Guest Post

9 Essential Tools Every Supply Chain Manager Needs in 2021

June 17, 2021

This guest post was written by Doug Walker. 

Supply chain management is a tricky riddle to solve. Without it, your business is predestined to go south. With it, you can certainly thrive but will be left with no room to err. The supply chain market is a downright rat race these days, and if you’re not the best in the lineup, you’re not playing your cards right.

For the record, it was Amazon who first imposed these heavy requirements that make the supply chain market as competitive on the inside as it is on the outside.

So, to deal with the conundrum, a swath of businesses required supply chain management software that works seamlessly as it takes several tasks off your shoulders.

It offers specialized tools that allow users to cut down on errors and, therefore, financial losses—all the while optimizing every angle of the supply chain.

Pretty neat, right?

What’s even better about supply chain software is that anyone can use it, and when used right, it will give you the upper hand on the market and help you provide excellent customer value management.

To help you determine which assets are right for you, here are the top eight supply management tools of 2021.

1. Order Processing

Order processing is a crucial piece of every business puzzle, and therefore it requires the perfect tools to optimize it. Order processing tools will support a variety of tasks and functions, like order completion, billing, management, and order to cash.

All processes managed by these tools use technology that captures order data automatically and simultaneously reduces the odds of errors.

2. Shipping Notifications and Updates

You can’t go anywhere without supply chain tools for shipping alerts. Thanks to these tools, you will create real-time notifications and provide all crucial information on shipping and orders. Bigger brands manage voluminous orders, so the shipping process is broader. Consequently, they need automated software to manage different cargo shipments and ensure customers worldwide get their products on time.

As shipping is particularly subject to errors of all sorts, automating the process will nullify that risk and leave your customers in the know.

3. Lean Inventory

Lean production was a sales methodology first introduced by Toyota in the 1940s. It is the concept of businesses providing as many products as there are orders, all calculated and based on the customers’ ongoing demands. This way, businesses can avoid item overproduction and repurpose this money elsewhere.

The goal of lean inventory tools is to skyrocket production planning by limiting warehouse premises and inventory spending.

4. Warehouse Management

Warehouse management tools should always be part of your business boosters’ repertoire. Based on the tool at hand, you will manage all day-to-day tasks and operations across all warehouses. The tools can be customized and personalized to your business needs. They will help you tackle a variety of otherwise intertwined logistics associated with product tracking and receiving, route planning, cycle counting, and others.

Finally, warehouse management tools will facilitate the bundling process and handle product kitting as well.

5. Supplier Management

If you have quality procurement in mind, supplier management tools are what you need. These can give you a clearer picture of the timeline of a business partnership and the way it impacts the supply chain. By estimating the value of your partners, collaborators, and contributors, you can adjust to both your supplier relationships and/or change them.

6. Analytics and Reports

From analyzing consumer demand to estimating suppliers’ performance, analytics and report tools are a must for your supply chain. With analysis tools, you’ll be able to examine your inventory, the viability of your brand, and its competitiveness in the market.

Reports tools can generate insights into product popularity while enabling you to process the orders and discover possible failures or malfunctions. If there is even a speck of delay in your supply chain, these tools will detect it at once.

7. Security Features

One of the most critical aspects of your supply chain is its security, and automation can help protect you from data theft, identity theft, or data exposure. These tools help ensure none of it happens—ever. With machine learning services in charge of your supply chain security, you can rest assured your business is safe, intact, and out of fraudulent behavior’s reach.

These smart security tools take the extra step in protecting your data and offer restricted dashboard reporting. They prevent third parties from interfering and grant limited access to certain files.

8. Transportation and Logistics

To get your transportation and logistics in order, you can rely on automated tools. Such tools can help you trace inventory easily, plan multi-stop routes, maximize shipment space, and orchestrate less than load (LTL) shipping.

These features will help you tackle issues as they occur, and monitor the speed and efficiency of your inventory transportation.

9. Compliance and Auditing

Your greatest judge is your consumer. To keep your consumers happy, prioritize quality, safety, and ethics. Fortunately, compliance tools allow you to successfully manage all environmental and ethical predicaments imposed.

In addition, auditing tools allow your business to remain transparent before its consumers, especially in the case of a dispute. These tools enable the collection and storage of data significant to your privacy provisions. 

A Final Say

Regardless of the automation tools you ultimately decide on, they will be most efficient when used together. Combined, they maximize the efficiency of your overall supply chain and help you scale your business effortlessly. 

Before opting for any supply chain solution, finding the perfect logistics and software service is of the utmost importance, so make sure to do your own research and find the right tools for your business.


Doug Walker is an Online Marketing Expert that has built successful eCommerce businesses from the ground up, worked with enterprise-level organizations such as Dell, Intuit, Coldwater Creek, and FindLaw/Thomson Reuters, and consulted for small law firms and businesses. Over the past 13 years, Doug has taken a customized, proprietary approach to digital marketing and has written several articles to help maximize revenue and dominate online niches.

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