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Supply Chain Planning Software: Features, Integrations, Success Factors, Financial Outcomes

Supply Chain Planning Software Overview - ScienceSoft

ScienceSoft applies 10-year experience in building supply chain management software and 33-year experience in AI to design and develop analytics-driven solutions for supply chain planning.

Supply Chain Planning Software: The Essence

Supply chain planning software helps companies streamline supply and demand planning, minimize the risk of supply chain disruptions, and reduce the entire supply chain costs. It provides analytics-driven demand forecasting, inventory planning and optimization, product distribution planning and monitors supply chain performance in real time.

The solution is especially helpful for enterprises with complex multi-tier supply chain networks, a large number of purchasing and selling categories, multiple business entities.

  • Necessary integrations: ERP, CRM, an inventory management solution, procurement software, logistics management software, etc.
  • Implementation time: 6 – 10 months for custom supply chain planning software.
  • Development costs: $200,000 – $400,000+, depending on the solution’s complexity.
  • ROI: 100%+ in the first year of the solution implementation.

Supply Chain Planning Software: Key Features

Each supply chain planning system ScienceSoft delivers has unique functionality to serve customer-specific needs. Below we share a sample feature set that forms the core of the described solution.

Customer demand forecasting

  • Long-term customer demand forecasting based on the analysis of relevant data, such as:
    • Historical sales data (by customer segment, selling channel, point of sale, particular seasons of sale, etc.).
    • Planned product promotions, rollouts and retirements, and more.
  • Short-term customer demand sensing based on AI-powered analysis of real-time sales data, available data on competitors’ activities and market risks.
  • Automated adjustment of demand forecasts as new sales data appears.
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Inventory planning

  • Planning the optimal amount of inventory across different categories, such as raw materials, goods in progress, finished products (by period, inventory item, location, etc.) based on:
    • Forecasted customer demand.
    • Historical data on the material requirements for manufacturing needs.
    • Existing inventory reservations (for manufacturing needs, customer orders).
    • Inventory efficiency and expiration dates, and more.
  • Planning the expected supply dates based on the lead time specified by a vendor, inventory shipment status, working days calendar, etc.
  • Template-based generation of inventory plans and supply requirements (by product, Bill of Materials, location, etc.).
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Inventory optimization

  • AI-supported calculation of optimal inventory reorder points for each inventory item based on the historical manufacturing and sales data, product promotions, demand seasonality, and other factors.
  • Multi-echelon inventory optimization based on the analysis of current demand, inventory availability, inventory carrying costs, inventory lead time, customer commitments and service levels, and more.
  • AI-driven recommendations on optimal time for inventory reallocation between different manufacturing facilities, warehouses, distribution centers, points of sale, etc.
  • AI-based inventory storage suggestions based on the inventory item storage requirements, expiration dates, etc.
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Strategic sourcing planning

  • AI-enabled supplier pre-qualification against user-defined requirements (quality standards, sustainability, capacity, delivery terms, etc.), analysis of reputational, financial, operational, and other supplier risks based on internal and public data sources.
  • Analytics-driven recommendations on the preferred suppliers for particular inventory items.
  • Forecasting savings with different strategic sourcing events (by period, sourcing event, product/service category, location, etc.).
  • AI-powered recommendations on the optimal sourcing events (RFxs, eTenders, eAuctions) and time they should take place for maximized savings.
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Distribution planning and optimization

  • Rule-based customer order prioritization based on customer value, order date, item category, service level, and more.
  • AI-based suggestions on the optimal order fulfillment location (for omnichannel selling), the type and amount of packing required for an order, the optimal order picking route in a warehouse, the optimal order shipping route.
  • Template-based creation of order shipping schedules.
  • Support for complex customer order fulfillment scenarios, such as dropshipping or back-to-back shipment.
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Spend planning and optimization

  • Planning of supply chain spend by period, item category, sales order, location based on the analysis of:
    • Historical spend data (e.g., inventory supply and carrying costs, order transportation costs, etc.).
    • Inventory requirements for internal processes.
    • Forecasted customer demand.
  • AI-powered suggestions on spend optimization opportunities across the supply chain.
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Collaborative supply chain planning

  • An instant messaging tool to communicate with internal teams (sales, finance, production, etc.) for consensus-based demand forecasting and planning.
  • Automated submission of up-to-date demand plans and supply requirements to multi-tier suppliers, contract manufacturers, third-party logistics providers to receive supply commitments, proactively identify exceptions in demand and supply, and collaborate on supply chain plan changes.
  • (for vendor-managed inventory) Sharing real-time data on multi-location inventory levels and forecasted demand with a supplier (via direct integration with a supplier’s ERP).
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End-to-end supply chain optimization

  • A supply chain digital twin for multi-dimensional modeling of different supply chain action plans (e.g., demand planning, safety stock planning, transportation optimization) and analysis of their potential impact on the entire supply chain performance.
  • AI-enabled suggestions on optimal supply chain strategies based on profitability analysis.
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Supply chain performance monitoring

  • Drill-down dashboards for real-time monitoring of supply chain performance at the product, supplier, customer, location, business entity level.
  • Real-time tracking of actual vs. planned inventory supply dates, inventory utilization, procurement spend, customer order transportation schedules, and more.
  • Granular analysis of the supply chain plan variance to identify the root cause of planning errors.
  • Alerts to supply chain planners and authorized users on user-defined supply chain events, such as inventory stockouts, order transportation delays, etc.
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Security and compliance

  • Multi-factor user authentication.
  • Configurable user roles by function (supply chain planner, inventory specialist, logistics manager, etc.).
  • Permission-based access control.
  • Intelligent supply chain fraud detection.
  • Comprehensive audit trail for all supply chain transactions.
  • Retention and deletion policies for supplier and customer data.
  • Compliance with SOX, SOC 1 and SOC 2, WTO regulations, region- and industry-specific regulations.
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Get Accurate Supply Chain Planning

ScienceSoft’s team is ready to plan, build, and support a robust supply chain planning solution to enable analytics-driven planning across the entire supply chain, help companies optimize supply chain costs and minimize the risk of supply chain disruptions.

Essential Integrations for Supply Chain Planning Software

ScienceSoft designs a cohesive supply chain management environment where the supply chain planning solution integrates with sales channels, inventory data sources and supply chain operations control systems. The main benefit of the integration is fast and accurate aggregation of relevant supply chain data for further analysis in the described system.

Integrations for Supply Chain Planning Software - ScienceSoft

ERP

  • For accurate inventory supply planning.
  • To plan optimal time for inventory reallocation from warehouses to the locations where operations are conducted.
  • To leverage relevant supply chain data at all levels of operational, financial and strategic planning.

CRM

  • For data-driven demand forecasting and accurate omnichannel inventory planning.

Alternatively to CRM, a supply chain planning solution can be integrated directly with selling channels (e.g., a company’s ecommerce website or a point-of-sale system).

Inventory management software

  • For accurate inventory procurement and reallocation planning.
  • For data-driven multi-echelon inventory optimization.
  • To timely initiate inventory replenishment.

Procurement software

  • For accurate procurement spend planning and analysis to identify spend optimization opportunities.
  • To ensure selection of proper suppliers.
  • To initiate sourcing events for maximized supply chain cost savings.

Logistics management software

  • For data-driven transportation spend planning and analysis to identify spend optimization opportunities.
  • To plan timely actions for order transportation disruptions.
  • To ensure timely order delivery while minimizing order transportation costs.

Warehouse management software

  • For accurate inventory storage and carrying costs planning and analysis to identify cost optimization opportunities.
  • To minimize inventory carrying costs.

Order management software

  • For data-driven planning of order fulfillment location (for omnichannel selling), picking, packing, and distribution.
  • For timely and cost-effective order fulfillment.

Vendor portal

  • For facilitated communication and collaboration with multi-tier suppliers and external partnets (e.g., contract manufacturers) on supply chain planning.
  • To select preferred suppliers for particular inventory items.
  • To quickly suggest optimal alternative suppliers across multiple tiers in case of unforeseen supply disruptions.

Promotion management software

  • For accurate omnichannel inventory planning taking into account potential demand spikes.

Success Factors for Supply Chain Planning Software

In supply chain planning projects, ScienceSoft always seeks to cover the following important factors to maximize ROI of the supply chain planning solution.

A supply chain digital twin

for facilitated modeling and visualization of various supply chain action plans and their impact on the entire supply chain.

AI-powered prescriptive analytics

to get intelligent recommendations on supply chain optimization.

Collaborative planning capability

to base supply chain planning on the data provided by internal teams, multi-tier suppliers and external partners (e.g., contract manufacturers) and minimize the risk of supply chain disruptions.

Easy-to-use APIs

for streamlined connection of supply chain planning software to the business-critical systems (ERP, CRM, an inventory management system, procurement software, etc.).

Supply Chain Planning Software Development: Success Story by ScienceSoft

Supply chain e-collaboration network for 1,700-store retailer

  • Aggregating data on selling and purchasing processes, inventory levels and supplier performance from relevant sources in real time.
  • Advanced analytics for demand planning.
  • Template-based creation of purchase orders.
  • Role-based access control for category managers, store managers, suppliers, accountants, etc.

Customer’s benefit: Faster and more accurate supply chain planning.

Supply Chain Planning Software Implementation Costs and Financial Outcomes

Supply chain planning software development costs vary from $200,000 to $400,000+, depending on the solution complexity.

Custom supply chain planning software can bring 100%+ ROI in the first year of implementation.

Benefits of Supply Chain Planning Software

  • 50 – 90%

    faster supply chain planning due to automation of manual tasks

  • 25%+

    reduction in overall supply chain costs and up to 20% increase in operating margin due to supply chain optimization

  • 80%+

    increase in on-time order shipments

  • Up to 30%

    reduction in an overall inventory amount due to more efficient inventory planning and multi-echelon inventory optimization

  • Minimized

    risk of supply chain disruption and unforeseen costs due to accurate, analytics-driven, and collaborative supply chain planning

  • Enhanced

    visibility into projected supply chain performance due to a supply chain digital twin

  • Improved

    supply chain risk management due to real-time supply chain control

  • Off-the-Shelf Supply Chain Planning Solutions ScienceSoft Recommends

    SAP Supply Chain Planning

    Best for: multi-tier supply chain planning

    Description

    Rating: A leader on the global market for supply chain planning solutions (as per IDC).

    Key strengths:

    • Multi-entity supply chain planning and optimization.
    • A supply chain control tower offering real-time visibility into supply chain operations.
    • AI suggestions on the optimal resolution of various supply chain issues based on pre-set risk management best practices.

    Features

    • AI-powered demand forecasting based on time series analysis and demand sensing.
    • Demand-driven supply planning across multiple locations.
    • Supply chain scenario modeling and what-if analysis.
    • Multi-echelon inventory optimization.
    • Automated calculation of optimal safety stock and inventory reorder points for each inventory item.
    • Multi-departmental (finance, sales, marketing, etc.) collaboration on supply chain planning.

    Pricing

    Upon request to a vendor.

    Oracle Supply Chain Planning

    Best for: collaborative supply chain planning

    Description

    Rating: A leader on the global market for supply chain planning solutions (as per IDC).

    Key strengths:

    • A supplier portal to easily collaborate with multi-tier suppliers and contract manufacturers on supply planning.
    • Blockchain-based sharing of supply chain plans and facilitated traceability of supply chain transactions by the authorized parties involved in a multi-tier supply chain.
    • Alerts to supply chain planners and authorized employees on supply chain performance variance.

    Features

    • Built-in AI to perform demand analysis and forecasting by customer segment.
    • Real-time monitoring of actual vs. planned supply chain performance.
    • Analytics-driven planning of picking, packing and transportation for drop-ship, back-to-back and other order fulfillment scenarios.
    • Gantt charts to track supply, inventory utilization, order distribution schedules.
    • Supply chain scenario modeling and what-if analysis.
    • Detailed root cause analysis of supply chain planning errors.

    Pricing

    Upon request to a vendor.

    E2Open Business Planning Suite

    Best for: supply chain optimization

    Description

    Rating: A leader on the global market for supply chain planning solutions (as per IDC).

    Key strengths:

    • Multi-echelon inventory optimization.
    • Analytics-based planning of order picking and packing, transport load and transportation route.
    • AI recommendations on alternative suppliers, transportation routes and optimal production volumes in case of unforeseen supply chain constraints.

    Features

    • A supply chain digital twin.
    • AI-powered demand forecasting.
    • Rule-based demand segmentation and customer order prioritization.
    • What-if analysis to compare supply chain spend optimization opportunities, demand volatility risks, vendor and inventory alternatives.
    • Automated calculation of expected order delivery time.
    • Analytics-driven inventory level forecasting across various locations.

    Pricing

    Upon request to a vendor.

    When to Opt for Custom Supply Chain Planning Software

    ScienceSoft recommends building a custom supply chain planning solution in the following cases:

    You need to integrate supply chain planning software with legacy internal software (ERP, CRM, inventory management software, procurement software, etc.).

    You need flexible supply chain planning software, which is easy to evolve with advanced technologies (e.g., AR/VR, blockchain) when required.

    You have large teams involved in supply chain planning and want to avoid considerable subscription costs for platform-based supply chain planning systems that scale with the number of users.

    You operate in a highly regulated industry (e.g., government sector, healthcare, defense) and need a supply chain planning solution to meet specific security and compliance requirements.

    Implementation of Supply Chain Planning Software with ScienceSoft

    In supply chain management software development since 2012, ScienceSoft helps companies build reliable supply chain planning solutions.

    Supply chain planning consulting

    • Analysis of your supply chain planning needs.
    • Suggesting optimal features, architecture, and tech stack for a supply chain planning solution.
    • Preparing an integration plan with ERP, CRM, an inventory management solution, procurement software, etc.
    • Implementation cost & time estimates, expected ROI calculation.
    Go for consulting

    Supply chain planning software implementation

    • Supply chain planning needs analysis.
    • Conceptualization of a supply chain planning solution.
    • Architecture design.
    • Supply chain planning software development.
    • Integrating the solution with relevant corporate software (ERP, CRM, an inventory management solution, procurement software, etc.).
    • Quality assurance.
    • User training.
    • Continuous support and evolution (if required).
    GO FOR IMPLEMENTATION

    About ScienceSoft

    ScienceSoft is an international IT consulting and software development company headquartered in McKinney, Texas. We provide consultancy and development services to help organizations build effective supply chain planning software. Being ISO 9001 and ISO 27001 certified, we apply a mature quality management system and guarantee that cooperation with us does not pose any risks to our customers’ data security. If you are interested in getting a reliable supply chain planning solution, feel free to turn to ScienceSoft’s team.