What Features Should You Look for in Cloud SCM Solutions?
Martin Pahulje - March 18, 2021
Effective supply chain management is one of the most vital aspects of your business. Today, cloud-computing is instrumental in managing your supply chain efficiently. As more and more providers begin to offer various cloud solutions, it can be challenging to differentiate between available features and their benefits. For cloud SCM solutions to be as beneficial to you as possible, it is essential to align the features you receive with the ones you need. In a business culture where customers expect their demands to be met instantly, it is vital that your organization can keep up.
There are some standard features that every SCM system must include, such as inventory and warehouse management, billing and order management, transportation and logistics planning, and vendor management. While these are the baseline necessities, we’re going to go one step further. We will take you through the most prominent holistic features of cloud SCM solutions so that you can ensure to equip yourself with the most effective supply chain possible.
It is paramount that your supply chain can respond rapidly to changes. Whether it be environmental changes, customer preferences, or competitors' actions, you must adjust operations to accommodate these needs quickly; hence the need for agility. A lot goes on in a supply chain at any given time, and disruptions are inevitable. Responding quickly will save your organization valuable time, allowing you to react rapidly while minimizing wasted time and money. The agility of your supply chain is also a huge selling point to clients, as it will allow you to quickly share data, providing them vital and timely information at a moment’s notice. It can be challenging to maintain agility without the support of technology, which is why cloud-based SCM software is vital. This software will allow you to quickly and securely deploy new services as needed in order to keep up with fluctuating demand.
Ease of Use
Another vital feature of your cloud SCM solutions should be ease of use. As supply chain technology grows more advanced, it grows more complex. For your supply chain to be efficient, the technology used must be user-friendly so that your team members can operate it with ease. While some cloud technologies are inherently complex, you can ensure that the system you utilize is simplified. This would entail easy deployment, seamless upgrades, and supported outsourced system management, maintenance, and upgrades. Furthermore, the right cloud SCM solution will offer quick access to accurate and real-time analytics and social collaboration tools. This means that you can access your system anywhere, at any time, and from any device – while working simultaneously with team members.
Outsourcing certain aspects of your SCM solutions is a huge help. Instead of using your own team's time and resources, which could be used for more pressing projects, you will have a team of experts to do your cloud housekeeping tasks. They will handle any necessary maintenance or upgrades to ensure that your system is up-to-date and running smoothly, in addition to acting quickly on repairs or network issues.
Following ease of use, connectivity is a necessity for any SCM technology, but especially cloud-based solutions. The supply chain is an integrated system of operations, so your technology must be integrated as well. Your SCM solutions should work in unity with all other systems, which is why the cloud is so advantageous. As an overarching software, a cloud solution will link your technology together, allowing quick and seamless data analysis and transfers. Furthermore, the cloud provides a higher level of visibility than other SCM solutions, providing you complete transparency over multiple platforms using standard protocols.
Connecting software such as financial systems, mobile devices, IoT devices, and more will definitely increase the ease of use in your supply chain while ensuring consistent and accurate data operations. With all systems supporting a single data model, you will achieve real-time collaboration.
The feature that likely holds the most interest to you is cost-efficiency. The right cloud SCM solution will offer several financial advantages to an organization. Many cloud providers offer subscription-based pricing, which requires less capital upfront, and later allows you to customize your subscription according to your budget and needs. Additionally, with frequent upgrades and capacity rollouts, you will be able to adapt to changes at a low cost.
The primary reason that cloud can offer such flexible costs is a result of scalability. The scale of cloud solutions allows providers to adjust prices as capabilities and customer base expand. Furthermore, in allowing you to utilize cloud scalability, you can adjust the services you receive based upon the capacity and usage you need. This ensures that you only pay for the features and storage that you utilize, saving you significantly.
Another important feature of cloud SCM solutions is security. Cloud misconfigurations are a growing cybersecurity risk, so it is vital that you protect your data. To combat these risks, cloud SCM solutions offer best-in-class security features such as encryption, virus scanning, and IT support. Furthermore, cloud providers are required to abide by strict government and public perception standards of security and privacy. This ensures that your cloud solution will be in full compliance with security standards, ensuring data safety. A significant portion of your company's reputation relies on the fact that you are able to protect client data. In ensuring that your systems are secure, your client will be confident in your organization, and you will reduce costly security breaches.
Often overlooked, flexible deployment of your supply chain management is a critical feature. Cloud SCM solutions will allow you to select particular solutions that will deliver the greatest value at a specific time, allowing you to prioritize vital steps to moving forward. This may include warehouse, transportation, supply chain, production, and scheduling management, all of which can be deployed simultaneously or as scheduled. This will give you the ability to pace deployments to align with your growth curve, ensuring that operations deploy as needed – optimizing timely delivery.
Cloud computing is essential to keeping up with Industry 4.0 technology. With countless features, cloud SCM solutions will optimize your supply chain into a more agile, secure, and connected value network. Your supply chain is the root of your operations, so you must supply it with the best possible resources. With the speed of business increasing each day, it is paramount that you can keep up with seamless and timely operations. With the six features we have mentioned; agility, ease of use, connectivity, cost, security, and flexible deployment, you can guarantee a more efficient supply chain than ever before.
Cloud supply chain solutions are no longer the future; they are the present. Optimizing your supply chain management software is a necessity to succeed in today's supply chain logistics industry. The wide variety of cloud solutions and features can be daunting, but with these features in mind, you will find the right system for you. Utilizing the support of a provider, you can ensure that you will have these features in your toolbox and find the cloud SCM solution that best fits your needs.