Supply chain management involves getting the right goods to the right place at the right time. The major tools kept on tap to make this happen are technology-focused, including data management systems, software applications, and devices that handle inventory tracking, logistics transportation management, and more.
It is impossible to apply one size fits all to supply chain management technology because every company handles its own logistics differently.
Some of these differences may come down to company size: larger companies tend to have internal IT departments. In contrast, smaller ones don’t always have access to the resources needed for setting up complicated technologies in-house.
Other differences may result from industry type: retailers typically need different system features than manufacturers do. In addition, they operate under different governing bodies and have different needs as far as managing their merchandise is concerned.
The full suite of supply chain management technology also covers warehouse management systems (WMS), software applications that help retailers, wholesalers and manufacturers keep track of the items they have on hand and where those items are stored in a given space.
In this way, a WMS tracks inventory–making it easier for companies to see what’s selling well or not selling at all, to know when replacements need to be ordered, and so forth. A bonus is that keeping an eye on inventory levels can prevent products from being wasted by avoiding overstocking.
A WMS helps a company cut down on wasted inventory by warning it when levels are too low. It might also help companies decrease time spent dealing with paperwork through electronic work order systems/requests for services. In addition, it can track labor costs more effectively. It provides barcode access to avoid mix-ups or confusion over shipping information. It reduces paperwork errors due to handwritten receipts and other challenges of the pre-technology era. It facilitates automated, integrated, continuous flow processes between all parts of a supply chain management system. Optimizes logistics performance by integrating ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning), warehouse control systems, transportation management software (TMS), and other technologies into one complete package; and more.
Efficient inventory processes are essential for businesses in every industry to stay competitive and profitable over the long term, but they don’t always come easily or cheaply.
For example, many retailers have had difficulty getting their logistics operations running smoothly even after investing millions of dollars in new supply chain management technology. While these investments have paid off for some companies, many others are still struggling to modernize their platforms. As a result, they need guidance on how to get their operations up to date.
At the core of these struggles is a lack of knowledge about how supply chain management technology works in the first place and what it can do for any given business.
Introducing new technology requires a complete rethinking of how a company operates.
It can be challenging to find out which technologies are worth investing in and which ones might not fit the overall business model. In some cases, this means that companies have trouble finding help when they need it most–if they know where to look at all.
The way a company manages its logistics operations depends largely on how long it has been around and the kind of industry it’s in.
Most supply chain management technology platforms have in common that they help companies more easily manage warehouses, inventories, transportation, and other related business functions.
This helps to ensure a smooth operation and prevents parts of the supply chain from stalling in any one spot.