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Friday, September 22, 2023

Simplifying Supply Chain Complexities Using a Top Supply Chain Software


Efficient warehouse management plays a vital role in the smooth functioning of the supply chain. It facilitates effective supplier relationships, drives down operational costs, and optimizes the entire supply chain process.

This article discusses the role of supply chain software in resolving the complexities of a modern supply chain. We also touch upon warehouse management software solutions and their key features.

What Is a Supply Chain Software and Its Functionality?

Supply chain management (SCM) software manages all the touchpoints across the supply chain. This includes vendor management, inventory management, order management, logistics management, demand forecasting, product distribution, and returns and cancellation management.

SCM software provides end-to-end visibility and control over large supply chains. The top 5 functionalities of supply chain management software are:

  1. Purchasing –SCM software helps coordinate with and manage raw materials suppliers without delays so that the production process is smooth and timely.
  2. Operations – Businesses must forecast the demand for their products before ordering production. SCM ties demand planning and forecasting with inventory management, display, and logistics so that you always produce the correct quantity of products.
  3. Logistics – Products should reach the end customer on time and in good condition. SCM tool manages the planning, purchasing, production, warehousing, and transportation to avoid any obstacles in shipping.
  4. Resource management – Resources for production comprise the raw material, technology, time, and staffing. SCM software allocates the resources to the appropriate activities in an optimal manner. This creates an optimal production schedule for maximum efficiency.
  5. Information flow – SCM software seamlessly integrates and shares information with other systems within the organization, such as finance and accounting. This integration keeps the supply chain healthy and robust and prevents miscommunication.

What Are the Root Causes of Increased Supply Chain Complexities?

Over the years, the following supply chain complexities have intensified due to the pandemic, high customer expectations, shorter lead times, tailored experiences, and the pressure to reduce costs.

Network Complexity

A higher number of nodes and links in a supply chain network increases its complexity and the need for accuracy. Large companies often do not have complete visibility of their supplier and distributor network, which can cause potential disruptions.

Process Complexity

Supply chains and numerous internal and external processes, both upstream and downstream. This increases the complexity of managing them efficiently, especially with a large team.

Product Complexity

Large supply chains have many products, components, and sub-chains. The bills of material could have much less in common, which adds to the complexity and low flexibility in varying product mix and volume.

Customer Complexity

Customized and non-standard solutions are great, but you lose the economy of scale when you have too many of them. It also increases the cost of serving different customers and makes it more complex.

Supplier Complexity

The greater the number of suppliers, the higher the number of transactions, contracts, payments, and dispute resolutions. Businesses need to manage and optimize many supplier relationships.

Inventory Complexity

The high quantity of unused inventory across the network makes getting real-time visibility and control over the web challenging. Obsolete inventory can break the network and lead to large volumes of new items across multiple parties.

The Critical Role of Warehouse Management Software in Handling the Complexities

Warehouse management is a critical component of a supply chain. Here are some of the ways an enterprise warehouse management software (WMS) helps manage the complexities mentioned above –

  • Space optimization – WMS makes the best use of floor and vertical space in a large warehouse. This reduces the operational cost and makes it easy to locate an item quickly. Optimization of excessive material movement and the high time it takes to place and retrieve decreases the operating expenses of a warehouse and, thus, the supply chain.
  • End-to-end inventory visibility – Accurate and real-time visibility of inventory using RFID and other location tracking methods ensures you do not misplace any item. You can adjust the stock for high or low seasons and serve customers better.
  • Practical labor usage – WMS can assign the right task to the right person based on their skills. This optimizes skilled labor and avoids multiple personnel working on the same job. Labor efficiency leads to better staffing and measurable KPIs for reporting.
  • Traceable items – The WMS can easily trace and retrieve items when needed using a lot, batch, serial number, and technologies like IoT, RFID, drones, and unmanned forklifts. You can also efficiently match incoming collections of items with supplier purchase orders or e-way bills.
  • Supply chain optimization – Better warehouse operations reflect on the whole supply chain. From raising purchase orders to receiving items to dispatching to end customers, a WMS ensures that your supply chain operates like a clock.
  • Effective internal audits – Leverage automation and data collection technologies within the WMS for effective audits. Use technologies like automated picking and packing of items, analytics, robotics, AI, and IoT to extract insights and develop effective strategies.
  • Better shipping management – WMS can adjust according to the movement of inventory. You can connect WMS with the transportation management system (TMS) to further streamline shipping.

Critical Benefits of Supply Chain Software in Managing Supply Chain Complexities

Supply chain management (SCM) software works as a layer above the WMS and often provides warehouse management functionality within itself. The key benefits of supply chain management software are –

  1. Efficiency – SCM preempts the demand and eliminates possible bottlenecks bringing operational efficiency across the supply chain, including the warehouse. The software integrates with existing ERP, accounting, and finance systems for maximum productivity.
  2. Visibility – Get end-to-end visibility of the supply chain at the supplier end, the warehouse, or the logistics. Collaborate better with suppliers, logistics service providers, distributors, retailers, and end customers.
  3. Cost savings – Manage inventory, use the labor better, and minimize waste to increase cost savings across the supply chain.
  4. Low risk – Understand and prepare for micro and macroeconomic factors, environmental, political, and technical reasons that could cause potential disruption in the supply chain. The earlier you identify these risks, the better prepared and more agile you can be.
  5. Analytics – Get real-time data from across the supply chain and analyze it using dashboards on handheld devices. Leverage these analytics for faster decision-making.

Essential Features of a Top Supply Chain Software

These features of top supply chain software give you a strategic advantage in internal and external operations

Inventory Management

Track and manage every SKU, monitor stock levels, place orders to suppliers, give instructions for payment and ship the items to customers from a single platform.

Real-time Information

Access customizable and detailed dashboards for real-time information and alerts. Avoid roadblocks that could disrupt the business, such as the demand-supply gap.


Use built-in analytics connected to the industry metrics. Use visual cues through graphs and auto-generate MIS reports managing end-to-end supply chain operations.

Cloud-based Access

Experience the freedom of cloud-based access to your SCM software, empowering you to manage your supply chain anytime, anywhere, using a smartphone or laptop.

Order Management

Track the order from placement to packaging, dispatching, and delivery to the customer’s address. Link this to the payments system for auto payment and reconciliation.

Intuitive UI

Avoid complex systems and get access to an intuitive UI that is easy to use and serves its intended purpose with minimal training for the staff.


Good supply chain management software is the key to managing complex supply chains in a demanding and competitive market. However, every SCM software may not solve your specific issues, and you need to customize it according to your needs. While using a simple SCM for a large business may not solve all the problems, an advanced SCM for a small business may be overkill.

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