How to choose your supply chain management software.
As the manager of an office or branch, or as the owner of a smaller business, one of the most important questions that you have to figure out the answer to is how you should choose your supply chain management software.
In essence, a supply chain is a chain of links that, hopefully when all connected together, end up making your company more profitable. The supply chain is one of the most important parts of your business. The supply chain is also one of the places where it is most advantageous to streamline production and processing and to cut costs and to improve efficiency. However, if you are trying to manage things yourself, it's easy to leave some of the most important links out of the picture. This way of going about streamlining-forgetting key parts-is no way to improve productivity. It will only do the opposite: make a bigger mess out of things.
So, what's the first link in your supply chain? Can you think of it? Actually, the very first link in your supply chain is your supply chain management software. You probably don't consider your supply chain management software to be the place where your supply chain starts. But if you don't choose the right supply chain management software, then you are seriously weakening your supply chain, and thus weakening your company.
The first thing that you need to do when choosing your supply chain management software is to sit down and assess your company's needs. What is the nature of the rest of your supply chain? What kinds of things do you need your supply chain management software to do? How many steps are there in your total supply chain and how many different software programs will you need? Then, you need to start planning. Who is going to be the person who oversees the supply chain management software? Who will install the software? Who will be implementing the supply chain? How are you going to measure the efficiency and the effectiveness of your supply chain and your supply chain management software?
There are a number of other steps on your supply chain that you have to take into consideration when you are choosing your supply chain management software. Where are you going to get your goods? Where are your goods going to be shipped? Where will be they stored? Where will the finished materials be delivered? Throughout your supply chain, you are going to have to link together different warehouses, you will have to set up and coordinate your transportation, and you will have to have invoices and tracking all along the way. Furthermore, you will also have to include a link in your supply chain that allows for the return of defective goods. You need to choose a supply chain management software that has components that can help with each and every one of these steps. While each different step or module is available separately, you might want to consider choosing a software solution that lets you link all of the different steps together so that you can have a more integrated supply chain management software system.
Armed with your list of what you want and what you need from your supply chain management software, you can start looking seriously at different vendors. It will be easy for you to see which ones will not suit your purposes, if you have a clear idea of what your purposes are. Try out the demos. What is the design of the software like? Is it easy to understand? Can you link the software so that the same information is available to people in all of the different physical locations of your supply chain? Is there a way to back up information? Then, if possible, take a look at how the software works in the real world. Visit companies that use that particular supply chain management software. Talk to them about problems in the software, benefits to the software, and more. Make sure that whoever will be implementing and managing the supply chain and the management software comes with you to meetings so that they can have a clear idea of what they are going to be working with, and so that they can give you input on decisions.
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Posted by DF