The development of global trade increased the significance of supply chain management (SCM) as millions of businesses interact across geographies and economies. Supply chain management helps businesses strengthen their supply chain network for uninterrupted procurement, production, and distribution of their products and services.
Constant technological advancement and dynamic customer expectations have led to a demand-driven operating model capable of effectively integrating people, processes, and technology to provide products and services quickly and precisely. Hence, optimizing the supply chain with supply chain software has become critical for businesses today.
Why you need to digitalize your supply chain
Today’s supply chain network is a complex system of organizations, resources, information, and people. Supply chain management software ensures this network runs like a well-oiled machine.
With the advent of Industry 4.0 or the fourth industrial revolution, organizations have begun to apply technology to every aspect of the business, including the supply chain. Prominent global players have already moved to innovative production and distribution methods involving IoT, ML, and AI-led processes. With smart systems and AI, digitizing supply chain management helps your business to keep up with the advancements.
Industry 4.0 and AI-led supply chain software ensure supply chain resilience by helping with strategy and execution, customer-centric operations, and greater visibility of the entire supply chain. Data management is the first step toward the digital transformation of the supply chain. The best supply chain software can help organizations apply integrated data to streamline processes and drive cost and time efficiencies.
The pandemic was an example of how badly global supply chains can be disrupted. Predictive analysis can reduce the impact of similar disruptions on the supply chain. It allows companies to plan strategies and take preventive steps to keep the supply chain uninterrupted in the present and future challenges.
How does AI-powered supply chain software bring efficiency to supply chain management?
Building a robust supply chain requires digital transformation. AI-enabled digital supply chains are automated, which increases decision-making capabilities, transparency, and cooperation. A recent survey revealed that AI-enabled supply-chain management has improved logistics costs by 15 %, inventory levels by 35 %, and service levels by 65 %.
Let’s delve into the key benefits of AI-powered supply chain services:
- Diversified sourcing and streamlined logistics – Using demand forecasting software, AI-led supply chain software can predict demand trends. It helps to diversify sourcing using e-procurement methods to optimize and speed up the process. Moreover, as data is fully integrated with suppliers, it assists in streamlining logistics. Additionally, AI-powered SCM software aids in the dynamic optimization of routing, freight contracting, and vessel-sharing.
- Efficient inventory and warehouse management – AI-powered SCM software can deploy specialized modules to integrate several inventory points under a central system for streamlined management. Multi-location inventory tracking, low inventory alerts, automated alerts, and inventory performance analysis are the new ways to keep track of sourced materials. Smart shelving solutions, data aggregation, and cloud-based order management can ensure optimized warehouse management.
- Real-time visibility and collaboration – Real-time visibility is one of the most significant advantages of supply chain software. End-to-end supply chain visibility encourages collaboration between suppliers, distributors, and customers, as data is easily integrated with modern SCM software. Comprehensive visibility enables the business to be agile and react quickly to disruptions.
- Automation of routine processes – Processes like procurement and logistics have a lot of time-consuming manual routines such as PR/PO and invoice matching, reporting, and task management. AI-enabled SCM software automates routine processes, thus, saving time and reducing errors.
- Cost reduction – AI can track payments, improve inventory management, reduce duplication, and minimize wastage, thus leading to active cost reduction and cost avoidance. Thus, better savings management leads to cost efficiencies.
- Supply chain risk management – Disruptions in supply chains expose companies to a greater risk of non-compliance. However, built-in regulatory checks in SCM software ensure continued compliance and security. Additionally, predictive analysis helps foresee demand trends, aiding businesses in preparing for changes.
How to choose and implement SCM software for your business
Selecting the right SCM software is important for managing complex supply chains. Moreover, one size doesn’t fit all. SCM solutions and supply chain services must be adapted to specific business needs that align with the organization’s strategy. An intelligent supply chain management software should have these vital features:
- Inventory management
- Real-time data
- Security and Compliance
- Analytics and forecasting
- Order management
- Field service management
- Easy-to-use interface
- Cloud-based access and mobile interface
Here are the key steps to consider before implementing SCM software:
- Identify opportunities for value creation across all supply chain domains. Utilize this idea to specify a supply chain plan that complements the overarching corporate strategy or client needs.
- Look for solutions that best address the strategy. You may need to approach several providers or look for providers who can service the process holistically.
- Deploy solutions and ensure a holistic approach to creating value in the short term and sustainability in the long term. Secure system integration for accurate data management is required for specialized software.
- Invest effort in change management and staff training to ensure accurate and optimum utilization of supply chain management solutions.
Supply chain management software can optimize the entire supply chain process through automation and AI-led solutions. A well-designed SCM software provides a competitive advantage to businesses through real-time data, automation of repetitive tasks, analytics, accuracy, and cost efficiency, enabling your business and the supply chain partners to operate as a unified system.