Today, people spend thousands of dollars on their businesses. And if they make a simple mistake, their business might get doomed. Moreover, their competitors can take their place. But with supply chain management tools, business owners can avoid such errors.
As per recent reports, 57% of companies consider they gain a competitive edge from supply chain management.
So, the future of your business is bleak without supply chain management. With it, you can certainly succeed and won’t have any margin for error.
That’s why in today’s competitive supply chain market, if you are not the best, then you aren’t winning. And to do the best, you need some tools for supply chain managers.
The article covers the 10 must-have tools for supply chain managers in 2023. These tools help them cut down on financial loss and errors.
Must-Have Tools for Supply Chain Managers in 2023
As the world of business changes, so too does the role of the supply chain manager. Newer, more efficient methods are replacing what was once considered best practices. Supply chain managers must constantly innovate and expand their toolkits to stay ahead of the curve.
But with so many options on the market, it can be difficult to know which tools are worth investing in. This list of 10 must-have supply chain tools for 2023 will help you make the right choices for your business.
During the recent global COVID pandemic, staff shortages and shipment delays have occurred. This created problems for supply chain managers. This is where communication became more critical than ever in supply chain management.
As you know, effective communication is a vital component of business success. In fact, according to Grammarly and Harris Poll research, U.S. businesses lose $1.2 trillion annually because of poor communication.
That’s why communication tools are essential to reduce supply chain risks. Risks include missed opportunities, poor inventory management, late deliveries, and damaged client relationships.
Proper communication, as a whole, reduces employee stress and increases supply chain productivity. The communication tools include virtual phone numbers, emails, video conferencing, instant messaging, etc., as a medium to keep the business communication going in full flow.
Shipment Tracking Software
Companies invest in shipment tracking software to provide real-time updates to their customers. Warehouse scheduling software collects and updates data in real-time so customers can know the exact location of their order.
With a solution like this, you can gain better insights into your supply chain. Some benefits include
- Delay or late delivery alerts are sent to shippers.
- When packages get damaged in transit, companies are notified. This will allow them to solve the problem and please their customers.
- Shipment Status Alerts and Updates are a great way to ensure your shipments arrive on time.
ShipHawk and Orderhive are the best shipment tracking tools for SMEs.
Order Processing and Management Tools
Order processing is of utmost importance to any supply chain manager. That’s why companies need order management tools to handle all the orders.
Order management software is used to place orders for goods and services. With this tool, you can manage your orders, process sales orders, fill orders, process payments, and bill your customers.
Companies can streamline their order process by simplifying and automating it. Users can also access historical data related to the order and track order status in real-time, so there is no chance of any order errors.
Lean Inventory Management Tools
A manufacturing-oriented business needs the proper amount of raw materials and inventory. The warehouse should not have materials stored because it causes unnecessary maintenance costs. A shortage of materials is also not ideal.
That’s why lean inventory management tools are necessary. These lean inventory management software avoid the excess production of goods.
The concept involves businesses providing as many products as there are orders. Calculations are based on customer demand. With Lean inventory tools, businesses can reduce warehouse premise space and inventory expenditures, accelerating order planning.
Warehouse Management Tools
A company booster’s supply chain should always include warehouse management tools. The tool will help you manage all warehouse activities and tasks daily.
The tools are customizable and can be tailored to the needs of your business. Tracking and receiving products, route planning, and cycle counting are all intertwined aspects of logistics they can help you manage.
Further, these warehouse management software help companies manage the bundling and kitting process. It also enables users to manage many warehouse locations.
Amazon has revolutionized warehouse management systems, including how companies manage their warehouses. Logix Platform and SphereWMS are the ideal warehouse management tools for the supply chain management.
Demand Forecasting Tools
As we discussed, lean inventory tools are effective for supply chain management. But to achieve lean inventory operations, you must meet clients’ ever-changing needs. And the most effective way to do so is with demand forecasting tools.
Using a demand forecasting tool will help you generate accurate projections for the future based on past trends. You can generate forecasts at your convenience and use the insights gained to improve your strategy quickly.
With the help of supply chain forecasting tools, companies can anticipate customers’ needs, plan production, manage suppliers’ relationships, and anticipate new needs.
Several factors have contributed to the global trade roller coaster ride, resulting in continuous fluctuations in supply-demand dynamics. This has made demand forecasting critical for businesses worldwide.
Logility Solutions and SAP integrated Business Planning are the best demand forecasting tools.
Supplier Management Tools
You must have Supplier Management software if your business has multiple suppliers in different regions or needs to perform quality procurement.
These tools help businesses to manage costs and better understand the timeline and impact of a business partnership.
Further, supplier performance analysis shows how each supplier has impacted a business model.
With this software, you can adjust or change your supplier relationships by estimating the value of your partners, collaborators, and contributors. This software is often used to conduct bids, auctions, and negotiations.
Analytics and Reports Tools
After supply chain software gathers information, business analytics and reports tools are necessary to determine the best action. A supply chain analytics and report tool are vital to analyzing consumer demand and estimating suppliers’ performance.
Using supply chain analysis tools, you can evaluate your inventory, your brand’s viability, and its market competitiveness. They also compress the data and reveal a complete picture of the physical inventory, shipments, and the company’s health.
With demand forecasting, analytics can help you identify errors and gaps in your supply chain to ensure you are not just meeting demand but doing so as efficiently as possible. Using analytics, you can gain insight into the company as a whole or its sectors individually.
Additionally, reports are the final result of analytics. But the different types of analytics can produce different kinds of reports. Yet, all have one purpose: to convey what the data means. Each report will teach you how your supply chain is doing compared to your key performance indicators.
With reports tools, you can find out the popularity of a product, process orders, and determine if there have been any errors or malfunctions. They will instantly detect even the smallest delays in your supply chain.
In this way, you can organize your supply chain management strategy to meet your goals.
Security Features Tools
Typically, supply chain managers concentrate on the supply chain, ignoring security. However, ignoring safety exposes your business to risks.
Businesses risk losing partners, customers, and reputations due to data theft. Your customers may also be at risk of having personal information, credit cards, and passwords stolen.
For instance, a third party with access to your demand forecasts will likely know who your customers are and what they like. Consequently, other companies have a better chance of selling to your market and lowering your profit margin. Moreover, having financial data stolen can damage supplier relationships.
So business risk management is one of the crucial tasks a supply chain manager should take of. And they can use security features tools to eliminate the risk of identity theft, data theft, or data exposure and safeguard themselves.
By utilizing machine learning services for supply chain security, you can ensure that your business is safe, intact, and protected from fraudulent behavior.
Companies can include security measures such as avoiding third-party vendors with low-security standards, proactive patch management, prohibiting the creation of backdoors, and breach response procedures.
These smart security features tools take the extra step in shielding your data and provide restricted dashboard reporting.
Further, it prevents third parties from interfering and restricts access to specific files. You can also utilize biometric devices to track accountability. These security measures act as risk management.
Consumers, now more than ever, want their products to be well-made, safe, and ethical. Interested consumers want to know how and where the products are manufactured. That’s why suppliers need to ensure that their standards meet the consumer, government, and industry expectations.
Fortunately, today’s tools make it easy to comply with environmental and ethical regulations. For example, some solutions permit users to inspect suppliers to ensure that the minerals obtained are conflict-free.
The purpose of compliance tools is to simplify the process of analyzing your suppliers and prevent you from ordering products that are not compliant. Thus, compliance tools in supply chain management make way for clean and transparent business processes.
Furthermore, because supply chain management tools offer ease of use at their core, it is easy to access records to prove compliance during audits.
Optimizing supply chain processes is made possible by supply chain management software. These tools can help users reduce costs and errors and optimize the entire process.
Indeed, these specialized tools and techniques enable brands to avoid too costly pitfalls. Using all the tools to remain competitive and increase production is better. When these entire supply chain tools are coupled together, they maximize the efficiency of the overall supply chain.
What are the tools used in supply chain management?
A supply chain manager must use the latest tools and technologies to remain competitive. The most that are used in supply chain management are
- Communication Tools
- Shipment Tracking Software
- Order Processing and Management Tool
- Lean Inventory Management Tool
- Warehouse Management Tools
- Demand Forecasting Tool
- Supplier Management Tool
- Analytics and Reports Tools
- Security Features Tools
- Compliance Tool
What are the 7 R’s of supply chain management?
A strong supply chain management process consists of the seven R’s for effective logistics. And according to the Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport UK (2019), the 7 R’s are:
- Right product
- Right place
- Right price
- Right customer
- Right condition
- Right time
- Right quantity
What are the 3 pillars of supply chain management?
The three main pillars that support the sustainability of supply chains are
What are the 5 P’s of logistics?
5Ps are the biggest cause of logistics and marketing conflicts. And these 5 P’s are: