Choosing Supply Chain Management Software: 5 Factors That Matter

5 Factors for Picking the Right Supply Chain Management Software

October 29, 2020 | Supply Chain Software

The pace of change is accelerating in the world, leaving supply chain organizations that rely on legacy and manual processes unable to keep up. Add in the possibility of disruptions like a pandemic or a recession, and it’s no wonder that more and more companies are embracing cutting-edge supply chain management software to digitize and efficiently run their supply networks.

Given that need, the market is inundated with competing supply chain management (SCM) solutions. How do you differentiate and find the best fit – either to optimize a complex supply chain dispersed across units and geographies or to build your supply chain into a competitive advantage?

Consider these five features while deciding on the right supply chain management software:

1.  AI-powered data insights

This is the sine qua non of an effective SCM software. The ability to aggregate data from various parts of a supply chain – from buyers and suppliers to inventory and warehousing– is central to the benefits offered by a next-generation supply chain software.

SCM software solutions utilize artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) to analyze the massive amounts of data flowing through your supply chain. Digital supply chain platforms that integrate a data lake into their structure are most effective at storing and unifying all the supplier data. This provides a single source of truth and a foundation for advanced analytics to identify hidden patterns and opportunities.

2.  Real-time visibility and collaboration

The increasingly global nature and complexity of supply chains have exposed enterprises to volatility and potential disruptions such as disease outbreaks, natural disasters, labor disputes, and geopolitical conflicts. In the face of these and other risks, the ability to map your supply chain, know in real time what issues your suppliers are experiencing, and proactively collaborate with them on finding resolutions have become critical. The ability to identify and mitigate risks faster than the competition is a strategic advantage, and having real-time visibility into your supply chain is a prerequisite in that.

3.  Integration with ERP systems

As businesses grow and develop, they adopt various solutions to manage their operations and these tools, such as ERP software, become ingrained into their processes over time. Maybe a tool was customized in a certain way, maybe new features were added to it over the years. And now, the tool handles so many critical functions that the cost of replacing it outweighs perceived benefits. That is why it is crucial, particularly for businesses with more mature supply chains, to select a supply chain software that can integrate quickly and seamlessly with existing ERP systems.

4.  Scalability with cloud

For a global corporation, the number of suppliers can reach the thousands. It is therefore important for companies to consider both their current and future needs when selecting the right Supply chain management software. The ability of a technological solution to scale as the business grows, the number of suppliers increase, and supply chains become more multilayered is a must-have. Today’s supply chain management solutions are increasingly cloud-based. These are less resource-intensive and can be rolled out at multiple locations simultaneously.

5.  User-friendly and intuitive interface

Successful digital transformation of your supply chain depends upon a lot of factors, not least the degree to which your supply chain team is willing to adopt new technologies that run on AI and ML. An SCM software with an intuitive and easy-to-learn interface can help it gain acceptance throughout the organization and spur employees to effectively leverage it. Features like data visualization, real-time collaboration, mobile-friendly design, and a control tower to view and manage the entire supply chain landscape are worth considering.

Conclusion

As supply chains continue to increase in scope and complexity, they will face unforeseen disruptions. Digital transformation of supply chain operations through next-gen SCM software that works intelligently can help organizations take advantage of AI, cloud-based storage, and automation and become more agile in meeting new challenges.

 

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