Enterprise resource planning ERP systems pull data from different sources and consolidate it into a single platform, so users can make smarter business decisions.
Most ERP systems are designed to cover all essential business departments, including finance, human resources, operations, manufacturing, sales, marketing, customer relationship management, and supply chains.
As more and more businesses have realized the benefits of enterprise resource planning, stand-alone supply chain management ERP solutions were launched by companies looking to specifically cater to the logistics and needs of the industry.
What are the Benefits of Supply Chain ERPs?
Inventory management visibility
One of the main benefits of supply chain ERP is global visibility into inventory management, which allows users to see everything in one consolidated ERP system. Having all of this information in one place allows users to make informed business decisions based on comprehensive data.
Vendor performance monitoring
Supply chain ERPs also make it easier to keep tabs on vendor performance and supplier collaboration. Not only are all supply chain partners consolidated into one place with a dedicated ERP, the analytics features allow users to drill deep into vendors’ individual performance to see what’s working and what’s not. A supply chain ERP can help identify when it’s time to move on from a certain supplier who’s no longer meeting the company’s needs.
Planning and procurement
Supply chain ERPs also help to streamline material requirements planning and procurement phases, whether you’re buying raw materials and processing them yourself or just acquiring the finished product from other manufacturers. By consolidating all this information into one ERP system, users can identify redundancies and roadblocks and work to eliminate them in order to improve supply chain efficiency (and profits).
Analytics, reporting, and forecasting
A good supply chain ERP will offer real-time analytics and reporting into the current state of your business, so you know exactly how much product you have in the pipeline. Alongside that, it should also offer a forecasting function that helps to predict future market fluctuations and decide how your business should prepare for them.
One of the constant challenges in supply chain operations is the ongoing disruptions caused by major weather events, medical emergencies, political shifts, transportation issues, and other factors. By offering better visibility into every step of the supply chain and helping to forecast changes in supply and demand, supply chain ERPs can help reduce supply chain disruptions and promote maximum output.
Decreased costs and increased revenue
When combined together, all of these factors help your business reduce costs in the supply chain, whether that is directly lowering labor and transportation costs or helping to reduce bottlenecks and redundancies—all of which increases the company’s profit margin. Supply chain ERPs can also make a positive contribution directly to the bottom line by maximizing output, improving accounting, and more.
Artificial intelligence and machine learning are rapidly changing the ERP world with their promises of taking over mundane tasks, thereby freeing up employees to spend their time and effort on more meaningful business processes. Supply chain ERPs with effective automation can decrease the time spent on manual tasks and reduce the changes for human error as well, further improving efficiency.
While most ERPs, including supply chain ones, were originally designed as on-premises solutions, more and more businesses are looking for cloud-based options that allow them to use the software while on the go. If your employees need to be able to access your supply chain ERP from different devices, then look for an ERP with a cloud-based platform. Some ERPs even offer both on-premises and cloud-based solutions, giving you the best of both worlds.
Every single business’s need for ERP integrations is unique, so it’s important to consider both your current and future software uses when shopping for a supply chain ERP. Carefully vet each of your top contenders—even if it’s a full-stack provider like Oracle or SAP—to make sure that either their in-house software solutions will meet your need and/or that they offer integrations for your most essential programs like warehouse management and carrier management.
Full-stack ERP systems that include all aspects of a business besides supply chain management are more complicated and expensive to set up, but once you get them going, you have all your ERP functions under one single platform that connects seamlessly, at least in theory.
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