multi-carrier, multi-channel shipping solution to make the shipment and fulfillment process easier for online businesses. ShipStation is able to save merchants time and money by increasing their shipping efficiencies. It powers thousands of stores and processes millions of shipping labels each month.
Businesses may plan, carry out, and monitor supply chain operations with the use of supply chain management software. It has a number of tools for managing orders, inventory, and transportation. Regardless of the size of the firm, this software is essential. Simple functionality may be all that small firms require to manage their inventory and orders. Larger companies, however, could need more sophisticated services, such real-time tracking and supply chain optimization.