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Summary: Earlier, international trade was confined to particular pockets worldwide. But today, it’s much more connected and dependent on multiple interconnected partners distributed across the globe. UNCTAD’s Global Trade Update report shows that global trade reached USD 28.5 trillion in 2021, an increase of 13% compared to 2019 and 25% compared to 2020. And this is where the features of supply chain management software help. They automate manual and repetitive actions, facilitate interdepartmental information, optimize logistics & warehouse management that forge robust and trust-worthy relationships between value-chain partners & customers, and create wealth-generating opportunities.
This article will shed light on seven critical features of supply chain management that will help you gain a better strategic perspective of your company and the industry.
With access to real-time information, you can avoid missing goods, eliminate bottlenecks, and respond to customer queries and grievances quickly. Moreover, the features of supply chain management software allow multiple stakeholders to be on the same page while working on a particular project. The best part is that they don’t need to take permission from different departments to access business-critical documents and essential updates. Instead, they can obtain it instantly.
Here’s an example to explain this concept. Consider Truck A located in City A picks up a consignment from a company’s warehouse. Unfortunately, the engine breaks down on the way, and the truck can no longer travel. Now, the problem is that the company must pay a fine if the truck fails to deliver the items within the specified duration. This is where supply chain management software will come into action. It will automatically intimate the closest truck, say truck B, to pick up the items from truck A, ensuring items are delivered to the destination within the prescribed time. Thanks to supply chain management software, end-to-end traceability and collaboration between multiple partners has become easier than ever.
Here are a few features of the supply chain management system that ensure real-time and collaboration capabilities:
One of the best features of supply chain management software is that it integrates the distributed features of the supply chain, including warehouse centers, Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM), vendors, suppliers, distributors, customers, packers & movers, and shipments. Moreover, it also integrates disparate business management solutions like email, help desks, third-party applications, legacy systems, etc.
These features build a robust network of information flow and a single source of truth, eliminating connectivity issues. Other benefits include:
Other benefits of implementing supply chain management software are:
Businesses today need to forecast the changing market conditions and customer preferences. Without solid forecasting power, it’s impossible to know customer needs, wants, desires, and ambitions, meaning you might lose a fair share of your customers to your competitors.
Forecasting capabilities and advanced analytics are one of the most important features of supply chain management software because of the following reasons:
Forecasting also mitigates risk by anticipating future demands, allowing you to keep a suitable amount of inventory in the warehouse by providing deep insights based on factual data. It also includes what-if simulations that help you learn how to deal with challenging situations that might come up in the future.
Cloud-based supply chain management features allow authorized users to access and use features from anywhere, anytime, and on any connected device. The most significant advantage of this feature is that the cloud-based solutions can be set up at a fraction of the cost, in relatively less time, and at a marginal risk compared to on-premise ERP systems.
Other benefits include:
Optimizing business functions is one of the essential features of supply chain management software. It allows employees to focus on mission-critical tasks instead of wasting time on repetitive and manual processes that give rise to human-induced errors and take a lot of time. Instead, automated systems can perform simple tasks rapidly without the risk of committing errors and also helps increase revenue.
Companies can automate business functions, such as:
Companies can also use AI and machine learning algorithms to perform other crucial tasks, such as checking whether the product is in a usable or best-finished state without any human intervention. In addition, AI’s optimization capabilities allow supply chain companies to move goods from source to destination at the lowest cost possible. This capability is of great help at a time when fuel prices are skyrocketing and national and international shipping regulations are continuously evolving.
One of the best features of supply chain management software is that it can be customized based on the user’s needs. Business rules can be rewritten and new features can be added on an ad-hoc basis, allowing companies to launch their products in the market quickly. Moreover, most supply chain management solutions enable developers to make changes using programming languages like Python and Java. Supply chain software’s open architecture allows companies to build indigenous applications or tweak existing apps suitable to their business environment. Companies can also build unique variations of existing products to fulfill the changing needs of various customer segments and enhance their productivity.
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Therefore, while selecting an appropriate supply chain management software, you should evaluate the following things: