7 Tips for Selecting the Right Supply Chain Management Software

John Galt Solutions - Supply Chain Management Software

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Looking for a supply chain management software that provides the best solution for your company can be a daunting task, given the wide range of options available, and the complexities inherent in the modern supply chain. The technology you choose should be based on your business needs, so there is inevitably a lot you need to consider when choosing the right SCM software

With major backlogs, breakdowns, and disruptions, supply chain teams worldwide have been largely put to the test in the last few years, and companies have been challenged with finding ways to increase visibility across the network, to create more resilient and agile supply chains. Technology has evolved quickly in the last decade, creating a considerably mature and highly competitive market – and supply chain planners have adopted a more rigorous approach to evaluate vendors’ capabilities to support comprehensive planning.  

The more discerning buyer has intensified the distinction between innovators and laggards in the technology space. Vendors who are at the forefront of innovation are helping chart the course for the future of supply chain, while laggards have remained rather flat – limited to meet the basic needs of the market but failing to support maturity and digital transformation.  

Software products can range from supporting many aspects of the supply chain – from demand planning, to inventory management, to logistics. More and more, SCM teams are opting for end-to-end solutions that can support most of their supply chain planning needs in a single SaaS platform. As the 2022 Gartner Magic Quadrant for Supply Chain Planning reports: “buyers have become more inclined to engage with a single vendor that provides an SCP (Supply Chain Planning) suite that covers most, if not all, of their SCP technology needs.”  

Ready to find your supply chain technology partner? Here are 7 tips for choosing the right system for you. 

1. Look for highly configurable supply chain management software. 

Not all supply chains are equal; different industries have their own sets of challenges, and every business has its unique needs. It’s key to invest in a product that can truly fit your specific requirements, which is why configuration—not customization—is crucial. 

For a solution that is well fitted to your business, you’ll need a vendor that offers the ability to shape the product to your company’s demands. For example, you’ll want the ability to configure views in the software, or the option to turn features on or off, depending on your needs and the issues you’re trying to address.  

The vendor should also be able to make additions or adjustments to the planning environment without the need for writing custom code. Keep in mind that many vendors offer configurations based on customized written code, but these implementations are typically difficult to support and scale. 

2. Seek a vendor with knowledge and expertise

An established vendor with solid market expertise will both understand your unique business challenges and become a strategic partner who can offer guidance to help generate positive business outcomes.  

When evaluating software options, look for vendors that have a strong presence in the sector. Seek their advice and gauge their ability to support your supply chain planning strategy based on their knowledge and their experience supporting other companies of similar size and maturity to yours 

3. Consider ongoing support

Ongoing support is fundamental in implementing a new supply chain management solution. Make sure the vendor you are considering is able to provide your team with a strong level of support, during and after the initial implementation stage. 

As your company grows and your business needs change, it’s important to work with a technology partner that can also scale and support your company’s growth.  

4. Look for advanced capabilities to support your strategy

A key step in shortlisting software solutions is linking your business strategy to the supply chain planning strategy, to fully understand what supply chain planning capabilities you will require from a SCM solution to generate the required business value. 

In today’s challenging and complex environment, supply chain planning technology with advanced capabilities that allow you to connect data, decisions and operations across the supply chain is a must. Consider the data views you need or want to run, and determine whether the SCM software you are contemplating can provide you with everything you need to make smart and fast supply chain decisions. 

The best solutions out there will allow you to view and connect your entire supply chain – from demand planning, inventory management, supply planning, S&OP (Sales and Operations Planning), production planning and beyond. 

5. Check out the reviews

Unbiased reviews from actual customers provide invaluable insights to get a good idea of what it’s like to partner with a specific SCM software vendor. Reviews can give you genuine indicators of levels of support, features and capabilities, and how the technology implementation has helped with optimization of different companies’ supply chains.  

Look for trustworthy and independent review sites that are relevant to supply chain management solutions, such as Capterra and Gartner Peer Insights. If you’re not sure on how to get the best value from reviews and ratings, check out our best tips for analyzing reviews.

6. Decide whether cloud-based or on-premise will be better for your business

The decision between a cloud-based or on-premise solution will depend on your exiting tools and business needs. Different supply chain needs may be best met by different technologies, so there’s no one-fits-all answer here. It’s best to weigh the pros and cons of each option.  

Cloud-based supply chain technology has seen steady investment and growth over the years. Many companies choose cloud software for its advantages in data speed, integration, and security. Higher flexibility and scalability are also key benefits of working with cloud-based systems.  

If your company has been using an on-premise solution, think about whether you’ll need to make the switch to the cloud to better support your supply chain optimization. 

7. Assess the cultural fit

A good cultural fit between your company and the SCM software partner can go a long way. As you start conversations with your chosen technology partner, get to know each other, discuss challenges and objectives, and make sure you’re on the same page. Get clarity on the business strategy and the key factors that need to be considered for the supply chain. Having agreement across the board increases the probability of successful partnerships.  

Your SCM software vendor of choice should provide the tools to enable your supply chain planning maturity progression, and it should be able to draft a practical business case based on your supply chain, key business challenges, needs and dynamics, helping you chart your future path towards transformational outcomes.  

At John Galt Solutions, we work closely with customers at all stages of their supply chain maturity, to support their digital transformation, to shape opportunities, reduce risk and drive business value. If you’re finding it challenging to find the right SCM solution for you, our team at John Galt can help. Schedule a free consultation with one of our experts today.