For any product-based company, keeping your operations running smoothly is key to both your business’s success and your customers’ satisfaction. If executed properly, your supply chain will ensure you have the appropriate amount of inventory at all times, as well as identify where in the production process (manufacturer, warehouse, customer, etc.) each item is.
If your supply chain is crucial to your business, then you’ll want to explore supply chain management software to automate this process and simplify your records. We’ve rounded up your 14 top options to help you find the best one for your business needs.
What Is Supply Chain Management Software?
Supply chain management software is used to manage the flow of products through a supply chain and to coordinate effectively between the warehouse, suppliers, and retailers.
While supply chain management is simple in description, it’s actually remarkably complicated and intricate in real life. There are a lot of moving parts to keep track of to ensure nothing gets lost in the mix. Manually managing your supply chain would take a significant amount of time and resources—and even then, the potential for error is great.
Supply chain management software helps to digitally track all of those moving pieces to automate the process and free up your time for other tasks. Plus, by digitizing the tracking, the process becomes more efficient and less likely to be affected by human error.
Features of Supply Chain Management Software
When evaluating which supply chain management software is right for your business, it’s important to know what features to look for and what options may best serve your business. Here are some common features that you should look for in supply chain management software.
One of the important features of supply chain management software is demand forecasting. Using algorithms based on your past sales data and customer variables, your supply chain management software can predict how much inventory you should carry at a given time. By not over- or undersupplying your inventory, you can save money, minimize waste, and avoid losing sales.
Inventory Management and Optimization
One of the many headaches of supply chain management is ensuring that the correct items are in the correct location at the right time. Supply chain management software can help your company optimize your inventory, making sure that your stock is where you need it.
If your business has a large network of warehouses or distribution centers, you’re going to want to look for supply chain management software that includes warehouse management capabilities.
Warehouse management helps to track goods and products within a warehouse. This helps to track an item through shelving, picking, packaging, and when it leaves the location.
Order Fulfillment and Returns
Another feature included with most supply chain management software systems is order fulfillment and returns tracking. This makes it easier to track orders as they’re fulfilled and as they arrive back at the warehouse (in case of return).
Order fulfillment tools also help to streamline the fulfillment process by making sure that the order is being fulfilled at the best location based on order type and configuration.
Some supply chain management software systems also supplier relationship management or SRM. This functionality helps your business to monitor your relationship with suppliers, which can help to maximize value on both ends.
Supplier management tools can help with tracking, assessing risk, and segmenting suppliers.
Supply chain management software can integrate with some accounting software systems to make procurement easier. This helps to track placement, payment, and receipt of supplies.
Another feature of supply chain management software is to provide you with data based on your supply chain trends. While tracking is useful to see how your business fares month to month, it’s also a useful sales forecasting tool you can use to inform future business decisions. With analytics, you can identify seasonal dips or surges, identify top-selling products, or uncover efficiency issues at the warehouse or supplier level.
The Best Supply Chain Management Software Options
There’s an abundance of choices out there when it comes to supply chain management software. Each software has unique features, so you’ll want to decide which are the most important for your business and then find the software that meets those needs.
One of the reasons E2open is number one on this list is the number of features that they offer to their customers. This supply chain management software operates in the cloud and is designed to make supply chain management more efficient at every stage.
Some of the features offered by E2open include:
- Supply chain monitoring
- Order processing
- Inventory management
- Warehouse management
- Transportation management
- Sourcing and procurement
- Supplier management
- Client collaboration
E2open allows you to create a multi-enterprise business network with all of your applications connected and usable in one location so you can see an overview of your entire business’s operations, rather than standalone aspects.
As one of the highest-grossing supply chain management software companies, it’s no wonder that SAP tops this list. They’ve been around since 1972 and quickly became a household name because of their robust business offerings.
With SAP’s supply chain management software, you’ll have access to cutting-edge tools such as AI and the “internet of things” to fully digitize your supply chain and provide in-depth analytics. You’ll be able to forecast demand and shipment volumes, speed up sourcing and procurement cycles, work with partners across your supply chain, and more. Plus, SAP also offers a free trial so you can test it out before committing.
For a supply chain management software that works across sectors, including the manufacturing, retail, distribution, logistics, hospitality, travel, and entertainment, consider JDA.
One of the many impressive tools JDA offers is third-party logistics or 3PL. This service helps to improve “inventory optimization, omnichannel fulfillment, returns facilitation, and even value-added warehouse or manufacturing services,” according to their website. By streamlining these processes you can expect to:
- Increase productivity
- Reduce costs
- Optimize inventory
- Improve visibility
- Manage risk
- Maximize customer service
Oracle has a wide range of products that can support supply chain management, including procurement, product lifecycle management, supply chain planning, logistics, and manufacturing.
Plus, Oracle’s cloud-based product means you can access your systems anywhere. They cater to a number of industries from retail and consumer goods to health care to automotive.
5. Infor Global Solutions
Another cloud-based system, Infor Global Solutions has over 90,000 customers across the world. This system is designed to help make your business’s supply chain more visible and improve efficiency from planning to execution to connection with trading partners. Infor provides an end-to-end supply chain management solution that is updated in real-time, so you always have the most up-to-date information.
One of the shining features of Logility is their advanced analytics, which let you take a deep dive into understanding your business by the numbers. In addition to this feature, Logility includes collaborative scenario analytics in their supply chain management software.
Other features include optimization on demand, inventory optimization, integrated business planning, management of master data, retail optimization, and transportation management.
7. Manhattan Associates
When compared to some of the behemoth companies featured on this list, Manhattan Associates is a smaller supply chain management software company. But, they were listed on Forbes’ most trustworthy companies list for three years in a row, making them an interesting software company to consider.
The supply chain management software from Manhattan works across wholesale, retail, pharmaceutical, FMCG, manufacturing, and other sectors. One of their most interesting features is their carrier management, which allows you to optimize load assignments, manage drivers’ hours, minimize fuel costs, and exceed customer expectations.
Another supply chain management provider is Epicor, which offers personalized solutions for different industries making their product highly customizable to your specific needs. Industries they cater to include manufacturing, distribution, retail, automotive, lumber and materials, and other service-based businesses. Epicor supply chain management software is available on-site or in the cloud.
What business owner doesn’t want to maximize their return on investment? The supply chain management software from Proactis (formerly Perfect Commerce) can help. Proactis Business Spend Management is designed specifically to support cost savings and process efficiency. Used by over 3 million customers and over 1,000 enterprise-level clients, this product is flexible enough to be customized to any size business and any industry.
Next on our list, Descartes offers an array of options for how you can use their supply chain management software. You can be cloud-based, modular, wireless, have interoperable web solutions, or a combination of these options.
One of Descartes’ strongest qualities is the management of transportation and global logistics, so if you have an international company, you’ll find this feature especially helpful.
With over 30 years of serving over 4,400 customers in 78 countries, HighJump offers supply chain management software that integrates with their suite of software solutions, including business integration, transportation management, warehouse management, and retail solutions.
As they describe, they’re building “the supply chain of the future” with emerging technologies from around the world so that you can make smarter and faster decisions.
12. IBM Sterling
The IBM Sterling supply chain suite offers a 360-degree look at your business’s operations, as well as real-time insights and recommended actions to help you rebound from any disruptions to your supply chain.
You can also customize this model to best serve your business by utilizing IBM’s AI tool, known as Watson. With Watson, developers can create custom control towers to focus on their specific needs and accelerate data integration.
13. Dassault Systemes
For any business in the automotive or manufacturing field, the supply chain management software from Dassault Systemes is a top contender. This supply chain management software provides the tools needed to manage the entire sourcing cycle.
Some of the features on offer from Dassault Systemes supply chain management software include:
- Bidding management
- Contract management
- Supplier development, evaluation, and management
- Supplier database
- Concurrent design management
- Component library
- Component lifecycle management, reuse, and usage tracking
- Materials reporting
14. Coupa Software
Lastly, if you’re looking for supply chain management software that focuses on the financial headaches often experienced with these operations, Coupa Software may be just the right product to solve your problems.
Coupa Software offers business solutions such as invoicing, expensing, procurement, sourcing, and sales analytics. You’ll be able to onboard new suppliers easily, monitor your potential risk levels, and digitize the payment process.
The Bottom Line
When it comes to supply chain management software, there are a lot of options. Evaluating what features you need can help you to decide which product is right for your business. While many of the supply chain management software products include similar features, each has a specialty that they excel at.
Of course, pricing will also play a role in your decision-making process. While most of these systems offer quote-based pricing, we encourage you to reach out directly to find out more information, as well as to request a demo or free trial before you commit to a specific solution.