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Supply chain software has many purposes, the most important of which are the ability to forecast and track the supply and demand real time. Essentially, a supply chain manager needs to ensure that the right products reach the right destination at the right time and in order to do this across a complex supply chain that includes, suppliers, warehousing, manufacturing, transport and distribution the supply chain software needs to be well integrated into the key supply chain role players, providing real time data for analysis and decision making.

Supply chain software solutions are a vital tool to the supply chain manager, whose role often extends beyond executive roles of decision making but crosses all levels of the supply chain, purchasing, distribution, planning, purchasing and logistics. These varied high pressure roles of the supply chain manager require him to have the information to make quick decisions at his finger tips and this is the real value of good, well integrated supply chain software solutions.

Lets take a look at some functionality that an effective supply chain software solution will provide to the supply chain manager in order to streamline operations and manage costs to optimize efficiency and profitability in the supply chain.

  • Inventory optimization tools
  • Cost analysis
  • Forecasting supply and demand
  • Supplier and customer relationship management tools
  • Product/Service sourcing tools

Small changes in supply and demand, coupled with lets say an increase in the fuel price can have dramatic effects on the supply chain. Optimization of inventory and better distribution planning, use of vehicles and a change in the stock positions could well prove to be an opportunity. Opportunities that require very tight inventory control and transport management need an extremely good supply chain software solution that will alert the supply chain manager when stock levels reach a certain point.

Your supply chain management software solution could come from a variety of sources, some dedicated to providing industry specific solutions or supply chain software that is generic and be configured for your requirements.

Your procurement manager should interview at least three supply chain software solution providers that provide software for your businesses size. Costs can vary significantly if you are a business with under 1000 employees and you get a supply chain quote from say SAP as opposed to a smaller solution provider whose focus is on medium size businesses.

Like every area of the supply chain, do your homework thoroughly and get the capabilities of the system you require in writing if it is to be a custom supply chain software solution.