June 9, 2020

ERP Supply Chain Systems 2024

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What is EPR in supply chain management?

Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) for supply chain management (SCM) is an all-in-one software application that helps businesses automate and streamline interdependent sets of activities that comprise the supply chain process.

Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) for SCM helps businesses manage production processes efficiently by coordinating specific SCM activities such as inventory, manufacturing resources, and logistics to meet established completion and delivery timelines. Enterprise Resource Planning for SCM provides businesses with real-time visibility throughout each production process phase, including delivery to a customer. Finding the best ERP solution for your supply chain management business is crucial. 

Read on to discover the best ERP for supply chain management software that will address all your organizational needs.

Top ERP supply chain systems in 2023

Microsoft Dynamics 365 — Best for project and service-based businesses


Pros

  • Integrates well with existing Microsoft Office products
  • The low-code platform allows users to develop and deploy software applications quickly
  • Dynamics 365 is compliant with Europe’s GDPR and other U.S. data privacy legislation and regulations

Cons

  • Training is required to become proficient, and it’s purported the interface is not user-friendly
  • Data storage is limited, and it costs to add additional storage
  • The mobile app does not work with all the features in this ERP solution.

Artificial Intelligence (AI) tools: Microsoft 365 invested significantly in its AI and machine learning (ML) tools that enhance automation tools. The AI tools are available throughout the MS Dynamics 365 application, which helps improve overall efficiency. 

Reporting and Analytics: Built-in real-time dashboards and KPIs features provide managers with accurate resource allocation information and financial reports. Users can create financial reports and custom analytics using Power Business Intelligence (BI).    Power BI lets users create data visualization dashboards to share with team members. 

Third-Party Integrations: MS Dynamics 365 can connect with potential business partners via the AppSource, allowing partners to use pre-built MS applications and Power BI tools. The AppSource offers business partners a variety of other applications, such as project management, human resources, analytics, and financial resources are all available for partners to use.

The premium version is $100 per user/per month, and the essential version is $70 per user/per month.

Microsoft Dynamics 365 is capable of addressing all of your typical business needs. This product is a business management software solution that supports a supply chain management process, customer relationship management (CRM), financial operations marketing, business intelligence, project service automation, and commerce and retail. Microsoft Dynamics 365 is a comprehensive solution that addresses all your business needs and is compatible with all Microsoft Office products.

Microsoft Dynamics 365 allows you to automate your functions and tasks across multiple departments using customizable built-in tools. The fully developed ERP solution with CRM capabilities allows businesses to execute processes and workflows and continually improve customer communications successfully. Overall, Dynamics 365 helps businesses connect to every facet of an organization, which increases more intelligent decision-making.

Oracle Cloud ERP—Best for global businesses that use an Oracle database


Pros

  • Enhanced user-friendly reporting capabilities.
  • Flexible integrated business functionality across the entire organization
  • The single cloud-based platform promotes an improved management purview

Cons

  • Customer support and documentation needs improvement
  • Some facets of Oracle ERP are challenging to navigate

Built-in Business Intelligence (BI): Oracle has built-in BI, allowing customers to use Oracle’s digital voice assistant user interface supported by ML and natural language processing (NLP) that can send voice queries and alerts to a user’s smartphone. The built-in BI uses analytical tools to execute financial planning to generate scenarios, do automatic real-time drill-downs, and compare the differences between a plan and the actual results.

Integrations: Oracle ERP Cloud can easily integrate with other software applications, including Oracle Cloud products like Oracle’s E-Business Suite. The ability to integrate with other applications breaks down information silos, increasing the organization’s productivity and efficiency.

Reporting: Oracle’s analytical tool and centralized business data allow users to quickly produce reports and analytic dashboards.

Pricing for Oracle’s ERP starts at $75,000 per year, based on $7,500 for the service and a 10 user minimum. A mandatory 3-year commitment is mandatory, so the true cost of investment is approximately $225,000 over the course of three years.

Oracle ERP Cloud is a Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) designed for large organizations with intricate business processes and structures, so enterprise organizations need to consider this ERP solution. In addition to Oracle’s robust supply chain management module, Oracle has an enterprise performance management module that does business planning by selecting data points for scenario modeling, what-if analysis, and extensive business planning. Oracle ERP cloud also provides financial data, customer relationship management (CRM) statuses, and project management modules in its ERP cloud solution.

Oracle ERP cloud lowers your total cost of ownership than an on-premises solution, and Oracle assists in helping you migrate from your on-premises solution to the cloud with their Customer 2 Cloud program. Oracle can co-exist with your current systems, allowing a business to move while migrating other applications to the cloud slowly.

Infor CloudSuite—Best for food & beverage, distribution, manufacturing industries


Pros

  • Infor provides extensive training manuals and user guides
  • Configure, price, and quote functionality allows for a quick fulfillment of ordered services
  • Adaptable and scalable to meet a business’s unique needs

Cons

  • Not all of Infor functionality is migrated to the cloud
  • The user interface is not as robust as other modern ERP applications
  • Reporting and analytics can be complicated for some users

Scalable Warehouse Management: Enhances efficiency and accuracy in warehouse operations that positively impact internal entities and external business partners.

Intuitive Order Management: Improves the accuracy of Just in Time (JIT) ordering and reduces the risk of not having the minimum inventory to meet the demand.

Robust Integration Capabilities: Promotes seamless collaboration and communication between internal departments and external stakeholders that streamlines operations.

Infor CloudSuite is designed for small and midsize manufacturing organizations that require a robust supply chain management ERP application. Infor ERP supply chain management application provides companies with real-time supply chain management coordination and oversight throughout the SCM process until delivery is completed. Infor cloud-based solution decreases total cost of ownership for midsize organizations and improves security and uptime.

CloudSuite ensures your business will grow in its cloud ecosystem by continuously receiving technology enhancements without interruptions while replacing your legacy applications with industry-specific functionality. Infor’s preconfigured industry-specific modules help businesses meet any unique business needs. Infor’s business intelligence tools help businesses automate their business processes, which will contribute to eliminating any business constraints.

Odoo—Best for small startups


Pros

  • A variety of Odoo apps are available that integrate with many third-party apps
  • Odoo apps are easily customized
  • Odoo is not expensive when using a small number of Odoo apps

Cons

  • Odoo apps are not a plug-and-play solution, so IT knowledge is required
  • Expect a steep learning curve initially
  • Odoo’s history is not lengthy compared to other ERP vendors

Inventory: Provides users a method to automate RFQ (Request for Quote) while using checkpoints that increase supply chain efficiency. Stock movements can be easily tracked and traced using unique lots and serial numbers.

Accounting: The accounting application features bank synchronization that synchronizes back statements automatically, which allows users to manage and track recurring bills.

Manufacturing: Uses a work center control panel that does quality checks, in-process alerts, and time tracking by serial or lot numbers, which are recorded. This feature also supports barcoding using the lot or serial numbers.

Odoo offers a free plan for one app from their suite. Their full suite can be accessed via the Standard plan for $24.90 per user/per month when paid annually. Custom plans are available for $37.40 per user/per month when paid annually and feature a variety of add-ons and updates.

Odoo is an open-source ERP application, meaning a developer or business can use or modify the source code. Odoo has a user-friendly interface and is fully customizable. Odoo integrates all business functions and departments into a centralized system. Odoo’s integrating all the departments into a centralized repository streamlines processes, minimizes data entry errors, and saves time.

Odoo (on-demand open object) is ideal for small businesses starting out and only need a small set of Odoo applications and modules. The uniqueness of Odoo is that a business can create its own ERP solution that can begin with inventory and warehouse management modules. Odoo offers a free community edition that can be built for free on a personal server. Odoo also has an enterprise edition that works on a desktop or the cloud. The enterprise version includes accounting, manufacturing, project management, and inventory management modules.

Oracle NetSuite—Best for IT and Professional Services


Pros

  • Uses a simple and transparent pricing model
  • A fully functioning SaaS cloud ERP software solution
  • A strong consultant market is available for assistance

Cons

  • Hidden cost in license pricing
  • Some functionality for international businesses may not be present in an out-of-the-box solution
  • Higher than expected renewal cost

Built-in workflows: The workflows automate or streamline business tasks that automatically improve productivity, translating into more accurate financial management results.

Transportation and Logistics: Use Internet of Things (IoT) functionality that allows businesses to see where transport vehicles are located in real-time. This feature is also helpful for determining what products to order and what not to order.

Production Management: Using Production Lifecycle Management (PLM), this feature develops quotes and tracks the renewal of contracts.

Oracle NetSuite pricing is not available, however you can fill out a form to request a quote.

NetSuite is a commercial-ready ERP solution that uses native business intelligence and customization that is readily adaptable to meet unique business needs immediately. This all-in-one cloud business solution automates its main processes using real-time analytical results that give managers instant information on the organization’s operational and financial performance. The integrated suite of applications for accounting, order processing, inventory management, supply chain and warehouse operations, and production allows managers to manage the overall business closely.

NetSuite is a cloud-based business management software that manages every aspect of a company. NetSuite’s built-in customization tools, flexibility, and scalability help fast-growing businesses expand across divergent international markets. NetSuite ERP consolidates data and streamlined processes across an organization, unifies customer records, and uses AI to gather an all-encompassing view of business operations.

SAP Business One—Best for small to midsized businesses in industrial machinery and components


Pros

  • This ERP solution is suitable for small and midsize businesses
  • SAP Business One provides a robust reporting and analytical tools

Cons

  • Firefox is the only web browser supported
  • Some business applications like Human Resources are fully operational

CRM 360 View: Manage customers from the time they become a prospect to when they make a final purchase. This feature also uses historical purchase data to create advertisements for a specific audience.

Financial Management: Tracks customer and supply transaction data that provides real-time financial data to an organization.

Pricing for all SAP plans starts at $199 per user/per month, with the smallest plan requiring a minimum of four users, so $796 is the true monthly minimum. In addition, the cheapest plan requires a one-time implementation fee of $40,000. Larger plans lower that price to as little as $3,000 per user (101 minimum users are required for that rate).

Sap Business One is the preferred option for small to medium size businesses. SAP Business One can use a Mac or Windows desktop to access an on-premises or cloud-based platform. SAP Business One is available on an IOS or Android device. This ERP solution supports multi-currency transactions and multilingual capabilities for any international business. Overall, SAP Business One minimizes errors and duplicates and measures performance and efficiency in service management.

SAP Business One is an integrated ERP solution. SAP business one possesses all the essential business functions, such as inventory, finance, purchasing, sales, production, service, and project management. These essential functions provide real-time visibility to a company’s business data. This ERP solution provides a remote support platform to execute automatic health checks, schedule routine database maintenance operations, and automatically correct detected problems.

Acumatica—Best for small and midsized businesses


Pros

  • Acumatica is customizable using C# or .Net without proprietary knowledge
  • Using the HTML5 user interface, mobile devices and tablets can access the ERP solution

Cons

  • Estimating licensing cost varies greatly and can be difficult to determine
  • Heavy reliance on 3rd party applications outside the manufacturing and distribution vertical

Deferred Revenue Accounting: Users can calculate deferred revenue automatically that is pre-scheduled, and they can post deferred revenue automatically to multiple financial statements.

Currency Management: When foreign currency is used, this feature automatically calculates realized gains and losses from the transaction. The currency management feature can adjust for unrealized gains and losses and prepare and record auto-reversing entries for open documents when foreign currency is involved.

Tax Management: The tax management feature supports sales, tax withholdings, Value Added Tax (VAT) and reverse VAT taxes. The VAT does not apply to businesses in the U.S., but if a person lives or has a business in the United Kingdom (UK), they must be a VAT-registered business to sell goods or services in the U.S.

Online cost estimates place Acumatica between $2,000-3,000 per month. Acumatica doesn’t charge based on users, but on features. This makes for a different approach vs other competitors. A custom price quote is available on request.

Acumatica Cloud ERP offers businesses multiple deployment methods, such as on-premises, private cloud, or a SaaS solution. Acumatica is fully customizable and flexible to meet any company’s unique management needs. The mobility functionality enhances productivity and allows employees access to data using an all-inclusive user licensing model. Businesses can easily integrate with other systems using Acumatica Application Programming Interface (API) options.

Acumatica’s customer bill of rights guarantees an easy-to-understand fee structure, unlimited user access without purchasing user licenses, and a comprehensive security model that protects your application, data, and devices. The customer bill of rights continues to increase the customer satisfaction percentage.

Acumatica Cloud ERP, a business management solution, propels your business into the digital world with customer-friendly business practices and exceptional business functionality. Acumatica’s artificial intelligence and machine learning tools automate warehouse and shipping operations. Acumatica integrated workflows touch all of the business management applications that are also accessible on mobile devices and tablets.

Why is supply chain ERP important for businesses?

To grasp what supply chain ERP is, we first need to understand what enterprise resource planning is. In a nutshell, ERP systems pull data from different sources and consolidate it into a single platform so that users can make smarter business decisions. Most ERP systems are designed to cover all essential business departments, including finance, human resources, operations, manufacturing, sales, marketing, customer relationship management, and supply chains.

Originally, supply chain ERPs were a product offered within the umbrella of a more extensive ERP system, such as SAP and Oracle. However, as more and more businesses have realized the benefits of enterprise resource planning, stand-alone supply chain management ERP solutions were launched by companies looking to cater to the logistics and needs of the industry specifically. If you only need a supply chain ERP instead of other aspects of ERP, these stand-alone products offer a more tailored solution. 

What are the benefits of supply chain ERPs?

Businesses using an ERP with supply chain management to its fullest potential have advantages over organizations that don’t or only rely on using an ERP solution. Supply chain management focuses on relationships with internal entities and external vendors or customers. An ERP application’s primary focus is on transactions and tasks. An SCM embedded in an ERP application integrates business operations synchronized with supply and demand changes.

No matter your situation, a supply chain ERP can help your businesses increase operational efficiency and profit—provided that you choose the right supply chain ERP.

Still not convinced that you need enterprise resource planning for your supply chain? Here are some benefits you will realize with a properly implemented supply chain ERP.

Inventory management visibility

One of the main benefits of supply chain ERP is global visibility into inventory management, which allows users to see everything in one consolidated ERP system. Having all of this information in one place allows users to make informed business decisions based on comprehensive data.

Vendor performance monitoring

Supply chain ERPs also make keeping tabs on vendor performance and supplier collaboration easier. Not only are all supply chain partners consolidated into one place with a dedicated ERP, but the analytical feature allows users to drill deep into vendors’ individual performance to see what’s working and what’s not. A supply chain ERP can help identify when it’s time to move on from a certain supplier who’s no longer meeting the company’s needs.

Planning and procurement

Supply chain ERPs also help to streamline material requirements planning and procurement phases, whether you’re buying raw materials and processing them yourself or just acquiring the finished product from other manufacturers. By consolidating all this information into one ERP system, users can identify redundancies and roadblocks and work to eliminate them to improve supply chain efficiency (and profits).

Analytics, reporting, and forecasting

A good supply chain ERP will offer real-time analytics and reporting into the current state of your business, so you know exactly how much product you have in the pipeline. Alongside that, it should also offer a forecasting function that helps to predict future market fluctuations and decide how your business should prepare for them.

Reduced disruptions

One of the constant challenges in supply chain operations is the ongoing disruptions caused by major weather events, medical emergencies, political shifts, transportation issues, and other factors. By offering better visibility into every step of the supply chain and helping to forecast changes in supply and demand, supply chain ERPs can help reduce supply chain disruptions and promote maximum output.

Decreased costs and increased revenue

When combined together, all of these factors help your business reduce costs in the supply chain, whether that is directly lowering labor and transportation costs or helping to reduce bottlenecks and redundancies—all of which increases the company’s profit margin. Supply chain ERPs can also make a positive contribution directly to the bottom line by maximizing output, improving accounting, and more.

What are the key features of a supply chain ERP solution?

When looking for an ERP platform for your supply chain activities, there are multiple features you should be looking for. Some of the most important are:

Inventory management

Inventory management is at the core of supply chain management, which means that it should also be one of the core functions of any supply chain ERP. Any good supply chain ERP should afford total supply chain visibility at every step of the way, from demand planning to purchasing raw materials to producing the product itself to shipping it to its final destination. While stand-alone inventory management solutions are available, having it integrated into a full-service supply chain ERP will help to realize even more benefits.

Warehouse management

Warehouse management is another aspect of supply chain management that is crucial in any specialized ERP. The warehouse management function should let users quickly identify goods or materials at any location of a warehouse or distribution center, whether that is stock picking, shelving, shipping, or receiving. Similar to inventory management, there are stand-alone warehouse management solutions, but you’ll benefit more if it comes as part of a complete supply chain ERP package.

Forecasting and analytics

Forecasting is absolutely essential for supply chain management systems. Both under- and overestimating customer demand will have a huge impact on a business’s ability to turn a profit. In order to forecast as accurately as possible, the ERP solution needs to have robust analytics that not only offers insight into the current state of your supply chain but also generates predictions for the future, which can be used to make informed business decisions about your suppliers.

Data security

As with all ERP products, a supply chain ERP should protect your data and business information from both accidental breaches and deliberate attacks. Keeping your supply chain information proprietary is key to maintaining a competitive edge, which is why any ERP solutions that you use for your supply chain needs should offer plenty of data security features, such as multi-factor authentication, encryption, and more.

Automation

Artificial intelligence and machine learning are rapidly changing the ERP world with their promises of taking over mundane tasks, thereby freeing up employees to spend their time and effort on more meaningful business processes. Supply chain ERPs with effective automation can decrease the time spent on manual tasks and reduce the chances for human error as well, further improving efficiency.

Cloud-based platforms

While most ERPs, including supply chain ones, were originally designed as on-premises solutions, more and more businesses are looking for cloud-based options that allow them to use the software while on the go. If your employees need to be able to access your supply chain ERP from different devices, then look for an ERP with a cloud-based platform. Some ERPs even offer both on-premises and cloud-based solutions, giving you the best of both worlds.

Integrations

Every single business’s need for ERP integrations is unique, so it’s important to consider both your current and future software uses when shopping for a supply chain ERP. Carefully vet each of your top contenders—even if it’s a full-stack provider like Oracle or SAP—to make sure that either their in-house software solutions will meet your need and/or that they offer integrations for your most essential programs like warehouse management and carrier management.

Other factors to consider when Choosing a supply chain ERP

In addition to the features we outlined below, there are several other factors you need to consider when choosing a supply chain ERP. One of those is the size of your business, not just today but how it might scale in the future as well. You want to choose a supply chain ERP that can grow with your company, so you don’t have to repeat the whole process all over again and transfer to yet another supply chain ERP a few years down the line.

With this in mind, you might be tempted to go for the most full-featured, advanced supply ERP that’s currently available. However, if you’re a small business, these full-scale ERP solutions that were designed for global businesses might actually be too complicated for your needs (not to mention too big for your budget).

More complex does not necessarily equal better when it comes to choosing a supply chain ERP; you want to find a balance between meeting your current needs and being able to scale with your business in the immediate future.

Related to this issue is whether or not you want a stand-alone supply chain ERP, or if you want supply chain products within a larger full-stack ERP ecosystem like Oracle, SAP, Microsoft, and so on. Stand-alone supply chain ERPs are usually more tailored to the specific needs of supply chain logistics, but it often takes more work to integrate with other software products (and some integrations might not be available at all).

On the other hand, full-stack ERP systems are more complicated and expensive to set up, but once you get them going, you have all your ERP functions under one single platform that connects seamlessly, at least in theory.

However, these more general ERP solutions may not offer all the specific supply chain features you need, and they may include a bunch of other functions that aren’t relevant to your business. Before committing to a full-stack ERP solution, make sure you actually need all the features you will be paying for.

Getting executives on board for supply chain ERPs

Getting company stakeholders, especially the C-suite, on board with the idea of a supply chain ERP is absolutely essential for you to become an SCM system success story. The CEO will want to take a look at the big picture, so be prepared to explain how a supply chain ERP can help you decrease costs, improve profits, set you apart from competitors, and improve customer satisfaction. Keep in mind that if you are advocating for a full-stack ERP solution that includes supply chain as one of many functions, you’ll need to make the case for the entire ERP system, not just the supply aspect.

Your CIO or CTO will want to know about the specifics of deploying and integrating the software product. Be prepared to discuss your chosen ERP’s security features as well as the pros and cons of either an on-premises, cloud-based, or hybrid solution. You should also be ready to discuss how the supply chain management ERP will either replace your existing solutions or integrate with your current software products.

Finally, your CFO will want to talk about the money, so come prepared with facts and figures about not just the costs of the supply chain ERP itself but how much money you forecast it will save you in the long run. Be realistic with your figures and be ready to explain how you got the estimates that you did.

Finding the best supply chain logistics ERP for your business

There are a lot of benefits in using an ERP, and there are even more benefits in using an industry-specific supply chain ERP or a TMS. If you want more options, check out our ERP Software Buyer’s Guide.

Featured Partners

1 Visibility ERP

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Visibility ERP is a fully integrated and modern ERP solution designed to meet the unique needs of complex manufacturers. It provides manufacturers with visibility into their business operations and strategic advantages across the entire enterprise. Business integration, comprehensive functionality, collaborative capabilities, global features and compliance-based controls enable effective decision-making, increased productivity, and a system infrastructure optimized for business growth.

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2 AcctVantage ERP

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As a manufacturer or distributor, you'll get from question to answer within a few clicks so anyone on your team can track down problems before they occur. Manage your entire business from managing inventory to warehouse operations to customer service (and everything in between) in one easy-to-use platform. Know what is happening across all aspects of your business at all times. Drive growth like never before while delivering exceptional customer experiences with AcctVantage ERP.

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3 Wrike

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Wrike is an enterprise resource planning software trusted by 20,000+ companies worldwide. Improve your enterprise resource planning using resource management and allocation, performance reports, Gantt charts, time tracking, workload overviews, and company-wide visibility all in one place. Integrate Wrike with 400+ applications to accelerate your everyday processes. Customize workflows and reduce the need for emails, meetings, status updates, and more. Work smarter, not harder with Wrike.

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