Four Strategies for Choosing the Right Supply Chain Management Solution
Nancy Sarpolis - July 18, 2023
Supply chain managers have more choices than ever for technology solutions that can help improve efficiencies and optimize production. With the industry projected to grow more than 12% by 2030, finding the right fit from a dizzying array of options can be daunting at best. Companies searching for the right technologies too often have limited resources and a myriad of choices and solutions.
1. Let the business plan guide the search. It’s easy to feel like a kid in a candy store with so many varied options, from point solutions, platforms, and enterprise resource planning (ERP) options to cloud services and other Industry 4.0 offerings. But avoid the shiny objects and stay true to the organization’s North Star: its business strategy.
“Supply chain digital transformation is proven to mitigate supply chain risk and optimize supply chain cost, but it requires strong alignment between business and supply chain strategy to succeed,” says Gartner.
Chief Supply Chain Officers often struggle to translate their digital supply chain vision, ambitions and business objectives into an understandable, easily communicated and business-aligned digital transformation roadmap. In fact, less than half have defined or plan to implement a supply chain digital transformation roadmap. Of the digital supply chain roadmaps that do exist, only 32% are aligned under a single governance process and to common business goals.
KPMG recommends prioritizing technology investments in supply chain planning capabilities, and end-to-end visibility enabled by real-time analytics, as these can help companies maintain operational stability.
2. Third-party insights. Trusted sources such as Gartner’s Magic Quadrant™, which doesn’t endorse any vendor, product or service, can provide rigorous, fact-based research in specific markets. A Magic Quadrant placement helps supply chain leaders quickly ascertain how well technology providers are executing their stated visions and how well they are performing against Gartner® market view. Flexis supply chain management solutions, for example, were positioned by Gartner® as a Honorable Mention in the 2023 Magic Quadrant™ for Supply Chain Planning Solutions.
The SCM IT Subway Map is another resource that helps companies to determine what kind of solution they should look for and which vendors they should consider as part of their supply chain software selection process. Original software providers are allocated positions on the map based on the number of implementations and their share of revenue for each software type in Europe. Using an interactive map of 16 different “lines” mapping solutions such as ERP, warehouse management and sustainability reporting, supply chain managers can select the “routes” most important for their business goals and find suppliers with expertise in those areas. Flexis, for example, has four “stops” on the Subway Map: Supply Chain Network Design, Sales & Operations Planning, Production Planning & Scheduling and Transportation Management Systems.
3. Case studies. Chances are that your company isn’t the first in the industry to consider supply chain management technologies to improve productivity and efficiency. So it makes sense to leverage the learnings from those who have been successful in their search and subsequent implementation. Case studies from companies in your industry with similar issues can offer a starting point for identifying potential technology solutions. For example, if synchronizing production across multiple lines with sequencing solutions that manage complexity in a standardized way. If a major business goal involves optimizing production within a single facility, job shop scheduling solutions may be worth considering.
While every situation is unique, reviewing case studies can give a better sense of how technology is being used to solve real-world problems and can provide insight into your own journey.
4. Consider integration with other systems and modules. More than ever, integrated systems are of paramount importance for companies with global supply chains that need to plan with foresight and stability. Supply chain digitization is opening up new opportunities to manage supply chains in a smarter, more connected way—from digital production and network planning to real-time route optimization. The flexis HYRBRID architecture covers the entire product lifecycle from planning to delivery. Key modules include Sales & Operations Planning (S&OP), Advanced Planning & Scheduling (APS), Transportation Planning & Scheduling and Multi Dimension Monitoring. These
Even better are the solutions that interwork easily with MES and ERP systems. The ability to integrate with Microsoft Azure, AWS or popular suppliers of cloud services can also result in fast, simple, and scalable implementation across the organization.
Finding the right solution for optimizing operations and improving efficiencies may seem like looking for a needle in a haystack. But these four strategies can help supply chain managers hone in on those solutions that will fit best with their organization’s unique needs and put them on the path to a successful implementation.
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