There are many tools that are used for the effective supply chain management. These are primarily categorized as:
1. Enterprise Resource Planning
Materials requirement planning, which was earlier used to distribute resources for a manufacturing operation, resulted in enterprise resource planning (ERP), a system that links individual IT applications into a single one. This results in the integration of the data and the processes of the complete business.
When all operations are consolidated, information related to cash flow and material flow starts making more sense. ERP has now become the backbone of the supply chain and provides an integrated view of the organization as a whole. Today, ERP has also led to the automation of many functions so that there is minimal human intervention.
2. Electronic Data Interchange
Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) is the exchange of business data from one computer to another. It is usually done in a standard format so that all concerned parties can use it according to their need without having to constantly ask for it. EDI allows companies, across the industry, to communicate with one another. Everyone who uses EDI follows the same rules and methods. This makes for efficient inventory management, better business relationships, and improved customer service.
3. Supply Chain Management Systems
An ideal supply chain management system will help in planning, selecting the vendor, manufacturing, logistics, and building the customer relationship. To provide the necessary assistance Supply Chain Planning (SCP) software and Supply Chain Execution (SCE) software are used.
4. Customer Relationship Management
CRM or e-CRM uses IT to assist an e-business in managing its customer base. It matches customer needs with product plans to increase sales.
Author: Danish Mairaj, CISCOM, PMP