Interior of facility governed by supply chain management software.

Introduction to Supply Chain Management Software

Supply chain management is a broad term that refers to the processes that ensure a smooth flow of goods or services between locations. This includes the entire supply chain, from raw material sourcing, production, warehousing, order fulfillment, and all the way to the finished product.

Businesses are turning to software solutions like supply chain management software (SCM software) to gain better visibility and control over their supply chain. Supply chain management software allows businesses to reduce disruptions, increase productivity by optimizing workflows, and more. Let’s take a look at what supply chain management software is and what it does for businesses.

What Is Supply Chain Management Software?

Supply chain management software is a suite of applications that help companies manage their supply chains. Supply chain management software contains functions such as demand forecasting, order management, inventory optimization, and supply chain analytics. This type of technology is commonly used by large corporations like Walmart, Amazon, and Coca-Cola — but small businesses can also benefit from having some kind of supply chain management system in place. SCM software is typically a cloud-based solution or software as a service (SaaS).

SCMS vs. ERP vs. WMS

Supply chain management software is distinct from two other common types of business intelligence software: enterprise resource planning systems and warehouse management systems.

Enterprise Resource Planning System

ERP systems are suites of software applications, either on-premise or cloud-based, that store and analyze information concerning business resources, but also obligations such as payroll and purchase orders through multiple modules.

Initially, ERP systems were used to digitize back office procedures to reduce paperwork, but have since grown to encompass additional features.

Warehouse Management System

Warehouse management systems vary in complexity, but their purpose is the same. They are usually software systems that organize and streamline the procedures of a warehouse or distribution facility. These systems track stock replenishment from distributors, as well as visualization of stock locations within the warehouse.

Key Features of Supply Chain Management Software

    • Order management for automating purchase order processes. For example, generating and tracking purchase orders, scheduling supplier deliveries, and creating pricing and product configurations.
    • Inventory management tools to track and manage raw materials, present inventory and spare parts, and storage optimization. This also allows for the prediction of future inventory needs and demand planning.
    • Transportation management and logistics tools for coordinating transportation channels, examining routes, improving delivery performance, and boosting customer satisfaction.
    • Forecasting lets companies plan for customer demand and adjust procurement and production accordingly. With demand management, businesses can avoid unnecessary amounts of inventory.
    • Return management for processing of returned items, refunds, or insurance claims.

How Can Supply Chain Management Software Help Your Business?

Supply chain management software automates business processes, such as order fulfillment or purchase requests. This automation can save time and money for businesses by reducing manual tasks. Companies can also use this type of software to manage inventory levels and track shipments across multiple channels from one central location.

    • Better data leads to more informed decisions. If you’re unable to measure supply chain data in real-time or at least in close to real-time, then there is no way for you or your staff to make informed decisions about what goes on in your supply chain—and no way for them to understand why things are going wrong when they do.
    • Supplier management. Monitor your suppliers and their impact on your business operations.
    • Improved operation planning. By using supply chain management software, you can gain visibility into how each step of the process affects others along the way—and this makes it easier for your employees across departments and locations (even globally) who need access to those same key metrics simultaneously.
    • More efficient supply chain processes. With real-time visibility into your entire supply chain, you’ll be able to leverage the information to make better decisions, free up resources and reduce costs.
    • Better customer relationship management (CRM). Let customers know where their orders are in the production process with automated notifications or SMS messages sent directly through the software. This cuts down unnecessary calls or emails from customers who want product updates.
    • Improved profit margins. Supply chain management software helps businesses identify problems early on to fix them before it impacts profitability. You’ll also see improvements in inventory management, allowing you to access needed products sooner.

Achieve Supply Chain Visibility

Supply chain planning to meet your business needs is a complex endeavor, whether you’re a multinational corporation or an eCommerce startup. However, it doesn’t have to be an exercise that saps your business of time and resources.

When you need to implement SCM solutions that will bolster supplier relationships, increase connectivity between parts of your business, and allow for better business planning, contact Real Time Intelligence. They are a provider of supply chain management solutions that will give your business an edge. Contact RTI today!