Improved supply chain visibility is among the most prominent areas of focus for small and mid-sized businesses. In fact, a recent Global Supply Chain study reports that 45% of business executives rank supply chain visibility as a top priority for their companies. This renewed attention ushers in a demand for better and more innovative business solutions, and inventory management software delivers.
Supply Chain Visibility: The Challenges
The benefits of improved supply chain visibility are clear: Better inventory tracking, full system integration and improved forecasting ability all have dramatically positive impacts on your business's bottom line. The problem is, even top industry leaders have a tough time implementing an effective strategy. Insufficient data and a lack of accessibility hinders the processes of planning and decision-making.
The Silo Strategy
Inventory management software is absolutely essential for data collection, organization and sharing within your company. Many small and mid-sized businesses are still using the long-outdated silo approach to data acquisition – that is, piecing together secluded spreadsheets and isolated software "islands" to form some semblance of a complete picture. Unfortunately, the complete picture rarely, if ever, arises from this strategy. Here's where inventory management software really shines.
Inventory Management Software: The Supply Chain Solution
When integrated into your cloud ERP system, inventory management software provides real-time updates to a wide range of data, so you're always viewing the most accurate information about your business. All the data you need is in one integrated, centralized location – within your ERP software, in the cloud.
By hosting your ERP system in the cloud, you're also given the advantage of full accessibility. Any and all of your employees may view critical reports, metrics, insights and KPIs from wherever they are – on a desktop, smartphone, tablet or laptop.
Global companies have particular trouble with collaboration: Outsourcing becomes a necessity, and connecting employees over large distances and across borders is difficult without an advanced solution. Supply chain management tools like cloud ERP software provide a platform for whole-enterprise collaboration between both domestic and international satellites.
Cloud ERP As A Solution For Enterprise-Wide VisibilityIn the cloud, ERP systems are granted flexibility that on-premise solutions can't match. Adopting a fully integrative suite of software applications allows your business to track your departments, distribution partners, suppliers, warehousing and fulfillment. Improved visibility creates a kind of ripple effect, improving your overall business performance by:
- Removing outdated inventory tracking. By creating a transparent and predictable supply chain, you're able to implement smarter and more flexible inventory policies, like per-item and lot tracking. To maximize your efficiency, invest in a cloud ERP system with built-in inventory management software.
- Automating daily operations. Wholesale and distribution businesses especially benefit from automation. So many of the mundane (yet critical) tasks associated with warehousing, fulfillment and shipping are easily automated to remove human error and cut costs. As an added benefit, automation also frees up your talented staff to focus on core functions that improve your productivity.
- Tracking and analyzing logistics. Inventory management software, as part of a comprehensive ERP solution, enables your key decision-makers to identify areas of weakness and make the necessary adjustments before your business performance suffers. This spans over every aspect of your business, from financial accounting to HR. Just make sure you're working with updated cloud ERP software so all of your employees are on the same page.
- Setting you up for integration of new tools. Technologies like electronic data interchange (EDI) are lucrative for ecommerce businesses, but if your ERP system isn't flexible, you're left in the lurch. If, on the other hand, you're working with a cloud ERP system, you're always prepared for the easy implementation of a new tool.
- Notifying you of upcoming logistics changes. A full suite of ERP software makes it easy to analyze data from your OEMs and transportation partners. The inventory management software module provides you with a clear and accurate picture of your inventory stock, while also integrating real-time updates about delays and incoming deliveries. Your entire logistics process benefits.
Improving supply chain visibility leads to higher profitability, lower overhead costs and more efficient use of your resources. If you haven't considered using a cloud ERP system fitted with inventory management software for your company, you may just be settling for inefficient business performance.
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