Supply Chain Management: The Power of the Cloud

On the pages of this blog, I’ve previously called the cloud a revolution in SCM — and I meant what I said. The cloud is absolutely here to stay.

I mentioned how cloud supply chain management solutions give you all the features of on-premises solutions, except they’re hosted remotely. And that’s true too.

And I outlined the benefits of cloud SCM solutions. You can go live quickly, avoid sinking thousands of dollars into software licenses, and rest assured that you’ll always be on the latest version of the software.

But I still haven’t given you the whole story. What’s the real power of the cloud?

Demand Solutions -- Cloud Supply Chain ManagementFirst, a Look at the Alternatives
XYZ Corporation is a small manufacturer that’s thinking big. They’ve only been in business for a few months, but their line of mobile device accessories is red hot. Orders are coming in from around the globe. At first, XYZ’s founder, John Smith, keeps track of the company’s operations on a series of spreadsheets, but he knows that’s not a sustainable solution. So he asks his finance guy, Roy Green, to look into software solutions that can help XYZ, y’know, track and manage everything that’s going on companywide. And it needs to go live ASAP.

Green does his due diligence and comes back with a list of candidates that deliver a range of SCM functionality. Forecast management? Sure. Requirements planning? You bet. Sales and operations planning? No problem.

Smith sits up and listens with a gleam in his eye. “Great. What will it take to get up and running?”

Green winces. “Well, before we can even talk software, we’re going to have to look at hardware. I’m going to get our IT guys into a meeting with a couple of outside consultants, and they’ll talk about what it’s going to take to choose the hardware, get it installed, and make sure it’s ready for a software implementation. Of course, with our IT staff already stretched pretty thin, we’re going to have to keep those consultants on to do the actual work, and that could get pricey. But when all’s said and done, we could have implementation wrapped up in four or five months.”

Smith looks stunned. “Four or five months? If we run on spreadsheets for another four or five months, our lead in the market will be gone. Is that all you’ve got?”

Cloud Supply Chain Management in Action
“Is this all I’ve got?” Green repeats. “Well, John, I know how you hate to be disappointed, so I did research one other option: the cloud.”

Smith rolls his eyes. “Tech buzzword, right?”

“Hardly,” Green counters. And then he goes on to explain how cloud-based SCM solutions can go live in days with no hassle and no burden on the IT staff.

“Can’t argue with that,” Smith responds. “Go with it.”

Green subscribes to the cloud SCM solution he's been reading about online.

The next week, XYZ goes live on its new cloud SCM platform — which is an especially good thing, because the next day, the company acquires a smaller competitor. Green not only gives current XYZ staff access to the solution through a web link, but also works with the vendor to upload the newly acquired company’s data into the system. Voila. A single view of the combined enterprise.

Weeks later, Green realizes that one of XYZ’s raw materials processes isn’t working exactly the way he wants, so he calls the vendor. “Can you guys make a few changes for us, or is that a stupid question?”

“Actually,” the vendor responds, “you can do that yourself. I can talk you through it right now.”

“Hold on — let me conference in my web guy,” says Green, who then listens as his web guy learns how to make all the customizations the company will ever need with just a few clicks.

After two more months of relentless growth, Green realizes it’s time to run reports for an important supplier review meeting. “Time to chug some black coffee,” he says to himself as he pictures a late night filled with Crystal Reports and bad Chinese takeout.

But then he remembers: All the detailed vendor performance data he needs is built right into XYZ’s cloud-based SCM solution. He logs on and begins pointing and clicking to generate the graphs and charts he knows will make an impact at the meeting. Then ...

Get the Rest of the Story
... I could go on with the story. But I’d rather you live it yourself. It's possible. The Demand Solutions platform, as you might have guessed, is available as a cloud-based solution. Call 800-886-3737 to find out what it can do for your business.