Top 20 Supply Chain Management Software Suppliers 2017

The market for supply chain management (SCM) software, maintenance and services continued its growth in 2016, generating more than $11.1 billion, a 9% increase over 2015 revenues, according to the research firm Gartner.

That total includes applications for supply chain execution (SCE), supply chain planning (SCP) and procurement software. Since the market’s 2% decline in 2009, the market has posted double-digit growth in four of the past six years, according to Gartner. The SCM market is expected to exceed $13 billion in total software revenue by the end of 2017 and exceed $19 billion by 2021, Gartner forecasts, with software as a service (SaaS) enabling new growth opportunities.

“It continues to be a good year for the supply chain overall,” says Chad Eschinger, managing vice president of Gartner. “The Cloud-based segment grew 20%, which is consistent with what we’ve seen in recent years.”

The push for Cloud capabilities also fueled some of the acquisition activity over the last year. Eschinger cites examples such as Infor’s acquisition of GT Nexus, Kewill’s acquisition of LeanLogistics, Oracle’s acquisitions of LogFire and NetSuite, and E2open’s acquisitions of Terra Technology and, more recently, Steelwedge.

“Broadly speaking, we’re seeing cyclical consolidation,” Eschinger says. “For some companies it’s a land grab, for others it’s an effort to add functional and technical underpinnings to go to the Cloud or provide a fuller complement of Cloud capabilities.”

Suite vendors are increasingly inclined to offer end-to-end solutions, Eschinger says, tying in customer relationship management capabilities, replenishment, network design, clienteling and more. In addition to supply chain efficiency, these solutions are also aimed at improving and standardizing the consumer’s experience.

“The Amazon effect continues to wreak havoc in retail and for manufacturers selling direct-to-consumer,” Eschinger says. “Everyone wants real-time visibility into inventory, so data and the associated analytics continue to be front and center for most organizations.”

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Capitalizing on Cross-Docking

Today’s marketplace is moving faster than ever, and companies are challenged to distribute their products more quickly, efficiently and cost-effectively; cross-docking can be a useful tool to help keep pace with customer demand.

While cross-docking is not a new phenomenon, this process of moving material from the receiving dock straight to the shipping dock is gaining traction as more companies recognize its value in today’s competitive business environment.

Why Cross-Dock?
Companies choose to cross-dock for a variety of reasons.

Common benefits include:

Increased speed to market – With high turn rates and reduced handling, cross-docking helps to increase efficiency and get products to market faster. While typically associated with durable goods, cross-docking can be effective for temperature-controlled, perishable and high-value/high-security products as well, thanks to its high velocity.

Reduced costs – Cross-docking requires a smaller footprint than traditional warehousing and often utilizes less labor as well. The practice also eliminates the cost of inventory and product rotation. Considerable freight savings can be achieved by consolidating LTL shipments into full loads.

Improved service levels – Because product is shipped in bulk and picked at the cross-dock, the practice offers great flexibility for changes to orders further down the supply chain. This helps to ensure a more accurate – and more responsive – process with shorter order cycles.

Prime Candidates for Cross-Docking
Just about any type of product can be cross-docked, but cross-docking is particularly effective for companies that are moving heavy volume on any given day and need to do it in a precise way where service is critical.

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5 Data-Driven Supply Chain Challenges to Overcome in 2016

Supply chain, sourcing and procurement executives are feeling immense pressure to cope with the expansion into global markets, waves of disruptive innovation, rising customer expectations and complex regulatory requirements. These are catalysts that require supply chain management strategies to become bimodal and to make a shift from tactical to strategic.

In addition to the sourcing of goods and services, cost management and internal stakeholder compliance, executives’ responsibilities will include the ability to promote and support the top line. They have to be a trusted advisor to internal business partners and will have a tremendous impact on the success of an organization engaging with suppliers, managing relationships with strategic vendors and solving business problems.

For 2016, I see leading supply chain organizations making these top-five data-driven supply chain management challenges a priority.

1. Meet Rising Customer Expectations on Supply Chain Management

2. Increase Costs Efficiency in Supply Chain Management

3. Monitor and Manage Supply Chain Compliance & Risk

4. Make Supply Chain Traceability and Sustainability a Priority

5. Remain Agile and Flexible in Volatile Times and Markets

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Zara’s Agile Project Management Advantage

Zara is a fast fashion retailer that has achieved staggering success since its inception in 1975. Compared to its Zara peers in retail, Zara has one practice that helps contribute to its competitive advantage: an agile project management oriented supply chain.

Agile Project Management
Broadly, agile project management is based on the 12 principles brought forth by the agile manifesto. This manifesto forms the basis for a project management theory that focuses on iterations, adaptations, collaboration, and constant improvement. As opposed to many other project management designs, agile project management is a non-linear approach to problem solving that hopes to provide flexibility and adaptability, without having to go back to the start with each iteration undertaken.

While originally developed for software and technology problem solving, agile project management has gained acceptance in the supply chain industry for its ability to help companies adapt to market dynamics. In the same way agile project management helps a software company develop non-linear solutions to problems, agile project management allows a supply chain to creatively adapt to market evolutions without having to disrupt supply chains from start to finish. Zara has used this agile supply chain to earn a distinct and unmatched advantage in retail.

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