Supply Chain Management53Supply chain management (SCM) is the oversight of materials, information, and finances as they move in a process from supplier to manufacturer to wholesaler to retailer to consumer.Manhattan Active Supply Chain1https://dudodiprj2sv7.cloudfront.net/vendor-logos/RT/YI/FUVQKD4P5ZD5-180x180.PNGriskmethods2https://dudodiprj2sv7.cloudfront.net/vendor-logos/b9/qG/SRQVTTCP4E3T-180x180.PNGLiferay Commerce3https://dudodiprj2sv7.cloudfront.net/product-logos/4n/vb/4L543TN8GKXW.PNGGenesis End-to-End4https://dudodiprj2sv7.cloudfront.net/vendor-logos/o0/YI/1B72E7WH1GT7-180x180.JPEG

Supply Chain Management Software

Supply Chain Management Software Overview

What is Supply Chain Management Software (SCMS)?

Supply chain management is a complex process that involves communication and collaboration between multiple parties - including trading partners, suppliers, manufacturers, and distributors.


SCMS is generally used to automate and optimize the range of activities required to plan, control and execute product flows. This encompasses:

  • Acquisition of raw materials

  • Production processes

  • Product distribution

  • Delivery to the final customer

The goal of SCMS is to coordinate the flow of products in the most efficient and cost-effective way. However, the degree of supply chain management required varies between companies. A number of variables can influence a company’s SCMS needs:

  • Size of operations

  • Number of suppliers involved

  • Type of industry

  • Product complexity

  • Length of the supply chain

This amounts to the SCMS product space being very fragmented. Accordingly, there is a range of products available - including large SCMS suites, ERP suites, industry-specific software, and point solutions.

Supply Chain Software vs. ERP Software

Supply chain management software manages data concerning incoming raw materials from external suppliers. Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) Software, by contrast, is more internally focused. It manages administrative tasks by tying front office and back office operations together. This includes assisting with product planning and the physical production of finished goods.


However, supply chain capabilities are often included as a component of ERP suites.


The features provided by ERP suites are usually more generic than supply chain point solutions or industry-specific software. SCMS point solutions may focus more on individual modules such as operations planning or inventory management.

Supply Chain Management Features & Capabilities

SCMS products may specialize in one area or offer a range of features across areas. Here are the traditional modules and features that SCMS products may include:


Supply Chain Planning

  • Custom alerts

  • Scenario-based plans

  • Reorientation of supply network around demand needs

  • Optimization of resources

  • Supply forecasting

  • Capacity estimation

  • Optimization of materials and employee allocation

  • Supply network coordination

Procurement

  • Raw material sourcing

  • Supply market assessment

  • Cost Analysis

  • Expense Logging

Order Management

  • Order fulfillment optimization

  • Return services

  • Generating purchase orders

  • Tracking purchase orders

  • Scheduling supplier deliveries

  • Creating pricing and product configurations

Logistics and Transportation Management

  • Packaging

  • Delivery planning across transportation channels

  • Route optimization

  • Rate analysis

  • Shipping performance

  • Labor management

  • Fleet management

Warehouse & Inventory Management

  • Automation of warehouse operations

  • Inventory storage

  • Stock monitoring across warehouses

  • Inventory tracking (using barcodes, serial numbers, or RFIDs)

  • Asset management

  • Future inventory and price forecasting

Demand Management

  • Demand signal sensing

  • Demand forecasting

  • Customer analytics

  • Optimization of future inventory stock

  • Sales and operation planning

  • Pricing and promotion tracking (this may be used more by retailers)

Advanced features

Some vendors also include more complex features such as:

  • Supply chain analytics

  • Product lifecycle oversight

  • Internet of things (IoT)

Pricing Information

Supply chain management software is often sold as a module of large enterprise ERP or SCM suites. Standalone supply chain software products are cheaper, but pricing still varies greatly by overall sophistication and feature set.


Most vendors offer free trial versions of their software and will provide pricing information on request.

Open Source Supply Chain Management Software

An alternative option is open source supply chain management software. There are a number of free open source versions of SCMS. However, they are typically either broken up into modules or industry-specific solutions. For example, Odoo offers free versions of its manufacturing and inventory management software.


One drawback to open source software is that it may not include as many features as the paid versions do.

Supply Chain Management Products

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Manhattan Associates offers Manhattan Active Supply Chain, a broade suite of applications which combines the Manhattan Active Distribution Warehouse management software and modules dedicated to workforce and warehouse management, and Manhattan Transportation, a suite dedicated to transportation a...

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riskmethods, headquartered in Munchen, offers a suite of supply chain risk management applications. The suite includes Risk Radar which generates risk alerts and insights, Impact Analyzer which creates impact scores for suppliers and supplier risk scores, and Action Planner for designing automate...

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Liferay Commerce is a digital commerce platform that promises to equip B2B sellers with a fully-integrated suite of digital engagement tools. The vendor promises the following key benefits: Erase B2B Complexity: Manage commerce sites faster with configurable rules for tiered pricing, organizatio...

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Genesis Automation Healthcare, headquartered in Florida, offers their hospital-specific supply chain optimization and management platform, Genesis End-to-End.