Your Supply Chain Management Software should have these 6 Attributes
September 7, 2017
The increased complexity of the modern supply chain and manufacturing production line means that having effective supply chain management software (SCMS) is key to keeping operational processes on track. Almost every organisation, whether it’s large or small will already have some kind of system in place to manage its processes – even if that’s nothing more than a collection of Excel spreadsheets. But as we enter the Industry 4.0 era, having modern supply chain management software features will become more important. A lack of sophisticated features could mean that your processes are never optimised, and that your production yields are less than ideal.
We have identified six of the most important attributes of supply chain management software and their benefits, to help you pin-point any opportunities for advancement in your business.
- End-to-end (E2E)supply chain visibility
By far the most important of all the attributes is the ability to connect and view the entire process, from creating the initial product concept, through raw material sourcing, production and the final sale to customers. Most supply chain management software packages provide a view of an in-house production line, but the ability to monitor factors outside your direct business operations is much less common.
Having this level of visibility is becoming increasingly important as more businesses move towards an on-demand manufacturing model. By viewing data at the supplier level, you are much better placed to effectively plan production schedules and order the right quantity of raw materials – helping you to overcome shortages, or surpluses.
You also need visibility of the potential “gaps” between suppliers, your factories and the final destination. Logistics management, particularly in the last mile, is crucial to ensuring orders are being delivered quickly, accurately and efficiently.
- Supplier relationship management
Effective on-demand manufacturing requires a change in mindset, elevating suppliers to partner status, with shared goals. This close collaboration ensures that all parties benefit from any end-to-end supply chain process improvements.
The key to building successful partnerships is transparent communication. And ideally your supply chain management software should improve communications, visibility and collaboration. Your system should be the central reference point for all supply chain related activity – for you and your suppliers.
- Compliance monitoring
Even if you are only checking finished products against in-house QA standards, your SCMS must offer compliance monitoring. Using these insights you will be able to identify and rectify falling standards quickly, reducing the impact on your bottom line.
For manufacturers bound by regulatory requirements, compliance monitoring becomes even more important. With visibility of their whole supply chain, they can prove that technical and quality standards are being upheld at every point of the manufacturing process. These supply chain management software features allow your business to provide audited evidence of provenance, ethical sourcing, and environmental impact reduction efforts.
- Inventory management
Without accurate inventory management, you will be unable to properly manage stocks of raw materials, or finished products awaiting shipment. Furthermore, if your supply chain management software cannot tell you what you currently hold, you cannot hope to make accurate orders for raw materials either.
One of the goals of Industry 4.0 is to reduce waste – but if you cannot properly assess your inventory, you will invariably hold too much, or too little stock and materials. The further down the supply chain a business can see, the easier it becomes to plan how much stock it needs to held in warehouses at any point in time.
- Digitising PO Management and Document Management
SCMS automates purchase order processes which in turn reduces time and effort required to generate and monitor PO’s. If all parties are working on one platform – you can track and trace your inventory, view and manage your domestic and international orders in your supply chain at any point.
As a logical extension of purchase order management, your SCMS should also digitise document management in supply chain as it reduces the manual administrative tasks. Going online can lead to real cost savings, improved visibility and support the paperless drive.
- Business intelligence and reporting tools
Business Intelligence and reporting tools are essential to identifying potential process improvements and providing empirical evidence of where to concentrate resources and investment for maximum return. Without data-driven insights, any attempts at improving supply chain operations will be “best guesses” based on incomplete data.
You must also be able to configure real-time updates and alerts according to the metrics and parameters most important to your business. The sooner you know about a production bottleneck, the more quickly you can resolve it.
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Customer Success Stories
We have found them to be an excellent business partner. Through the implementation of both their supply chain and sourcing software they have more than proven themselves in giving us a product that functions the way we need it to. LIMA has been a fantastic supply chain visibility tool, calculating real accurate landed cost position throughout the order lifecycle. The LIBERTY software matches our product sourcing business needs perfectly. PLM systems I’ve previously used, often bring lots of issues through implementation, but these guys managed this and I’ve got highly satisfied users.John Amm - GM Global Sourcing, Myer
The solution has realised more benefits than we initially thought possible. Claims notifications are being handled in a fraction of the time. Suppliers are making fewer calls into the office and quality scores have increased dramatically. All of this can only have had a positive impact on the customer experienceMartin Ashfield, head of commercial property claims, AXA
The system alerts us to exceptions against our plan, allowing us to focus our attentions on solving the real issues in the supply chain. Having a comprehensive audit trail of events for everyone to see has resulted in significantly improved service levels from our suppliers and agents.Darren Walker, head of generics buying and UK trading, Alliance Healthcare
Now our buyers can exchange photographs with suppliers and have a real-time dialogue as they develop styles, while buyers out in the Far East can send detailed and accurate information back to their teams in the UK. It has certainly cut lead times and reduced errors.Maxine Walter, supply chain co-ordination manager, New Look
The time it takes to compile reports has been significantly reduced; a report which used to take five whole days to complete is now accomplished within a single day!Sam Brown, Responsible Sourcing Co-ordinator - John Lewis.