Supply Chain Management (SCM): Improvement of supply chain is one of the last frontiers for improving productivity and supply chain visibility is the most important challenge faced by supply chain professionals. This is more relevant in the context of retail, consumer electrical and electronics industries where organizations are challenged by an environment of distributed operations, high demand volatility and rapid product evaluation. A properly implemented supply chain solution enables an organization to quickly respond to supply chain aberrations, and provides following benefits:
SCM tools: Considering the importance of SCM, the reputed ERP vendors such as SAP, Oracle, and Infor started to add SCM solutions to their ERP offerings. Also best of breed offering from niche vendors e.g. Manugistic also started to appear in the marketplace. The product suite offered by theses solution providers broadly comprise of following components:
Supplier Relationship Management (SRM): In the context of restructuring of extended supply chain, more and more organizations are asking their suppliers to integrate their business system for real time collaboration. Sharing information with suppliers now goes beyond the realm of EDI. SRM facilitates information integration and tracking in real time in respect of several aspects such as delivery schedules, delivery information, inventory, capacity planning, quotation, RFP, quality and credit. However, the extent of integration depends upon the criticality of supplier in the business context of the organizational need. SRM provides maximum value for integrating suppliers that have strategic stake such as an automobile ancillary, contract manufacturer for a retail chain.
SRM tools are mostly used to complement existing functionality of ERP system. Some of the specific functionalities of SRM are as follows:
Warehouse Management System (WMS): Like warehousing module of an ERP system, the primary purpose of WMS is to control, storage and movement of goods. However, in the context of recent setting up of huge automated warehouse and advent of tracking technologies such as RFID (Radio Frequency ID), the limited warehousing functionality of an ERP system is not often adequate. WMS helps to organize work including allocation of resources and optimize storage and distribution network.
Very briefly, WMS comprises of following functionalities:
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