Keeping all pieces of a supply chain on schedule and operating smoothly is a challenging task. Companies often find operations disjointed, full of glitches and delays rather than seamlessly integrated as they should be. Any inconsistent flow of production and delivery can cost supply chains significant money or lost business. Thus, companies turn to customized supply chain management software and supply chain management services that connect all components of a supply chain and keep each department informed of information and changes in real time.
A unified source of software and IT services for a supply chain can drastically reduce expensive delays or other setbacks resulting from each department operating on a different platform or software application. Not aligning all operations onto a simple application can slow down business and negatively impact quality of production. Leveraging software and IT services specific to supply chain management, however, ensures all managers are working together and problems can be addressed quickly for minimal losses.
A recent survey from Gartner discussed the latest trends in supply chain management software and IT services being purchased across numerous industries. About 35 percent of supply chain executives identified supply chain visibility and event management as the most important supply chain management and execution application for acquisition in the coming years. Around 13 percent of these executives had already purchased a software or IT service specific to the industry in the past, and 26 percent plan to do so in the near future. Companies are looking to use technology to better integrate operations with third party providers to make information visible and accessible throughout the supply chain.
William McNeill, Gartner senior research analyst, explained that many companies are used to exchanging information with supply chain partners through electronic data interchanges. These methods, however, are dated and can take valuable time away from operations. By working with a supply chain management solution, companies can access information in real-time from any location and stay informed of changes or updates. This is possible through cloud-based technology solutions that connect devices, locations and networks seamlessly with minimal investment in infrastructure.
For executives who want to improve supply chain visibility, just 5 percent had purchased software or services to improve business, while 15 percent intend to purchase soon. This suggests that the visibility benefits of supply chain management technology has not yet been acknowledged in the industry. However, modern solutions are improving visibility as well as reducing supply chain network complexity, making companies run smoother and adapt faster to market changes and demands.