How to ensure your ERP keeps up with modern supply chains

A decade ago the ability to directly integrate automated supply-chain data within active ERP operations, existed largely on the basis of passive vaporware, rather than reality. Today, however most, if not all, ERP platforms offer various channels that allow the quick consumption and manipulation of supply-chain oriented elements. This allows commercial customers to understand, and manage the global develop/produce/distribute/POS chain, thereby creating accurate results-oriented metrics in real-time.

What sort of modern supply chain features should you be ready for?

This practical reality emerged once technologists actualized the first E-SCM or Electronic Supply Chain Management variants, just after the turn of the millennia. In turn, these evolutions lead to a host of opportunities to meld previously standalone ERP operations, with the new E-SCM constructs. Together, the newly integrated capability created a number of enhanced value-sets including:

  • Faster, cheaper supply-node communications – digital channels decrease the production costs involved in handling static/active inventory, while enhancing customer service values.

Select the right supply chain software for your company with our step-by-step guide to selecting distribution ERP

  • Streamlined end-to-end collaboration – this value marginalizes most effects associated with analytical disruptions between forecasting and actual production metrics within the complete supply chain.
  • Enhanced stability of business-node relationships – supply-chain partners experience expanded capabilities oriented to identifying, acquiring and deploying useful information collaboratively. These values, in turn, allow a holistic supply-node constellation to interact as a single working unit, while enabling the execution of common business strategies and goals.
  • Expanded customer partnerships – reduces or eliminates the potential of zero inventory shortages, and creates product demands oriented to customer-needs while establishing clear operational efficiencies based on real-time tracking.
  • End-to-end cost reductions – the construct allows efficient information sharing, in addition to creating pull-based inventory systems that lead to more dependable operations throughout the warehouse and facility cost platform. 

This value set has evolved further to include enterprise product developments based on branded E-SCM/ERP variants including SAP, Oracle, i2 and other large-scale providers, that have enhanced the construct to the degree that more robust Big Data-driven business intelligence elements have emerged.

Nevertheless, and regardless of the type’s obvious evolution, future proofing the intrinsic nature of the E-SCM/ERP integration continues to demand attention. This awareness is particularly critical when it comes to various impacts driven by current enterprise-scale interest in migrating premise-based processes to cloud-based platforms.

In this event, while software processes must quickly adhere to new ways to crunch cycles, enterprise operators must also be prepared to adapt and change from a methodological perspective. This is largely due the cloud construct’s ability to accept and consume custom programming as part of its elemental packaging.

This upside, or downside depending on how intellectually flexible a particular enterprise is, this value is nevertheless enhanced further by hosts of internal toolsets that make holistic data communications much faster and easier, along with an ability to streamline while conflating previously stand-alone processes that create more robust data-driven work products as an end-game.

How you can be ready for modern supply chain features

Consequently, when it comes to ensuring that you’re ERP can keep up with modern supply chain structures, be ready to apply a ‘three-hit list’ throughout. To wit:

  • Regularly review, understand, and potentially apply next-gen methodological tenets including specific values associated with; Agile, DevOps, Kubernetes, and others.
  • Ensure that if you’re considering or in the midst of a transition from premise to cloud-based operations, don’t ever throw the baby out with the bathwater. Keep what makes sense, but only on the basis of future flexibility, rather than adhering to previous system iterations driven by dogmatic ‘what’s easiest’ attitudes
  • And finally, regularly review and update any ‘up and running’ technical and/or methodological constructs associated with your E-SCM/ERP platforms. Not knowing what’s coming down the pipe is not an excuse for missing the bus.

Granted this little list isn’t going to get you where you want to go alone, but it’ll ensure that you’re at least somewhere in the same ‘known’ universe with today’s premier supply-chain operators.

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Rick Carlton

About the author…

Rick Carlton dba PRRACEwire, has worked as a tech journalist, writer, researcher, editor and publisher for many years. In addition to his editorial work, Rick has also served as a C-Level executive/consultant for a wide-range of private and public sector U.S. and International companies.

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Rick Carlton

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