SUPPLY chain management involves the oversight of materials, information, and finances as the entire operation moves from supplier to manager, from wholesaler to retailer, and eventually, to the consumer. Coordinating and integrating these processes both within and among companies is no easy feat and in order to manage this series of flows in tandem to meet demand and supply on a large scale, there is plenty of planning, logistics, and information consolidation to be done.
According to Steve Banker of Logistics Viewpoints, CEOs often struggle with supply chain best practices, especially when it comes to correlating inventory with profitability. He writes: “Supply chain professionals know that achieving target service levels with the minimum amount of inventory should always be our goal. We know this in our bones.” But he laments that CEOs often don’t realize how to go about increasing profits and efficiency within the supply chain.
To make things easier, a number of supply chain management software have been introduced to the market. These have been useful in terms of improving the bottom line as it helps supply chain managers decrease the use of large fixed assets such as plants, warehouse, or transport vehicles, as well as boosting customer service by making sure all the right products are delivered in the right quantities at the right time, and are available in the location customer expect.
In short, as summed up by the University of San Francisco, supply chain management software “streamlines everything from day-to-day product flows to unexpected natural disasters”.
Choosing the right software can make all the difference between your business’ success or demise. According to Solution Dots, supply chain management software has the potential to double your business by implementing cost-saving procedures and raising output, as well as enhancing the supply chain network. The key benefits of such software include reducing cost effects, raising your business’ profit level, boosting cooperation between suppliers and distributors, and lowering time delay in processes.
Here are our top recommended supply chain management software providers for SMEs:
Oracle’s repertoire is an impressive one – boasting over 420,000 customers and deployments in more than 145 countries, they have garnered the trust of businesses over the years. Oracle’s Supply Chain Software Suite includes its E-Business Suite (EBS), ERP and retail offerings. The suite features tools are diverse and full of choice to help your business go from Point A to Point Z without the unnecessary stress of having to jump between platforms.
Their SCM solution offers a broad range of capabilities to modernize operations across demand, supply, and product pillars – these features include product lifecycle management, supply chain planning, procurement, logistics, order management, manufacturing, and maintenance management. Oracle’s strengths lie in their ability to provide viable solutions for all the key SCM automation requirements, without a need for third-party solutions to make up for any gaps.
Your company doesn’t have to be a huge operation in order to get the most out of Oracle’s SCM solutions, as they also offer modern, complete, and simple-to-deploy cloud solutions for midsized and SMBs. Designed for fast time to benefit, these solutions are available as fixed-scope, fixed-price offerings and offer a strong foundation for innovation and growth. There’s plenty of support and advice to be gleaned from the company as well, as their comprehensive customer support and consulting teams are ready to deliver tailored support for complex IT performances.
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Named one of five leaders in Gartner’s Supply Chain Planning Magic Quadrant for 2016, Blue Ridge’s cloud-based planning solution is a favourite among retailers and distributors. It uses its own Blue Ridge PrecisionPlanning technology which takes customer demand forecasts and creates a precise plan to help your company meet it. It works by building an economically-optimized demand and supply plan that’s built for each company’s needs and realities.
Blue Ridge’s supply chain planning system offers a suite of tools, including demand forecasting and planning, replenishment optimization, multi-echelon inventory optimization, supply planning, allocation, and much more. Every tool is configured and aimed at helping you run your business more smoothly.
CIO Review described Blue Ridge’s SCM solution as flexible and accommodating of the “unique requirements of client businesses”. Customers include national pharmacy chain Farmacorp, Shamrock Foods, which is the U.S.’s seventh largest food distributor, national wholesale distributor Vistar, and automotive and industrial part provider CRP Industries. CRP Industries said: “We’ve been steadily improving fill rates, service levels are up. We’ve also had noticeable improvements in our inventory turns. It’s hard to do both of those at the same time, and we’ve been able to do it.”
GAINSystems uses an advanced planning and profit optimization method with the General Adaptive Inventory Solution (GAINS) technology that allows your business to identify improvements and react accordingly. The main four functions covered by GAINS’ supply chain optimization solution include demand planning and forecasting, inventory optimization, sales inventory and operations planning, and replenishment optimization. In order to help your company get the most out of its solution, GAINS carried out an evaluation process, making sure that every team has the right tools for “improved profit, asset utilization, and market share growth”.
In terms of support, GAINS also provides companies with consultants and optimization experts to help create a comprehensive plan that considers customer resource involvement and timing. It also provides an ROI analysis plucked from simulations of your company’s transaction data so that industry leaders can make informed decisions.
Customers like car manufacturer Mitsubishi Engine North America (MENA) puts GAINSystems on the map. With an inventory of over 30,000 items purchased from their parent company in Japan, MENA needed a solution for unbalanced inventory levels and long lead times. “GAINS is not your traditional approach to managing a business,” said the GM of MENA. “However, if you’re open minded enough to set aside what everyone else is telling you about supply chain planning and demand planning; GAINS will enable you to find a whole new source of profit in your business, even in a down economy.”
Germany-based SAP’s SCM solution has been built and developed over many years, resulting in their latest product, the SAP S/4HANA, which allows supply chains to perform better with increased agility. It aims to lower lead times, improve customer service, and lead to higher profitability. The SAP S/4HANA was just launched at the end of October this year and includes enhancements such as advanced available to promise (AATP), inventory management, material requirement planning (MRP), extended warehouse management (EWM), and environment, health and safety (EHS) management.
AATP is the newest function in the solution, offering supply allocation capabilities with high-performance, real-time ATP order confirmation. SAP also introduced new back-order processing and interactive rescheduling methodology that helps make sure your business’ supply matches the customer demand based on priority.
SAP is also well-known for its flexibility in providing industry-specific functionality. For example, oil and gas industry customers have the option of hydrocarbon product management optimized for high performance, as well as a real-time inventory planning workbench for scheduling and insight provision. On the other hand, customers in the retail industry can choose features such as merchandise management, which is made especially for modern retailers. SAP’s long-standing expertise makes them a great choice for businesses of any size or industry.
*Some of the companies featured in this article are commercial partners of Tech Wire Asia