How to Get the Most from Your Supply Chain: SCM Reaches the Mid-market

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  • Published: January 22 2008
Today’s midsized distributors can benefit from their software systems in ways that were impossible a few years ago. By layering advanced, affordable supply chain management (SCM) and electronic data interchange (EDI) functionality on top of their existing enterprise resource planning (ERP) system, they can profit from improved productivity and lower labor costs. Find out how.

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Supply Chain Challenges for the Mid-market

Forklifts are for moving inventory, not for taking out existing systems. In the past, midsize distributors had various advantages that helped them compete against larger competitors. They were able to adjust business practices on the fly, personalize service for customers, and tailor their product offerings—all because they had fewer locations, flat organization charts, and manageable order sizes. 

However, meeting the mandates of an increasingly complex and global supply chain is a baseline of doing business no matter what the organization's size. Small and medium companies (those with annual revenues of $250 million [USD] and below) must now look to other differentiators and process improvements to stay ahead of encroaching competitors and to retain their customers. Mid-market companies face the same issues as large companies, but they do not have the same resources to implement costly, high-end, integrated suites to answer the advance of large distributors on their territory. To survive, mid-market organizations should look for solutions that leverage their existing investments in enterprise resource planning (ERP) infrastructures, and augment those capabilities with enterprise-class functionality that integrates the back office to the warehouse. 

ERP has matured for mid-market companies. Size, cost, complexity, and necessary manpower were once prohibitive, and midsized companies carved out their markets without the help of mammoth ERP applications. As with most technologies, time, adoption curve, and critical mass have dramatically cut the cost and increased the value of ERP solutions. These solutions are now better, cheaper, less complex, and more feature-rich than ever before. Big companies were the unwitting trailblazers in proving the technologies and improving capabilities while helping drive down the cost. Now, mid-market companies can take advantage of the investments and lessons learned of their larger competitors—by leveraging integrated electronic data interchange (EDI) and advanced supply chain execution capabilities alongside an existing ERP system, organizations can realize the benefits of an enterprise-class supply chain platform to meet the needs of both complex and simple supply chains.

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