When it comes to supply chain planning solutions, each business owner has their own needs. Some are looking for a simple but effective solution that doesn’t require extensive training or outside support, and others are looking for something with every bell and whistle included in the price.
What is a supply chain plan?
A supply chain is a network of people and systems that work together to bring your product or service to market. It starts with the raw materials and continues through every step until it reaches the consumer, including manufacturing, warehousing, transportation, distribution, and storage.
It includes planning for how much inventory is needed at every step along the way and figuring out how that product will get where it needs to go. For example, how much should you order? Who will bring it where? How are they getting there?
With so many options on the market, though, it can be hard to find one product that covers all of your bases.
Below are features to look for before settling for a supply chain plan;
Forecasting is where most planning solutions fail; they can pull data but lack the precision that business owners need. If you’re looking for more advanced forecasting software, it’s essential to consider what forecast solutions your business needs.
For example, if you’re a retailer with slow seasons and are open year-round, you will need a forecasting solution to manage slow sales during off-peak hours. If you’re in the foodservice industry (i.e., restaurant or hotel), taste, health, and safety are big issues for this type of business; therefore, a forecasting solution that can accommodate changes quickly may be a better choice.
Will your solution allow you to customize reports? Many businesses come in under budget when it comes to purchasing reports. A good plan should include many different standard reports and give users the ability to create their custom reports.
3. Transportation Management
Do you have enough space on your truck or van for all of your products? Are you adding new vehicles or expanding your fleet due to new business? If so, you need a transportation management system that can help you maximize space and improve operations.
Collaborative planning goes beyond just pulling data and delivering reports: it includes sharing that data, allowing planners and account managers to view relevant information and work together.
5. Advanced Reporting
Does your solution allow for easy report customization? Will the reports you receive be customizable as well? If not, look for a solution that provides flexible reporting options or data visualization. It’s essential to consider the capabilities of your supply chain planners and how they will use the software before making your purchase decision.
Alerts are helpful for ongoing improvement. While standard alerts may be included in your solution, look for additional alerts that trigger when issues arise. These alerts should also go beyond the basics of sending out an email or text message to provide deeper analysis and insights into problems.
As you can see, there are many factors to consider when choosing a supply chain planning solution. Keep these tips in mind to make sure you’re investing in the best possible tool for your business.