Supply chain management is a complex process. It involves communication and collaboration between a number of parties involved in the supply and demand life cycle of a product.
The right supply chain management software helps you forecast how much product (supply) your buyers want (demand). Not only that, it can also help you manage the entire process from end to end.
But what happens when demand changes unexpectedly, like when a global pandemic strikes?
Unfortunately, supply chain management software can’t predict future events that may affect your demand. But it can help you quickly pivot and adjust to meet new demands without breaking (much of) a sweat.
So, if you’ve been trying to manually manage your supply chain and are having a hard time, I’m here to help!
I found the top six best supply chain management software out there, with a suggestion to suit just about everyone.
The Top 6 Best Supply Chain Management Software
1. SAP SCM – Best for Complex Manufacturing
2. Anvyl – Best for Small Businesses with Growth Potential
3. Logility Solutions – Best for Retail Products & Consumer Goods
4. Hybrent – Best for Healthcare Professionals
5. ArrowStream – Best for the Food Service Industry
6. Fishbowl Inventory – Best for Warehouse & Manufacturing Management
Although I do hone in on some pretty specific industries in this selection, whether or not they relate to your industry, you still may learn a thing or two about the features you’d like to get out of your supply chain management software.
Let’s get started!
#1 – SAP SCM — Best Solution For Complex Manufacturing
There’s an argument to be made that SAP is a supply chain management software for just about any industry, big or small. But they are definitely the number one candidate for businesses with complex manufacturing requirements.
SAP believes business is all about agility, adaptability, and speed regardless of size, and their software certainly reflects this notion. Their high reputation is steeped in 50+ years of experience in manufacturing automotives such as cars and planes, as well as industrial machinery, and military-level defense products.
In a nutshell, SAP is a premium end-to-end supply chain management software with a list of features and capabilities longer than both arms put together. Just some of the things that SAP can do include:
- Forecast and manage demand
- Optimize inventory
- Collaborate with partners and suppliers
- Monitor supply chain status with multiple dashboards
- Warehouse management focusing on both inbound and outbound logistics
- Order management
- Transport logistics, planning, and execution
- Tracking and tracing of products from the warehouse to your customer’s door
Every single aspect of this software is designed to help you forecast and plan.
Furthermore, when demand suddenly changes, you’ll have tools at your fingertips to optimize current inventory and adjust your supply to match your new demand quickly and cost-effectively.
A huge highlight of SAP’s offerings is that SAP can also be used as almost a one-stop-shop for your business process needs outside of their SCM capabilities. They offer systems to help you manage CRM and customer experience, HR and employee engagement, and business technology and finance.
Why is this important when what we are really talking about is supply chain management?
SAP has nailed a heck of an offering for businesses looking to streamline their processes into one package without ever facing integration issues or communication breakdowns.
SAP doesn’t offer a free trial of their supply chain management software, but you can request a demo to see the software in action before you jump in.
#2 – Anvyl — Best For Small Businesses With Growth Potential
- Finds & vets vendors for you
- Smart inventory alerts
- Onboarding for new clients
- Comes with a free trial
Anvyl is a little different from the others mentioned here today, as they call themselves a supply chain relationships manager platform.
What does that mean?
In a nutshell, Anvyl researches and vets the best vendors and suppliers in each step of the supply chain and then puts them all in one place for you. This will save you tons of time when it comes to researching and working with tons of different vendors on different platforms whose software doesn’t speak to each other.
This software will help you to stay up-to-date with your supply chain with automated production check-ins, inventory levels alerts, and a streamlined communication platform to assist you in liaising with all parties throughout the process.
Anvyl also gets great feedback for its usability and scalability, both of which make it the perfect candidate for growing small businesses.
Anvyl offers three pricing plans. Because they leave out unnecessary features in the basic plan, they’re positioned as a really affordable option for those smaller businesses outgrowing their manual supply chain management methods.
When you’re ready to grow further, the plans evolve to include more features and integrations to suit your new business needs.
All plans include onboarding support, access to the in-app chat, and quarterly business reviews, so you’ll never be entirely on your own with Anvyl.
Want to try before you buy? Start your free trial with Anvyl today.
#3 – Logility Solutions — Best For Retail Products & Consumer Goods
- Easily used with online marketplaces
- Leverages AI & advanced analytics
- Automated inventory planning
- Supply and demand optimization
Logility is an AI-powered supply chain management powerhouse for any large company in the retail or consumer goods industry. It works particularly well for companies selling products on multiple platforms such as social media, online marketplaces, in-store, and on their website.
This software has been cleverly designed to feel completely intuitive to the business owner. It will suggest when to seize new opportunities and when to respond to changing market dynamics.
It does this by leveraging a blend of innovative artificial intelligence (AI) and advanced analytics.
Some of the things you can expect to do with your Logility software include:
- Automate supply and demand planning
- Accelerate product life cycle times
- Improve operating performance
- Demand, inventory, and replenishment planning
- Supply and inventory optimization
- Manufacturing planning and scheduling
The advantage of these incredible AI planning and analytic tools is that the software is always planning which products need a re-stock and which product stock levels are okay, based on considerations such as seasons, trends, or holidays.
To sum it up, Logility will be your right-hand robot in managing your supply processes so that you can focus on the aspects that make your business profitable.
Schedule your free live demo to see what all the fuss is about!
#4 – Hybrent — Best For Healthcare Professionals
- Perfect for healthcare companies
- Amazon-like online store
- Easily integrates w/ MPM software
- Mobile and tablet friendly
Hybrent Software is a cloud-based supply chain management system specifically designed for use by the healthcare industry. Their motto is to transform the supply chain using speed, simplicity, and valuable data for healthcare professionals.
They boast an Amazon-like online store that allows users to order from multiple suppliers under one order number. You can also link inventory levels to your ordering portal so you can always see exactly what’s in stock without having to visit the supply closet.
Hybrent has rave reviews for the usability, functionality, and level of customer support provided with their software. What users love about Hybrent is that they can streamline their inventory across multiple practice locations while still separately monitoring each practice’s outgoings individually.
Because it’s designed by healthcare professionals, this software comes ready to integrate with most practice management software, electronic health and medical records tools, and accounting software.
What else could you possibly want?
Perhaps software that is both mobile and tablet-friendly for quick supply chain management on the go? Well, Hybrent does that, too.
Finally, if you were ever to have issues with the software, Hybrent offers phone, email, and chat support during office hours and a comprehensive resource library for minor troubleshooting on your own.
If you’re a healthcare provider and are as sold on Hybrent as I am, schedule a free demo here!
#5 – ArrowStream — Best For The Food Service Industry
- Made for food/bev & hospitality
- Complete supply chain visibility
- Clear insight into product spend
- Maximize supplier contracts
While many supply chain management tools cater to the hospitality industry, if you are looking for a provider who lives and breathes food supply, ArrowSteam is the one for you.
ArrowStream connects over 200 restaurants with 1,000+ distribution centers and 6,000 food suppliers. This is astronomical in terms of the variety of quality food sources and competitive pricing that can be offered back down the line to restaurant owners.
So, what features can you expect to have access to with ArrowStream?
- Inventory alerts for items that are running out of stock
- Contract price control for restaurants
- Identifies non-contracted high-spend items for you
- All suppliers are vetted for quality assurance
- Easy to understand analytics on inventory, spend, and wastage
There are two key standout features of the ArrowStream software.
The first is that users get complete supply chain visibility. This means that restaurant owners can see well in advance when a product might be out of stock and at which point in the supply chain it may happen.
This provides an excellent planning tool when it comes to private functions or events with special menus, as you can either order ahead of time or source a different supplier with plenty of time. Rather than finding out a week in advance that you can’t get the particular fish required to service a wedding that weekend!
The second feature that stands out for us is the prevention of rogue purchasing. ArrowStream has found that users are paying almost 12% more for non-contracted items. To prevent this, the software will only allow you to go a certain amount over your contracted spend in each transaction before you are required to re-evaluate.
Why is this important? Well, if you’re continuously ordering an item outside of your contract and paying higher rates for it, you’re wasting well-earned money!
ArrowStream will help to put more money back into your pocket by identifying and stopping rogue purchasing that can be avoided.
Think ArrowStream might be the one for you? You can request a demo based on your requirements here.
#6 – Fishbowl Inventory — Best For Warehouse & Manufacturing Management
- Adaptable for multiple warehouses
- Many powerful integrations
- Automate ordering & purchasing
- Real-time updates on inventory
Let’s say that you’re a business that manufactures products in your own warehouse. You sell your products across multiple different platforms and then use a third-party company to handle your transport and delivery.
You will still need a supply chain management system in place.
That’s where Fishbowl Inventory comes in. As the name suggests, this software is designed for businesses looking for general warehousing, manufacturing, and inventory solutions.
The list of integrations available is impressive and extensive, including eBay, Amazon, QuickBooks, Fedex, and more, so it’s likely to fit in with whatever systems you already have in place.
Some of the key features you can expect to see from Fishbowl Inventory include:
- Inventory control
- Asset management
- Automated ordering and purchasing
- Material requirements planning
- Work order management
- Real-time updates on inventory level (including to multiple platforms)
There is a cool feature with Fishbowl Inventory if you have multiple warehouses under your organization to serve different markets. Not only will the software predict general inventory requirements based on sales trends, but it will also suggest when you may need to transfer stocks from one warehouse to another to meet area demands.
Aside from being an excellent logistical benefit of the software, it will also act as a business reporting tool by telling you which markets are thriving more than others.
This software isn’t for everyone, so if you’re not 100% this is the right solution for you, you can give the free trial a go.
How to Find the Best Supply Chain Management Software for You
At the heart of supply chain management software should be the critical features required to successfully manage your goods and products. These features include order and inventory management, supply and demand reporting, and supplier management.
Some software offers simple inventory solutions with the basic features you need to get the job done. Some offer wide-ranging, fully integrated business solutions with all the bells and whistles.
My number one recommendation is not to get caught up in the shiny features that are not actually useful for your business. As much as they sound fantastic, they may cause the cost of your software to outweigh the benefits it’s going to bring you.
Regardless of the size of your business operations, choosing which supply chain management software to invest in is a pricey and important decision. And there is no one-size-fits-all solution.
So, how are you going to narrow it down to the best software for your business?
When you’re ready to invest in the best software for you, we recommend considering the below factors.
If you want to have your hair cut and colored for a special occasion, you won’t head to your local dentist. You’d find the best hairdresser in your local area for the job. The exact same principle should be applied to your search for supply chain management software providers.
There are so many options out there because most of them are designed to target specific industries. Furthermore, software that targets particular industries usually does so for a good reason. Because they are darn good at what they do!
So, in reality, there should be at least a few viable options to assist your specific industry. When doing your research, make sure that the software you’re comparing and considering is tailored to your industry so that you get the most out of it. While you might be able to do some or most of what you need with a non-industry-specific software, the best solution will be built around and deeply understand your industry’s needs.
Integrations & Compatibility
Every business has tools, software, and processes in place already. This could be true for anything, but specifically, you likely already have an enterprise resource planning tool. As your business grows and adapts, you need a supply chain management tool that can integrate into or work with your existing tools and processes.
While you may not find one software that can do everything and not require you to make any changes to current processes, the goal is to find one that does as much as possible to make the transition seamlessly.
In addition to being compatible with your current solutions, also consider how or if the supply chain management software you’re looking at works with your vendors, suppliers, and other points of contact in your supply chain’s systems.
Software Deployment Time Frame
The deployment time frame of your preferred software will essentially depend on whether it is cloud-based or installed on-site. But it can also be affected by how much customization is required and how much training your staff will need to use the software effectively.
Why is this important?
Well, if you are suddenly overrun with demand and your manual supply chain management tactics are no longer cutting it, you’ll want the software up and running as soon as possible. If this is you, cloud-based software will be the best way to go for faster deployment.
However, if you are looking to switch software for better business practices and have plenty of time to deploy the new system, the deployment time frame may not be a deciding factor for you.
Whether you’re just starting out in business or have been around for years, if you sell products or goods, you will need to enlist the help of a good supply chain management software eventually. Nobody can carry on with an Excel spreadsheet forever.
Plus, this software comes with amazing tools to support your business’s growth through all peaks and valleys.
Use this guide as a resource to find the best supply chain management software for your business. Remember to keep in mind the features you really need, whether the software is industry-specific, its compatibility with your current tools, and how long it’s going to take to get this software off the ground.