Choosing The Right Supply Chain Integration Software in 2024
As businesses strive towards supply chain resilience, one of the main items on their agenda is implementing integrated digital solutions (Figure 1). Supply chain integration tools can help businesses achieve resilience and visibility. However, finding the right solution can be a challenge for supply chain leaders.
This article helps business leaders find the right supply chain integration software by:
- discussing how digital solutions can help overcome supply chain integration challenges
- Highlighting the criteria for selecting the right vendor
- And comparing the top 6 vendors in the market
Figure 1. Suggestions to achieve supply chain resilience.
What is supply chain integration?
Supply chain integration refers to the process of connecting and synchronizing various stages of a supply chain. This includes suppliers, manufacturers, distributors, retailers, and even the end customers, with the ultimate goal of optimizing operations and reducing costs.
By integrating these stages, businesses can improve communication, enhance collaboration, and increase visibility, leading to streamlined processes and increased resilience.
How to overcome supply chain integration challenges
Integrating your supply chain can be challenging in the following ways:
- Data sharing and visibility: Challenges arise from secure data exchange, proprietary systems, and varying data formats, leading to fragmented information.
- Diverse technology and standards: Integration is difficult due to differing standards, protocols, and software platforms, causing inefficiencies.
- Organizational alignment: Aligning goals, strategies, and processes of supply chain partners can result in miscommunication, conflicts, and delays.
Integrated supply chain solutions can help overcome these concerns. These solutions provide a platform for businesses to synchronize and manage their supply chain processes, allowing for real-time communication, data sharing, and analytics.
By automating tasks and offering powerful optimization tools, supply chain integration software can help companies:
- Identify bottlenecks
- Streamline workflows
- Enhance overall performance.
Read how UCBOS helped a leading American retail chain improve supply chain integration and collaboration through its no-code and composable platform.
You can also check our data-driven list of no-code supply chain software to find the right fit for your business.
5 Factors to consider while choosing supply chain integration solutions
With so many options on the market, it can be overwhelming to find the right solution for your supply chain. This section lists some filters to help you narrow down your options and find the right fit.
1. Customization & user-friendliness
Ease of use and customization options are critical factors when selecting a supply chain integration software. A solution with an easy-to-use user interface (UI), for instance, will facilitate a smoother adoption process and minimize the learning curve for your team. In addition, customizable solutions allow you to tailor the software to your specific business processes, further enhancing efficiency and streamlining workflows.
For instance, a retailer might not have a team with coding capabilities and still requires a high level of customization to integrate its system with its suppliers’. In this case, it can benefit from a no-code platform.
2. Integrations to SCM platforms
An effective supply chain integration software should easily connect with your existing digital ecosystem. This eliminates manual data entry tasks or duplicate work and ensures seamless data flow between systems.
Suppose a beverage producer needed to improve its supply chain visibility and efficiency. It opts for a supply chain integration software that provided end-to-end visibility, demand forecasting, and inventory optimization.
By selecting a solution that integrated with Its existing ERP system, the company was able to automate processes, reduce manual interventions, and enhance overall supply chain performance.
3. Number of employees
Larger doesn’t necessarily equate to better. Research1 indicates that small to medium-sized businesses, also known as SMBs, may provide a more individualized and tailored service due to their emphasis on prioritizing customer care.
A minimum company size (ideally 25+ employees) can be considered adequate. It is also important to test their customer service capabilities before making any commitments.
4. Scalability and flexibility
As your business grows, your supply chain solution should be able to scale with you. Ensure the software you choose is flexible enough to accommodate future growth and adapt to changes in your industry.
For instance, a small manufacturing company that experiences rapid expansion may need a software solution capable of handling increased production volumes, additional suppliers, and a more complex distribution network. Similarly, a business entering new markets or incorporating new product lines should select a platform that can adapt to these changes and support the evolving supply chain requirements.
5. Type of solution offered
When selecting a supply chain integration software, it’s crucial to consider the type of solution offered. Different software providers specialize in various aspects of supply chain management, such as planning, execution, or analytics. They can also vary in terms of domain specificity.
Determine your business’s specific needs and choose a solution that aligns with your goals.
A growing consumer electronics company is looking to optimize its supply chain processes to meet increasing demand. It requires a software solution that focuses on supplier management and inventory optimization, as these are the most significant pain points in their current supply chain. In that case, it will work with a vendor which focuses on those areas.
Comparing the top vendors in the market
This section compares 6 vendors that offer supply chain integration solutions.
The criteria selected for this comparison include customization based on low/no-code capabilities, integration to SCM platforms, and number of employees. These criteria were selected based on data availability.
The other 2 criteria (Type of solution & scalability and flexibility) need to be evaluated by the users as they contact the vendors. Since these 2 criteria are specific to business needs, they can differ from company to company.
Table 1. Vendor comparison
|Integrations to SCM platforms*, **
|# of employees on LinkedIn as of April 2023
– SAP – Oracle SCM – Mercury Gate TMS – Manhattan – Blueyonder – Coupa
– Siemens Teamcenter
– Microsoft SQL server
Notes (Table 1):
- Based on vendor claims: *
- Not comprehensive: **
- The vendors compared in this table were selected based on the relevance of their offerings and having 25+ employees.
Selecting the right supply chain integration software is crucial for businesses looking to optimize their supply chain processes and stay competitive in today’s fast-paced market.
With the information provided in this article, supply chain leaders can make an informed decision and choose a software solution that meets their unique needs.
AIMultiple serves numerous emerging tech companies, including UCBOS.
If you need help finding a vendor or have any questions, feel free to contact us:
- Mitto (Nov 16, 2022). Omnichannel Messaging is Critical for a Positive Customer Experience, says two-thirds of SMBs. Accessed: 05/May/2023
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