The fact that ‘change is inevitable’ is a universally concept that also hold true in the context of supply chain management (SCM) software forecasting.
Companies engaged in the manufacturing sector need to make constant informed predictions on the SCM industry because they tend to base their production levels of the materials on the basis of this forecasting.
These firms do that in order to placate the concerns of their customers while obviating the need to confront the perennial problem of overproduction wherein excess inventory ends up lying idle and unused.
To that end, the deployment of intelligent, modern SCM software is almost indispensable for such entities because the financial implication ofaccurate SCM forecasting assumes gigantic proportions.
For modern businesses, the advantages of using SCM software are manifold:
The most obvious benefit is the reduction of exorbitant labor costs. That apart, the software uses a gamut of intelligent features that not only help companies identify excessive costs, but also suggest ways to reduce it.
As an instance, the state-of-the-art SCM software offers practical inputs on how to cut down transportation charges; how to buy commodities at cheaper price; or workable ideas to optimize storage capacity while preventing over-production.
Let’s get down to the basics. The reason why many companies use SCM software is to enhance their production and operational efficiencies. Practical examples of these include: storage optimization, inventory management, transportation and distribution.
The software essentially allows these players to pay more attention to productive tasks like strategy formulation, marketing, and quick deploymentof products.
In addition to streamlining the management of storage and inventory capacity, certain attributes of the software also identify better products that can be sustained and developed further.
In the long run, this translates into increased revenues.
A domain that is dynamic and incisive, as it is significant in its ability to shapeserious economic and technological ramifications, a lot needs to be examined (and re-examined) about historical facts before we can make reasonably accurate projections about the development module of SCM software which continues to witness path-breaking changes.
History, after all, remains one of the most reliable indicators of future trends, which is why it can neither be trivialized nor dismissed without a thorough examination.
As we try and assimilate and understand the historical realm of SCM software development, we discover the following facts:
One of the most striking aspects about the historicity of SCM software is the unavailability of verifiable information either online or offline (via magazines and books) for some reason. Apart from some sporadic research papers and articles written on the web, there is a lack of authoritative information on this subject.
In the absence of historically accurate information, it goes without saying that there is a great paucity of statistical information whereby we can infer assumptions by comparing the performance of one company with their counterparts.
This is a serious predicament because companies make indiscreet SCM implementations on a trial-and-error basis, as opposed to scientific analytical methodologies. That being said, these firms cannot be blamed because they don’t find a verifiable reference point to go back to.
The number of analyst firms directly or indirectly dealing with SCM software is steadily on the rise; however, the number of inaccurate predictions made by them (with the exception of world-class firms like Gartner) remains a matter of grave concern.
In other words, we cannot take the assertions of these analysts on their face value because the conclusions are oftentimes contradictory.
When these firms don’t know as to what works and what doesn’t, they typically fail to deploy SCM software sensibly. This makes them prone to repeating the mistakes made by others who had implemented the software in the past.
All these complexities notwithstanding, there is plenty of room for improvement for SCM players. Companies that are farsighted and know how to plan can drastically improve the chances of successful software implementation by analyzing these indicators.
After having briefly understood the historical context of SCM software evolution, let’s draw our attention to some key future trends.
Internet-based retail sales have witnessed burgeoning growth over the past decade or so, which has escalated the need of tackling impending issues ininventory, warehousing and distribution. For example, the paradigm of suppliers has changed, in that they are no longer merely shifting a product to a storage cell. Instead, they are choosing a warehouse from where the product is directly handed over to the end-user.
In this regard, using SCM software can help companies exert effective control on inventory handling and packaging.
Thanks to the advancement of technological inputs, an increasing number of companies are now keen to exert a better control on issues like: areas where their investment is eventually reaching while ensuring cost utilization.
Therefore, experts opine that they are likely to use SCM software to achieve better planning and leverage outsourcing partners to address the growing needs of their clients.
Everybody is talking and continues to talk about the cloud software phenomenon. Without oversimplifying the concept, it basically refers to the software hosted by the vendor that is then accessed via a normal browser instead being installed on a PC.
While the SCM technology is yet to be deployed to the optimum level, even by major players like SAP, Geneva Systems and Microsoft, this trend is likely to change soon.
This is because most SCM software developers now understand the importance of launching newer web applications and forging strategic alliances to achieve practical integration. We are likely to hear more and more about the likes of SAP and S2K in this regard.
Companies that deploy SCM software for inventory tracking purposes have gained cognizance about being sensitive to the needs of labor management.
Difficult as it may be to fathom, SCM software can help companies better manage the functionality and output of every worker by suggesting ways to improve their efficiency.
As supply chain professionals gear up to confront the challenges in future, they know they have a tough task on their hand. To begin with, they would have to keep pace with the relentless technological advancements by incorporating concepts like data analytics and big data in the realm of SCM.
Secondly, they also need to prepare better to manage risks more efficiently by inviting governmental intervention, wherever appropriate. Thirdly, labor shortage poses a very real challenge that these professionals must deal with by efficiently deploying the features of SCM software.
Thankfully, SCM technology is expected to impart immense benefits to all the stakeholders, be it in the form of imbibing advanced software, sophisticated wireless systems, and smart devices; or empowering the firm’s strategy development team. Key decisions that may have taken weeks or even months in the past would be taken within a few minutes in the near future.
All in all, SCM software has a bright future to look forward to, thanks to impressive suite of systems like SAP, Fishbowl Inventory, and FlexRFP, among others.