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How Can SAP Software Help Distributors Manage Global Supply Chains?

October 9, 2013BY AMS Editor

SAP software and other technology solutions can help distributors as they seek to adapt to changes resulting from increasingly large and complex supply chains.

According to a post on the Forbes website, supply chain executives are becoming more concerned as their supply chains become increasingly global. More than half of respondents to a recent Deloitte survey said disruptions are happening more often, and they are becoming costly. At the same time, though, just 36 percent use predictive modeling and only 29 percent “use risk-sensing data, worst-case scenario modeling or business simulation” to proactively manage risk.

It is understandable that today’s supply chain executives are feeling unsettled as more and more of their supply chain network becomes virtualized. For many, it is a new and uncomfortable feeling to manage something that they cannot see.

Unfortunately, the changes in the market — including globalization, customer-specified products and same-day delivery requirements — have forced most executives to employ a greater number of supply chain partners. Of course, the greater the number of moving parts, the greater the potential there is for something to break.

The technologies highlighted in the article include product lifecycle management, real-time inventory and the cloud. All of these are valuable technologies, but what is most important is ensuring that companies invest in current solutions — such as SAP software — that have been and continue to be developed to address the new set of challenges posed by the distributed supply chain.

Implementing these new solutions is not always easy, especially if it requires a wholesale change in a company’s underlying ERP system. In some cases, it may mean a change out of certain point solutions. However, this is often workable in circumstances where point solutions are tied together by various application programming interfaces (APIs).

For instance, the inherent expectation with Software as a Service (SaaS) applications is that there will be opportunities to tie into other business applications. That falls in line with SAP’s strategy for its cloud portfolio. In addition to offering the overall suite, individual components can be tied together if necessary.

As the supply chain continues to expand its reach and become more complex, it’s crucial for companies to adopt technology solutions that can help them keep a grip on their operations.

Source: Forbes, September 2013

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