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1. Shipping Status Tools: Alerts and Updates

Additionally, these alerts can be sent to your mobile device to inform you of the status of your supply chain at any time, day or night. Order processing is massively important to any supply chain, and as such, SCM software provides the tools needed to make this task easier and more efficient. These tools support all functions across order processing like sales order processing, order management, order fulfillment, billing and order to cash.

Supply chain management software allows users to easily manage and process orders. These supply chain optimization tools can automate most activities involved in order processing using EDI and similar technology to directly capture order data. This reduces the time it would take to traditionally process an order by eliminating the need to manually generate and send POs and invoices. Before lean production, manufacturers would create and house large surpluses of goods. This resulted in massive inefficiencies , wasting time and effort. The overall goal of this practice is to optimize your production planning by cutting down on warehousing space, inventory costs and the different procedures of storing excess inventory.

An Introduction to Supply Chain Management (SCM)

Lean inventory tools can provide quite a bit of return on investment for a business, decreasing the need for warehouse space and streamlining their labor force. While lean production principles can be implemented without SCM tools, this type of supply chain management software takes efficiency to the next level.

These tools make planning production in alignment with lean manufacturing principles much easier. Depending on the solution you choose, supply chain tools may also help manage the day-to-day operations within your warehouses. SCM solutions provide a wide array of warehouse management capabilities as broad or specific as your company requires. Some SCM solutions provide advanced supply chain planning tools, allowing users to handle complex logistics related to receiving, product tracking, cycle counting, route planning and more.

Moreover, warehouse management tools help manage the kitting and bundling process as well as multiple warehouse locations. This is especially helpful when you need to bundle multiple products that are kept at different warehouses. In addition to various shipping features, supply chain analytics tools can also incorporate different types of industry-specific freight handling functionality. For example, the evolution of cold chain logistics and new regulations concerning perishable goods has changed compliance standards.

To handle this, some SCM platforms have integrated technology that can verify that those goods were kept at the proper temperature right up to the last mile of delivery. This tool is also offered by vendors as a standalone product but can be neatly integrated with a larger SCM solution.

SCM: Responsibilities of the SCM Team

Maintaining product quality across the supply chain will help you reduce costs associated with perished goods. This includes the cost of a recall, item disposal, legal response, etc. Stock prices still fell throughout as late as , with customer reviews worse than they were during the initial outbreak.

Further, a whopping 37 percent of customers report eating at Chipotle less often due to issues surrounding food safety. Sourcing and procurement are a major part of supply chain operations for many businesses.

bulfukumbmarri.ml Therefore, tools that support these activities should be a top priority as well. Bid and spend tools also automate much of the procurement process, reducing errors and resources spent. For instance, top systems can automate the entire procure-to-pay process. Track your negotiations and responses using big and spend tools. These tools can also assist you in evaluating bids from different suppliers by helping you spot opportunities for improvement.

The Seven Rights of Fulfillment

For procurement teams with many members, SCM systems allow procurement officers to set limits for employees by creating approval processes and spending limits. Tying in strongly with bid and spend tools, supplier management is a must-have when it comes to procurement. Along with assistive features for cost issues, supply chain management tools can also help businesses get a better understanding of how they relate to their suppliers. Supplier management tools show the history of a business partnership and how it affects the supply chain.

Using supplier performance analysis, users can see how any given supplier has contributed to a business model. Furthermore, supplier management tools often offer a workspace to perform bids, auctions and negotiations for more centralized procurement. Not only does analytics provide insight into past practices, but it can also create forecasts to predict future demand.

This provides the essential information to make crucial decisions regarding production planning, labor management and supplier relationships in order to meet this demand. Without forecasts, you risk stock shortages during periods of intense demand.


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These forecasts are often communicated via dashboard reporting. For more on dashboards and reporting, see the next section.

Supply chain analysis tools allow users full visibility not just into the physical location of inventory, but also into the health and performance of the company. Analytics can provide insight into the company as a whole or into individual sectors. Demand forecasts give visibility into the popularity of certain items, whereas warehouse analysis might tell you the most efficient way to store and move that product.

SCM software also allows users to analyze order processing which can uncover the source of delays and errors. Additionally, users can analyze transportation and logistical processes. This helps decision-makers understand how well carriers are performing along with patterns of delay and error.

All of this visibility gives users the means to improve their processes while retiring less useful methods. Analytics must be conveyed in the form of a report. Different solutions may offer different reporting methods, including tables, charts, dashboards and more.

Dashboards are one of the most common methods, as they offer quick information as soon as a user logs into the system. Supply chain dashboard software can be configured to show the most relevant key performance indicators KPIs as determined by the user. In addition to providing a hub for procurement, modern supply chain monitoring tools also allow companies and their suppliers to collaborate in other ways through a designated portal.

Supply chain portals can eliminate several collaboration challenges including communication issues, bottlenecks in requisition and order, and other issues. Inbuilt messaging allows user to contact suppliers to discuss purchase orders and other supply chain concerns. Using portals, all parties may have access to production progress, order forecasts, product specifications, purchase orders, shipment history, schedules and more.

Collaborating directly on certain documents eliminates the need for continuous emailing back and forth to get the right information and the errors commonly associated with this form of communication. Collaboration portals support full supply chain visibility, allowing both companies and their suppliers to stay up-to-date. Data theft can cause you to lose your position in the market as well as damage your relationships with suppliers. For instance, if your demand forecasts were stolen, your competitors would then have insight into the interests and preferences of your customers.

This would enable other companies more effectively to sell to your market, reducing your profit. If financial data is stolen, you may lose the trust of the parties affected such as consumers or business partners.

2. Order Processing Tools

In order to prevent these security failures, implementing defensive tools is a must. Most vendors today offer security assurances to let their clients know what efforts have been made to safeguard their information. These might include avoiding third-party vendors with low security standards, forbidding backdoor creation, aggressive patch management and response procedures in the case of a breach. A multitude of job opportunities are opened up since supply chain professionals design and control all of the supply chains in a society as well as manage inventory control, warehousing, packaging and logistics.

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Furthermore, one commonality between most poor nations is their lack of a developed supply chain. Societies with strong, developed supply chain infrastructures -- such as large railroad networks, interstate highway systems and an array of airports and modern ports -- can efficiently exchange goods a lower costs, allowing consumers to buy more products, thus providing economic growth and increasing the standard of living in the respective society.

The most basic version of a supply chain includes a company, its suppliers and the customers of that company. The chain could look like this: raw material producer, manufacturer, distributor, retailer and retail customer.

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