A supply chain is the collection of vendors who provide the necessary materials companies need to manufacture their brand products. These suppliers are ‘’links’’in a chain that increases the time and operating costs to produce these goods. Supply chain management refers to the practices and methodologies these enterprises adopt to improve the internal efficiency of their supply chain. This enables the companies to offer their brand products to their customers at competitive prices. The sales revenue these enterprises generate then allows them to dominate the market. With time, they can gain a competitive edge over other similar businesses in the same niche.
Why do companies need integrated supply chain solutions?
Supply chain integration is the strategies the companies implement to forge a cohesive working relationship between vendors constituting their supply chains. The objective is to eliminate all forms of wastage, minimize operating costs, and cut down production time. Only then can the companies instantly respond to the customers’ demand for their brand products. These companies can achieve supply chain integration through any one of the following ways:
- Entering into business mergers with the suppliers who constitute their supply chain,
- Sharing mutually beneficial but confidential commercial information with these suppliers, and
- Work closely with those suppliers in the supply chain who the companies regard as vital trading partners.
Most companies operate suitable enterprise resource planning (ERP) software platforms to run their supply chains. These are known as integrated supply chain solutions. The software platforms enable the companies to automate and streamline the distribution channels of the suppliers constituting their supply chain. The centralized repository of these solutions allows the enterprises to coordinate the logistic activities of their trading partners effectively. The companies can then make sure their brand products reach customers in the market at their own time and convenience. With these software solutions, corporate enterprises can:
- Ensure the quality of their brand products meet their customers’ expectations,
- Maintain proper cost control throughout the procurement, manufacturing, and distribution phase,
- Minimize risks of disruption to their supply chain operations from external factors, and
- Enhance the business relationship the companies maintain with their trading partners.
The advantages of installing and operating suitable integrated supply chain solutions for companies as follows:
- Ensures timely processing of customers’ orders and confirmations for their products,
- Save money on the administrative costs they associate with the manual processing of customers’ orders,
- Streamline complex processes, which can lead to shorter product development cycles,
- Share critical information with their trading partners within the supply chain, and
- Boost the relationship they maintain with the trading partners who make up their supply chain.
Operating integrated supply chain solutions allows companies to take their businesses to the next level. However, enterprises got to install and operate the right software platform in their infrastructure. The one they shortlist should easily integrate with their other business software applications. The software system should be flexible and compatible enough to adapt to new technologies. These include machine learning, artificial intelligence, advanced business analytics, and robotic process automation. Above all, the software platform should be user-friendly to operate and within the companies’ budget for hassle-free operations.