Get ready for your SCM improved in the world of digital tools

In practice, the process of getting a product from the ground or delivery of raw goods into the hands of the consumer requires a lot of complicated procedures to manage closely, and doing so efficiently and cost-effectively requires a powerful efficient management. To help with that management, there are digital tools designed to make these tasks easy. Some of the characteristics of these tools include:

They can be in the cloud, and you won’t need experts to keep the software on your own server, making it much more affordable. You don’t have to make a capital investment in the additional equipment or staff to manage the program. The program is always up to date. Because the cloud is its core business, they do a better job at that than a hired department supporting companies with different core businesses. Your business data is safer, because, providing digital storage in different locations on at least two separate servers. The cloud provider assumes 100% responsibility for keeping their application and your data safe and is available to you from anywhere. That includes your office, your home or while you’re on vacation just checking on operations.

Also, the programs are easily scalable, and as your business grows, you do not have to spend time and additional funds buying a new server and expanding your network. The provider simply allocates additional computing resources to your account. Even more, every business has its own particular needs and requirements, and no software tool comes out of the box perfectly designed just for you. You need to pick a software tool that can be customized to your business. You want a powerful tool that automates business processes, so managers can organize everything from the shipments of raw materials to deliveries to retail stores, and view your performance indicators in a dashboard.

The best digital tools for Supply Chain Management are flexible about the hardware they work with. There are many hand-held devices for inventory management, and orders and receipts, which use scanners and bar codes. There are many such devices now in use in industries at various points in the supply chain, so you need the robust software that handles them all. Also, they must integrate well with other software tools and platforms to enhance your business network and connections. You want the tool to work well with Google Apps and Microsoft Office programs to evaluate data and create reports. And keep in mind that supply chain management goes a little further than just inventory management. It can help you keep track of the flow of goods, to reduce costs, and help plan scenarios in which the supply chain could change. It can help you plan the minimum supply to keep on hand, and make smart decisions about order quantities and delivery times. David Kiger invites you to take a look at some software options for supply chain management, and some of the features of each.

Amazon UK warehouse_logistics_david kiger_digital tools_supply chain management
Image courtesy of D K at Flickr.com

12 Return

It is a Cloud-based solution for branded and retail companies that streamlines the authorization, transportation, processing and settlement of product returns from consumers and business customers. A service-oriented and cost-effective solution that spans all processes of the reverse supply chain. 12 Return combines customer service and operations into a single returns management solution.

Apache OFBiz

This is an open source product for the automation of enterprise processes that includes framework components and business applications for Supply Chain Management, among others. Apache OFBiz is actually a suite of related tools for helping you manage a variety of business processes. Its primary supply chain functions focus on warehouse management, fulfillment, order, and manufacturing management. It is very customizable, but requires a good deal of careful planning to set up and integrate with your existing processes, and is probably the best fit for a medium to large scale operation.

LA WMS

LA Warehouse Management Software enables 3PL companies to serve their clients in various industries, provide them with smartest services by optimizing costs, being agile and reducing time to value. It is a warehouse management and order fulfillment platform offered in flexible deployment formats and methodologies. The system is capable of supporting disparate warehousing processes, separate product groups, and the needs of different sectors all within a single unified platform.

OpenBoxes

OpenBoxes is a supply chain management and inventory control software, designed for keeping track of pharmaceuticals in a healthcare environment, but it can be modified to track any type of stock and the flows associated with it. It has tools for demand forecasting based on historical order quantities, tracking of stock, support of multiple facilities, expiration date tracking, kiosk support, and many other features which make it ideal for healthcare situations but which could also be useful for other industries.

FrePPle

FrePPle is an incredible planning and forecasting solution, useful for forecasting and demand planning. Correctly dimensioning the inventory across the network is important in today’s complex supply chains. FrePPLe safely stocks and reorders quantities for raw materials, intermediate products, and end products. It generates finite-capacity production plans and schedules constrained by resource capacities, personnel availability, material availability and lead times.

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