5 Things to Consider When Choosing Supply Chain Software
Choosing supply chain management software is a key component of keeping your supply chain ahead of the curve in a competitive market. After all, your organization relies on your supply chain to perform well, manage your inventory and meet consumer demand. Companies in many industries have a wide range of products, features and solutions to choose from, but how do you know which platform will meet your unique needs and provide effective results?
Whether you need to improve insights, expand your data capabilities or increase visibility across your supply chain, there's a platform out there that can exceed your expectations. Before you partner with a provider, it's essential to keep a few tips in mind to help guide your decision. In this article, we'll assess how to choose supply chain software with the top five most critical factors to consider and some questions you'll want to ask before choosing a supply chain platform.
How to Choose the Right Supply Chain Platform
Consider the following points as you browse supply chain software options:
1. Cross-Enterprise Integration
One of the first things you should look for in supply chain software is how well it can integrate with your business needs and processes. Your supply chain provider should be able to seamlessly and consistently share information with you as you work toward a common goal to support collaboration and improved communication for everyone involved. Likewise, you'll want to know whether they can integrate with your existing tech stack or other partners.
As your business grows and develops, your supply chain software will become ingrained in your processes over time, including tools and features that will become detrimental to your success. This is why it's critical for you to choose a supply chain software that can integrate quickly into your existing systems and promote transparency as you work with your partners and suppliers to improve your bottom line.
2. Advanced Analytics Capabilities
In supply chain software, you'll want to find a technology that tracks important metrics, but you'll also want to ensure it's capable of using data analytics to inform better decision-making. With advanced analytics capabilities, you can access several important features, such as demand forecasts, inventory turnover reports, customer fulfillment rates and inventory breakdowns.
Your business can also benefit from advanced insights into assets and transit, empowering you to enhance planning processes and save money. By having this type of information at your fingertips, you can avoid getting overwhelmed with supply chain complications and focus more on driving growth and efficiency.
When using any type of software for your business, the scalability of the platform plays a huge role in whether it'll provide long-term service for your supply chain. When you integrate these features, it'll orient your business for more growth through improved customer and supplier relationships and more effective use of company resources. If your software is unable to grow alongside your business, it may hinder your future success.
Since technology generally advances at a rapid rate, it's critical to find software that's innovative, cutting-edge and high-quality so it won't be outdated in only a few years. A scalable solution will allow you to update and upgrade as technology changes and be ready to take on industry challenges with your stable supply chain.
4. Intuitive and User-Friendly Interface Capabilities
To make it easier to transform your supply chain into a digital environment, you'll want to rely on software that can adopt new technologies, such as running on artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) capabilities. One of the most critical elements of quality supply chain software is a cloud-based platform that enables your business consistently stay up to date with real-time data.
Likewise, an easy-to-learn interface will make the implementation process much smoother and seamless as employees and managers can quickly learn how to view, manage and effectively leverage data across the entire supply chain.
Supply chain ecosystems need to rely on a customizable approach because no software is a one-size-fits-all solution. With customization, businesses can use the supply chain software for their individual industry needs, whether they're an automobile manufacturer or pharmaceutical company.
With a supply chain platform that provides the ability to customize alerts and queries and adjust dashboards for specific role needs, companies can control information access and delivery and ensure critical data is in the right hands. Software that is highly customizable can also empower businesses to use its features to classify, describe or differentiate their inventory.
For instance, a pharmaceutical company would need to take the supply chain from raw materials to finished products in conditions that keep them safe and in optimal conditions, but their processes would differ from an industry that focuses on perishable goods with specific timing, storage and warehousing needs.
Questions to Ask SCM Providers
In addition to the above considerations, it's a good idea to ask your supply chain management (SCM) provider the following questions about their software before integrating it with your existing processes.
What Services Does the Supply Chain Management Partner Offer?
When considering which supply chain management partner to sign with, be sure to know what you're looking for, what your business needs and what the provider can offer you. In other words, what weakness can they fill? As a best practice, list out the things your business already does well and select a partner that offers services that will fill the gaps in your supply chain process.
Will I Get Real-Time Inventory Data?
An optimal, high-quality logistics provider should offer real-time inventory management across your supply chain operations to manage risk, compliance and volatility in product flows. Without real-time data, it can be difficult for you to maintain and improve visibility in all aspects of your inventory, leading to a decline in customer service and overall efficiency.
By giving your customers real-time stock levels, you can maximize productivity with your provider, supplier and end consumer. This data will help you fulfill demands and forecast more effectively to achieve a happy customer base.
Does the Software Vendor Understand My Business and Meet My Needs?
Whether your focus is narrow or broad, your logistics provider should be flexible to support your business and meet your unique needs. A quality software provider will be able to work with supply chain companies of all sizes, across all sectors.
Ask your supply chain management software provider if they have dealt with your specific obstacles and workflow requirements in the past and what solutions they can offer to handle your challenges.
Is the Provider Looking to Future Trends?
As the modern supply chain evolves with an increasing demand that puts more pressure on businesses, it's important that your supply chain software provider is constantly looking for ways to improve and enhance your productivity with devices, tools and features that keep you at the top of your game.
Work with a provider that proactively and continuously creates solutions and capabilities that keep you ahead of industry trends.
Is the Vendor Checking for Vulnerabilities in Its Software Product?
No matter how advanced or robust a software platform is, your provider should always check their products and solutions for vulnerabilities, allowing them to improve and optimize their offerings and help your business meet its goals. For instance, your provider may have specific measures for assuring its software is free of malicious capabilities, security defects and other issues that could present a problem for your supply chain down the line, causing unexpected downtime.
Explore the ParkourSC Platform for Advanced, Resilient Supply Chain Operations
As your supply chain continues to increase in scope and complexity, you'll likely face disruptions and need to undergo alterations to meet business demands. As a result, it's essential you can rely on a supply chain software suite platform that can add value to your organization while solving your supply chain challenges. At ParkourSC, our software is the leading choice for cold chain needs and supply chain network visibility.
Whether you're looking to make better-informed business decisions or enhance your collaboration through automation, our predictive, digital twin technology can mitigate risks and simulate outcomes to keep you ahead of the competition. To learn more about how ParkourSC can power innovation, reduce costs and boost efficiency for your business, request your free live demo today.