Supply chain management software

Supply chain software automation and integration

Guide

For effective supply chain automation, the system must be able to get information on what's happening within your company. Without this information, it can't keep customers accurately informed about their orders. Supply chain integration requires close alignment and coordination within a supply chain, often with the use of shared information systems.

Information on goods and capacity

For distribution, warehousing, logistics and transport companies, information should be up-to-date about what goods are in transit and where, and current and future capacity. Having this information enables the system to:

  • respond to customer queries about delivery dates and times
  • inform customers about delays or other mishaps
  • quote rapidly and accurately for new work

This type of information may be shared with another business if you outsource some or all of these functions. For manufacturing companies, integration is needed with internal business systems and, in turn, with machines on the shop floor.

Tracking materials

It is essential to track material through the business in a way that provides information quickly, accurately and comprehensively. You can do this by using a tracking technology such as barcodes or radio frequency identification (RFID).

Scheduling jobs

Ideally, job scheduling - eg on the shop floor - should operate automatically, and in real-time, in order to be flexible enough to respond to changes and unexpected events. For job planning and scheduling to work in a tightly-run supply chain, it must take into account limitations such as staff numbers, machines or material.

To find out about common problems with the integration of new software, see challenges in supply chain software implementation.