SUPPLY CHAIN MANAGEMENT SOFTWARE REVIEWS
ERP.asia has performed a proprietary review of eight of the top 20 SCM software vendors. The evaluation goals are to provide a sense of functionalities, features, benefits and short comings of the top SCM systems according to ERP.asia criteria and judging. Also, the evaluation illustrates many differences and similarities between the software vendors and their application solutions. The software vendors are listed in alphabetical order to avoid conveying any unintended bias. The application vendors evaluated include HighJump Software, i2 Technologies, InFor Global Solutions, JDA Software Group, Manhattan Associates, Oracle Corporation, and SAP AG.
The supply chain management software evaluations are broken down into 5 areas which include Company Background, Vertical Markets, Application Software (Products), SCM Features, and Strengths & Weaknesses. The bulk of the evaluation concentrates on SCM Features as well as Strengths & Weaknesses. A common review, comparison and presentation structure is used to provide a consistent evaluation basis. The area of Strengths and Weaknesses provides a level of unique context for individual value of based on any particular vendor’s SCM features.
SCM FEATURE SETS AND CAPABILITIES
The supply chain management software features evaluated for each software vendor include:
Software Architecture and Cross Application Solutions – Software application vendors offer some form of a software architecture for handling common IT functionalities and/or shared services.
Sales and Operation Planning – Only a few software vendors supported a fully functional S&OP solution. Most software applications have some level of support for the S&OP process.
Demand Management – The supply chain software evaluation focused on forecasting, demand shaping and order fulfillment. Most technology vendors addressed forecasting and order fulfillment. Although some vendors addressed promotions, demand shaping often falls more into Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software solution. Vendors with an integrated CRM generally fare better in demand shaping.
Supply Management – Supply management is a area with highlights the greatest differences between distribution software vendors. The technology vendors developed their business applications to meet a diverse set of requirements and the levels of product maturity are at vastly different stages.
To maintain a common software evaluation structure, feature sets were further broken down into:
- Strategic Network Planning (SNP) – SNP is becoming a standard feature for many SCM vendors. SNP is a mid-term to long-term supply chain planning tool.
- Distribution Planning – Distribution Planning is a mid-term inventory management and planning tool.
- Replenishment – Replenishment addresses short-term inventory and demand fulfillment planning.
- Vendor Managed Inventory (VMI) – Vendors ability to replenish customer inventory based on stock and sales data sent to the vendor from the customer. The vendor plans and manages the replenishment of goods.
- Procurement Management – Procurement Management plans and executes sourcing strategies.
Warehouse Management Systems – Most of the best practices for WMS are well established, thus the features for each software vendor are often similar. Each vendor was evaluated for the following:
- Yard Management
- Inbound Processing
- Outbound Processing
- Cross Docking
- Value Added Services
Transportation Management Systems – As with WMS, often the TMS features appear similar among SCM software vendors. Each SCM vendor was evaluated for the following:
- Freight Charges and Settlements
- Fleet Management
Supplier Relation Management – Most application suppliers did not have a full featured SRM. If they did, they were evaluated for the following:
- Catalog Management
- Contract Management
- Supplier Compliance
Customer Relationship Management – CRM often addresses key objectives, functionality and integration critical to SCM demand management. CRM captures short-term and mid-term information relevant to demand planning.
SUMMARY OF THE EVALUATION PROCESS AND PRESENTATION STRUCTURE
Reasonable efforts were made to align each software vendor’s business applications into a common presentation structure. It is critical to note that the SCM software market is constantly changing with acquisitions and vendors constantly adding new features to their supply chain management applications.