8 Strategies for Choosing a Supply Chain Management Solution and Partner
In an intensely competitive, highly volatile marketplace driven by digitally-empowered consumers, your supply chain is squeezed from all sides in order to maintain customer satisfaction, adapt to changing volumes all while operating at maximum efficiency.
Responding to these intense pressures requires the ability to act quickly when fluctuations in customer demand and supply network issues occur without negatively impacting service.
With the right systems and strategies in place, your organization can fulfill every order from any source at any time of the year. Start by choosing the right solution and partner and make the process less complex with these important strategies.
- Define your business problems and goals. Get a clear picture of your supply chain challenges and match them to your business goals to identify gaps that will inform requirements and aid in your selection process.
- Organize your selection process and set search criteria. Allow for extra time early in the process to consider an independent third-party consultancy to assess your business needs and recommend their most critical areas for improvement in your supply chain.
- Assemble a cross-functional team. Include team members beyond the IT department to evaluate solutions and partners. They can include internal experts from distribution, logistics, customer service and your executive management.
- Review prospective partners’ customer portfolio. Which industries do they serve and how likely will they understand the unique needs of your business? Leverage a supply chain partner with a wide breadth of experience that knows your industry to save time and money.
- Evaluate the solution providers’ vision—if there is one! Does the company have a long-term strategic plan and product strategy? Choose a partner that has an eye on the future, that’s innovative and routinely invests in research and development. A provider who doesn’t carry debt is a plus.
- Understand the true costs involved. Support, service, upgrades and custom modifications can all impact purchase decisions. Knowing these details can help you influence support costs and identify solutions with built-in features that scale as your business grows.
- Leverage current IT investments and standardized processes. Find out how partners can build on your previous technology investments, and help to create uniform business processes across your enterprise with systems you may have acquired through mergers and acquisitions.
- Make sure the solution aligns with the business. Modifications can be costly. Find a partner that offers solutions to match your business processes, who delivers the functionality you need, and requires few, if any, changes later.
The difference between selecting a good supply chain solution and partner verses an excellent solution and partner means doing the right work upfront.
The pressures on supply chains will continue to intensify, giving only those organizations that treat their supply chain as a flexible business component an advantage. Careful alignment of systems processes and partners will ensure your supply chain is ready for anything.