Supply Chain Management Software (SCM) Information
Supply chain management (SCM) software is used to track and monitor products and services. Organizations typically focus their selection of supply chain management software on applications that are able to mirror the architecture and functionality of critical supply operations presently in place. Less frequently, companies select supply chain software to assist them with modeling or improving business processes. Most of the processes that occur in a supply chain system are called events. Events include anything from the internal movement of inventory from a supply line to the surplus, or scrapping of defective/perishable stock.
Types of Supply Chain Management Software (SCM)
There are many types of supply chain management software or SCM software. Supply chain event management software is designed to capture data about events and produce information in the form of reports so supply managers can evaluate their inventory operations. Inventory management software must also address the various functional areas of supply chain automation such as lot and serial number tracking, binning, blanket supply, annual demand forecasting, batch picking, and order and returns processing. Optical character recognition (OCR) is an important feature of supply chain management software or SCM software. Inventory tracking involves the scanning of stock with a barcode reader during the different supply chain management events. For example, barcodes and wands are used to scan inventory when it arrives at its destination and is inventoried, again during binning, and oftentimes re-recorded during cycle counts. These barcode readers interface with the software and read a variety of different barcode formats, including UPC, Code 39, Code 128, and Interleaved 2 of 5. Many types of barcode label software are available.
Supply chain management software or SCM software may also include radio frequency identification (RFID) features. Inventory personnel attach RFID tags to large products or expensive assets, or in cases where some other type of inventory identification is impractical (e.g., harsh environments). RFID devices are beneficial in that they can dynamically store and transfer data, and because information may be obtained without necessarily requiring proximity to tagged supply. Disadvantages of RFID devices include compatibility with current supply chain management software. The cost of SCM software is an additional consideration. Prices of supply chain management software can range from thousands to millions of dollars, with applications predominantly in manufacturing, supply, and transportation.