Supply chain management software (SCM) is a significant part of the overall enterprise resource planning (ERP) software. It primarily deals with the way companies source their raw materials and manage production cycles.
A well-designed supply chain management software helps companies in rightly purchasing and acquiring every item they need for running their day-to-day business operations. It keeps a check on company’s inventory and ensures optimal usage of all resources. This in turn guarantees higher productivity, improved revenues, agile business practices and total supply chain visibility.
Advantages of Supply Chain Management Software
- Increase Output – A smart supply chain management software improves communication, cooperation and coordination with dealers, transportation agencies and vendors. Thismomentously augments a two-way information flow that organizes and streamlines the entire distribution process. This also helps in securing precise output results and instills a trust factor among the end users.
- Improved Profit Margins – This is one of the most significant benefits of using a supply chain management software. The software helps in ensuring end-to-end visibility of the supply chain and offers better collaboration with vendors and other suppliers. This has a direct positive impact on the business productivity, which in turn accounts for better profit margins.
- Improved Level of Collaboration – Collaboration and effective communication is crucial to make your business processes successful. With the help of a well-designed supply chain management software, you can keep a track of all inventory and stay in regular contact with your suppliers and vendors. Additionally, you can seamlessly communicate with other departments of your business, thus leading to faster and better decision making, reporting, forecasts, and execution of tasks in real-time.
- Reduction in Costs – With a robust supply chain management software in place, you can greatly bring down your day-to-day business costs. You can improve your inventory system by effectively sourcing raw materials and eliminating damage resources. Furthermore, you can better comprehend your customer’s requirements and maintain a completely transparent relationship with the vendors and distributors.
- No delay in Processes – Common errors such as delay in shipment from the merchants, interruption in production cycles, logistical issues, etc. can hugely dampen a company’s reputation of fulfilling customer demands. A supply chain management software ensures that all activities all well-coordinated so that the customer receives the products on time.
Adoption Models of Supply Chain Management Software
- SaaS (Software-as-a-service) – Software-as-a-service implies that you have opted for a cloud-based supply chain management software which is hosted by your preferred service provider agency. The software can be accessed through the web browser with the help of a secure internet connection. In this case, you have to pay a monthly subscription fee to your provider, based upon the amount of storage and level of functionalities required by you. Additionally, your service provider agency is responsible for maintenance and software updates to keep it bug-free.
- Custom Development – Custom development implies that you have opted for a fully-personalized software that will be stored on the servers of your own company. You can contact a reputed software development company for developing your software based upon your precise needs. Also, in this case, you do not need to pay any monthly fee as all the money is paid at the time of purchase. This adoption model is especially beneficial if your company has confidential data. By hosting the software on your own server, the risk of losing significant data to your competitors is totally mitigated.
Enterprise Demand for Supply Chain Management Software
Modern and bleeding-edge supply chain management software are end-on product sets that enable business enterprises to efficiently manage and optimize their supply chains. These fully-functional systems account for total visibility across the supply chain and allow businesses to quickly scale their requirements up or down in accordance with the market trends. Consequently, these software help in gratifying customer demands by providing on-time deliveries.
- Food Manufacturers – Food and beverage manufacturers are among the ones who are in dire need of a robust supply chain management software. Without a proper system, these manufacturers run the risk of food spoilage, damage or contamination that can largely put the consumer’s health at hazard, and at the same time, open their business to the obligation and violation of strict food safety laws.
- Healthcare Industry – A supply chain plays a crucial role in the healthcare inventory management and purchasing. It deals with the procurement and transportation of medical items such as medicines, surgical equipment, and other devices. Thus, an efficient supply chain will ultimately lead to faster and better healthcare facilities.
- E-commerce -An SCM software makes it easy to track, control and manage orders as well as raise invoices and make payments to the vendors. It tracks inventory at all times that boosts the sales opportunities and regulates total control over B2B and B2C sales and business operations.
Apart from these, manufacturing units, service providers, automotive industries, etc. also require a well-design supply chain management software to bring in a higher rate of efficiency in their operations. Considering the value of these software, more and more enterprises are purchasing their own customized solutions.
Important Features of Supply Chain Management Software
- Purchase Management- This feature helps in streamlining your entire inventory purchasing process through automation and collaboration, resulting in reduced costs and improved margins.
- Distribution Requirements Planning- This feature aims at making the delivery of goods highly effectual by determining which goods are needed and in what quantities to fulfill the anticipated consumer demand. It helps to eliminate inventory scarcities and also brings down the cost of holding goods.
- Advanced Material Management- Advanced Material Management helps businesses in generating electronic material requirement requests as well as tracking the movement of inventory and work in progress.
- Inventory Management- SCM software enable warehouse managers to effectively track and manage inventory and deal with common inventory concerns such as re-ordering, asset tracking, demand forecasting, etc.
- Warehouse Management– SCM software incorporates a warehouse management feature that assists in the movement and storage of goods.
- Shipping & Receiving- This feature helps in improving the deliveries of goods by coordinating the various transport channels.
- Return Management-This assists the managers in inspecting and managing defected goods and the processing of refund amounts or insurance claims.
- Supplier Relation Management-Supplier relation management feature helps in managing all supplier interactions. It assesses the supplier’s capabilities and ensures that they match with the organization’s goals and strategies.
- Forecasting-This helps in anticipating customer demands in the near future and allows managers to plan the production cycle accordingly so that there is no shortage or wastage of resources.
- Third-party Integrations- This allows you to integrate the SCM software with the organization’s existing ERP, HRM, or any other software in order to effectively control all managerial operations.
- Asset Tracking- This feature allows the managers to track the goods present in the warehouse via their barcode, Radio frequency identification number, serial number or lot tracking number.
- Fleet Tracking & Management- Fleet Tracking helps in keeping a track on the movements of your fleet. This way you can track your supplies at all times and make sure they reach you well in time.
- Demand Management-This feature helps in balancing customer’s requirements with the capacities of the supply chain. You can match supply with demand and implement the production plan with least disturbances.
- Price & Credit Control- This offers a customer wise price fixation facility so as to make the management of money hassle-free.
- Sales Order & Invoicing- This feature helps in carrying out the efficient delivery of all orders along with maintaining a precise invoice for each client.
- Inbuilt Chatting System- An inbuilt chatting system enables the employees of a business enterprise to seamlessly interact with each other and exchange information in real-time.
- Sales Tax Management- Different sales taxes are applicable to the goods, based on their type, category, company’s location and other factors. This feature helps in managing these taxes without any hassle.
- Fund Flow Management-Fund flow management helps in comparing successive balance sheets to record the changes in every sheet that can be further used as capital funds.
- Assign User Rolls- This feature helps in controlling the amount and level of visibility each user has into the business’s data. Each user can be designated to view specific information that is relevant to them for the proper dispensing of their job.
- Report & Analytics-This feature helps in generating total inventory reports, order history and other transaction reports. Based on these reports, the comprehensive analysis can be carried out for bringing better efficiency and productivity in all operations.
Mobile Supply Chain Management Apps
The greatest benefit of the amazing mobile platform is that they offer instant access to all information throughout the business enterprise, leveraging mobility to connect all employees to the information they require in real-time. Consequently, mobile apps are being adopted by an increasing number of organizations as their go-to software for linking all the essential features of a supply chain.
With a mobile app, you can easily access and track your inventory levels, raw materials, finished and unfinished goods, and know when the final goods are delivered to the customers. Furthermore, you can effortlessly prepare reports and carry out analysis to better understand the supply chain.
There are substantial benefits of using SCM mobile apps. It gives an opportunity to the supply chain executives to quickly respond to the operational errors and augment productivity. By connecting all the significant components of a supply chain, these apps enable improved business sufficiency and accuracy in all operations.
Developing a Supply Chain Management Software
Developing a robust and reliable supply chain management software involves six steps that are as follows:
- Planning – It all starts with drafting a development blueprint outlining the basic functionalities of the project.
- Research & Analysis –A thorough market research and analysis is important for understanding the needs of the audiences and learning about your competitors.
- Design – A wireframe showcasing all features of the software is prepared and presented to the client.
- Development- This involves all coding and programming to build a robust software backend and database.
- Testing –The software is passed through rigorous testing to ensure it is completely bug-free.
- Maintenance – After deployment, the software undergoes a maintenance process which includes time-to-time updates to keep up with the customer expectations.
Required Team Structure for Developing aSupply Chain Management Software
For developing a robust and fully-functional software, you need to get in touch with an expert and practiced software development company that employs a squad of skilled engineers.
Project Manager – A talented project manager should possess shrewd administrative skills. He should have a solution-oriented and positive approach towards all impediments.
Designers– Graphic Designers, UI/UX Designers
Testers– Anastute team of testers and accomplished Quality Assurance experts for building a reliable software.
Cost of Developing a Supply Chain Management Software
The cost of developing a supply chain software greatly depends upon the level of functionality incorporated into it. If you have a large enterprise with several departments, investing in a complete ERP solution along with a robust supply chain management module is a preferred option. Consequently, the cost of a fully-functional software will be more.
Also, the final cost of the software depends upon the following factors:
- Number of users
- Hourly software development costs
- Ongoing support and maintenance
Supply chain management software offers the most effective way of connecting data, practices and people into one single congenial environment. With a consolidated end-to-end supply chain visibility, you can efficiently plan your performance, monitor success and respond to problems in real-time. Therefore, if you still haven’t integrated this software into your business operations, now is the time.