Agile Supply Chain Strategy: 5 Tips to Improve Supply Chain Flexibility

Agile Supply Chain Strategy: 5 Tips to Improve Supply Chain Flexibility

Using Supply Chain Apps to achieve a more agile supply chain strategy36345334_l

The global supply chain management and procurement software market grew 10.8-percent in 2014, according to Gartner.  This means that more people are buying supply chain apps every year. Why…

An agile supply chain strategy is key to competing in today’s rapidly changing business climate, so the supply chain apps market is seeing growth as businesses of all sizes are using technology to improve supply chain agility.

“Organizations modernizing supply chains drove opportunity for both large-suite and specialized providers to become more agile and drive innovation within their businesses during 2014,” Gartner’s research vice president, Chad Eschinger. “SCM offerings delivered as cloud showed above-market growth of 17 percent, while new on-premises licenses also grew significantly at nine percent, as organizations sought to modernize their supply chain portfolio through a variety of delivery models.”

Using cloud based Supply Chain Apps to achieve a more agile supply chain strategy is critical to many industries, especially distribution, manufacturing and wholesale.  Check out these tips to help improve supply chain flexibility using technology:

1. Trust your gut, support decisions with data

You know your market and you know your business, but if you have learned anything over the years it’s that life will always throw you curve balls.  Your gut may be right 99 out of 100 times, but that doesn’t mean you can’t improve.  Use your supply chain apps to support your instincts and help guide decision making with data that matters. With the right app you can encourage supply chain flexibility by taking real-time data, and combining it with powerful analysis tools. That’s leveraging human power and machine power together so you’ll always know what you need and where it needs to be.  This brings us to our next point…

2. Keeping up with change and compliance

There are new regulations and tighter restrictions everyday it seems. Keeping up with compliance is tricky and the economy is changing.  Another reason why staying agile is so important.  Cloud based supply chain apps will help you stay ahead of the competition with systems that easily adapt to dynamic business needs. With a cloud hosting provider who delivers mobility, 24 hour support, compliance support you can be better prepared for audits and experience fewer disruptions to your business.  More on  number 3…

3. Avoid disruptions and late deliveries

Once you have data insights into your supply chain processes it’s time for a critical eye. Identify vulnerabilities and prevent them from becoming disruptions to your business down the line. With tools that make it easy to spot weaknesses in your supply chain like real-time KPIs and insight into landed costs.  Having an accurate knowledge of you landed costs is important to being lean and agile.  Let’s take a look at our fourth tip…

4. Work from actuals, not averages

Part of supply agility is keeping an open mind and looking at your data in many different ways.  While it maybe beneficial to track averages, it is vital to track actual landed costs and get a clear picture of your profitability. With increased visibility and control over your production and inventory supply chain applications help you plan for the future and be proactive, not just reacting.  Looking forward is what our next tip is all about…

5. Turn trends and opportunities into profitability

With analytical tools that turn data into actionable insights you can use the power of historical data to make forward looking decisions.  See and understand trends through the power of analtyics and combine that with real-time inventory and KPIs.  This will essentially allow you to turn years of historical data into information you can easily analyze to spot trends, identify new sales opportunities, and provide great customer experiences.  When you boost supply chain flexibility you are able to plan head, react to changes and thereby improve profitability.

However without the right tools and applications in place an agile supply chain strategy is going to be difficult to achieve.

Learn more about Microsoft Great Plains accounting software for SMBs »

One UK based distributor was able to cut administration costs by 50% using agile supply chain features inside Microsoft Dynamics NAV (Navision ERP).  Check out this supply chain case study to see how.  With NAV in place the company was able to get:

  • A tailor-made but flexible solution
  • Greater visibility of information
  • Sales intelligence boosts business
  • Greater efficiency
  • Improved service levels
  • Scalability for growth


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