Supply Chain Management Software

Get the best supply chain management software for your business. Compare product reviews, pricing below. Read our buyer’s guide for more help.

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Supply Chain Management Software Buyer’s Guide

Manufacturing and distribution lie at the heart of the global economy. Technology hasn’t just made it possible to build and ship products faster than ever before: In today’s world, speed, efficiency, and transparency are expected to be part of any logistics-related operation.

Whether it’s a locally built product or a complex piece of technology requiring resources from all over the world, it’s essential for any operation that manages the creation and distribution of products to understand and intelligently manage its supply chain. Coordinating raw materials, purchase orders, vendors, warehouse management, and distribution is an intricately complex task that demands accuracy and strategic planning. Supply chain management software makes these tasks possible, streamlining operations while finding opportunities to save on costs and other valuable resources.

This guide will provide you with information on the following topics:

What Is Supply Chain Management Software?

Supply chain management (SCM) software helps manufacturers, logistics providers, distributors, suppliers, and retailers manage the flow of goods and services between locations as efficiently and as cost-effectively as possible. From the acquisition of raw materials to a finished product being delivered to a customer, SCM software makes it possible to plan, control, and execute the supply chain processes that make the manufacturing and distribution of finished goods a reality.

Taking a holistic approach to supply chain management, SCM software maximizes cost reduction opportunities in getting products provisioned from the vendor to the customer. Considering every possible strategic or business analysis possibility, SCM software enables organizations throughout the supply chain to make informed decisions about their network optimization, business partnership planning, and product lifecycle management.

Features of Supply Chain Management Software

Feature Description
Requisition and approvals management Automates the collection, approval, and fulfillment of requisitions. Often linked in with purchase order management systems, employees will be able to begin the process of getting the necessary goods and services to fulfill orders for customers.
Purchase order management Allows you to issue orders for services and products. Tracks all key order info including: the vendor, purchase quantities, item or service purchased, delivery timeframes, payment terms, and costs.
Vendor management Manage all levels of communication with vendors. Measure ship windows times, how quickly documents are submitted, how effective containers are utilized, accuracy of shipments, and double check quantity and quality of received products.
Supplier Management Includes contract management, risk management, purchase order processing, supplier performance reviews, and product lifecycle management to manage and maintain supplier relationships.
Demand planning Utilize information from a point of sale, ship-to or warehouse data, social data, or the weather to get a better sense of demand. Set performance benchmarks, allocate resources, and optimize targets.
Sales forecasting Anticipate sales levels to aid appropriate production processes. Looks at analytics such as what is in season, historical sales, product launch dates, and more.
Warehouse management Provides powerful tools to design a warehouse’s workflow, control stock, generate bills and reports, and manage yards, docks, and labor.
Inventory control Keeps track of all information about the items that your company builds, buys, stores or sells.
Product lifecycle management Reduce cost on product launch and meet market demands to ensure the profitable years of the product are maximized.

Benefits of Supply Chain Management Software

Supply chain software simplifies the intricate and complex process of getting products from the supplier processed and to the customer. With SCM software, supply chain providers can gain insight and control over every aspect of the manufacturing and distribution process, including vendor management, demand planning and sales forecasting, inventory and warehouse control, and delivery optimization planning.

Benefit Description
Eliminating delays that cause decreased customer satisfaction Increased visibility and control over the supply chain makes it possible to identify potential issues with inventory, distribution, and labor. By enabling supply chain providers to proactively respond to changes in real time, SCM software can prevent delays and ensure products are delivered when promised.
Identifying the vendors offering the most attractive rates SCM software’s business intelligence capabilities can identify suppliers that offer the best prices for commodities or transportation.
Maintaining just-in-time inventory and reduce warehousing costs SCM software maximizes warehouse efficiency by making just-in-time inventory management possible, ensuring goods are only received on an as-needed basis. Just-in-time inventory can greatly reduce waste and decrease the cost of unnecessary storage.
Avoiding shortages and backorders that contribute to lost business Comprehensive tools for demand planning and collaboration among multiple suppliers and distributors can prevent shortages and backorders by maintaining an accurate view of product and supply levels.
Optimizing warehousing, requiring less space or fewer facilities SCM software analyzes the movement of materials among warehouses and helps plan for current and future needs, enabling supply chain producers to free up space in warehouses or distribution centers.
Providing real-time updates to customers on order provisioning status Live insights offering transparency throughout the order fulfillment process is possible with SCM software, letting customers know the status of their purchase across the supply chain.
Utilizing historical data to feed future projections and forecasting Business intelligence and trend analysis features make it possible to accurately manage and predict demand. SCM software enables supply chain providers to make data-informed decisions about inventory and sales, potentially saving on inventory and warehousing costs and maximizing opportunities for production.
Decreased turnaround time Better supply chain visibility means the location of any given item can be tracked, enabling products to be built, shipped, and delivered as quickly and accurately as possible.
Reduced holds on the production line SCM software helps coordinate and execute production and logistical operations, making it simpler to manage production lines and cut down on holdups or delays.

What Does Your Business Need?

The best SCM software for any supply chain partner depends entirely on the scope of your business. Selecting the right supply chain management system to meet your organization’s needs may depend on its size:

  • Small businesses may prefer SCM software that integrates with existing small-business friendly software solutions such as QuickBooks. Offering extensive supply chain capabilities while maintaining compatibility with existing systems makes for an easy transition and can help save costs when compared with a full-scale SCM system.
  • Medium businesses may need SCM software that integrates with complex warehousing operations, requiring integrations with larger enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems.
  • Large businesses may require full-scale SCM software packages that provide a complete supply chain management solutions from the ground up. Enhanced business intelligence and product forecasting tools can help large enterprises better predict and manage future resource demands.

While many SCM software solutions exist, finding the best choice for your operation doesn’t necessarily mean selecting the most popular or most extensive solution. Be sure to take time and carefully assess the different features and capabilities of any SCM software you’re considering.

An example of one piece of popular SCM software is BMI Software, which provides fully integrated supply chain management solutions through the versatile Microsoft Dynamics platform. Available in the cloud or on-premises, BMI Software’s SCM solution is built to improve visibility across the supply chain network, reduce delays, and enhance collaboration among all supply chain partners. Implementing BMI’s SCM software can result in improved customer service and rendition, better forecasting accuracy, faster order fill times and rates, and improved warehouse pick/pack/ship operations.

Common Pain Points

  • Choosing the right solution. Supply chain partners that manage delivery fleets have very different needs than organizations that outsource delivery solutions. It’s important to assess the specific needs of your supply chain operation to ensure you select the right SCM software to meet your needs.
  • Intergrating with existing ERP systems. While most SCM software solutions are designed with software integrations in mind, seamlessly integrating SCM software and ERP software can be a time-consuming, resource-intensive process. If the SCM software you desire must be integrated with an existing solution, it’s crucial to evaluate both the supply chain management features your organization requires and the scope of the ERP integration it requires.

Here are some of the most common trends SCM software providers have developed solutions for:

  • Cloud-based software: Most industries have begun migrating software operations to a cloud-based solution. Often paid on a recurring subscription basis, cloud-based makes it easier to access information through any web browser, enabling better management of the global supply chain. Cloud-based SCM software can also help save costs on computer hardware and server equipment.
  • Internet of Things (IoT): The IoT increases transparency into the modern supply chain process. This includes GPS tracking and RFID technologies to monitor the transportation process, digital sensors on assembly lines to monitor quality control, or cloud-based solutions to streamline communication efficiency between different internal departments, third-party logistics providers, or other partners involved in the supply chain.
  • Omnichannel retailing: The convergence of online and in-store purchasing has been made possible by decades of improved logistics capabilities. As such, any successful omnichannel retail operation needs precise control across its supply chain, including warehouse management, inventory control, and transportation management.