Four Essential Supply Chain Management Tools

Every day, global supply chains increase in size and complexity as customer demands endlessly rise. To meet these demands, shippers need the right supply chain management tools with the flexibility to grow and scale as needed. The right supply chain management tools help not only to enable shippers to provide better customer service and on-time deliveries but also to remain competitive with everyone else in the market.

From generating the initial quote to delivering the products to the customer, intelligent supply chain management tools enable organizations of all types to streamline and automate various functions. With setup, guidance, and support from supply chain management experts, these tools can help improve processes, reduce costs, and save time. As supply chain complexity grows, supply chain managers need to leverage the various tools at hand.

Here’s our list of the four essential supply chain management tools you need to provide the best service at the best price.

Shipping Management

One of the most challenging elements of supply chain management is keeping track of every order. As large supply chains increase in complexity, particularly for those on a global scale, the difficulty of tracking shipments and updating customers on the status of their orders at any time also increases. The elements of a comprehensive shipping management platform are varied, ranging from RFID inventory management tools to minimize errors in documentation to shipping status tools that provide delivery updates to scheduling and planning tools for streamlining operations and improving customer service.

Every business is different, so there’s no one-size-fits-all shipping management platform that everyone can rely on to suit their needs. The most effective shipping management solutions usually call for a bespoke solution customized to the precise shipping needs of any given organization. This concept is even more apparent in specialized industries, such as the chemical sector. Solutions like CLX Managed Transportation solve these challenges through a robust suite of a la carte services chemical shippers can customize and adjust on demand, according to their requirements. No matter which services a chemical shipper needs the most, the overall intent of custom shipping management tools remains the same: lower costs, improve service, and fill gaps in expertise.

Telematics-Based Tracking

Telematics technology, assisted by innovations in IoT and AI, dramatically increases the quantity of data logistics companies have access to. A business can plug directly into their fleet vehicles, allowing them access to truck health, GPS information, freight temperature sensors, and more details related to the location of a shipment or the environmental conditions it may be in. This information allows businesses to monitor and manage their supply chain in real time, uncover valuable insights, and develop new algorithms to help optimize route planning and fleet management.

Tools in this category include CLX TMS powered by e2open, which brings plug-and-play speed, efficiency, and supply chain visibility to chemical shippers worldwide through a cohesive transportation ecosystem. Using CLX TMS, chemical shippers get a state-of-the-art telematics-based tracking solution along with improved capabilities for automation, planning, execution, invoicing, cost and service-level optimizations, visibility, metrics, and analytics, all in one.

Procurement, Benchmarking, and Bidding

The proper procurement, benchmarking, and bidding tools are critical to minimizing spending and increasing margins across a global supply chain. Procurement tools enable businesses to manage and automate purchase orders from suppliers and quickly settle accounts. Freight benchmarking is vital to understanding rate competitiveness and evaluating carriers, and bidding tools help shippers conduct bids quickly and efficiently, with confidence that they’ve made the best choices possible in the moment.

Some platforms are even specialized by industry, such as CLX LaneLogix, a global supply chain management tool for procurement, benchmarking, and bids, specifically for the chemical sector. CLX LaneLogix includes interactive rate benchmarking, service-level benchmarking, procurement event strategy capabilities, negotiation tools, and e-bidding.

Demand Forecasting Tools

The order process requires shippers to keep track of multiple functions simultaneously. Many supply chain management software products offer order processing tools engineered to keep track of all your operations on a unified dashboard. Some can even integrate with sales channels to help businesses monitor and manage their inventory and orders all in one place. There are various supply chain management tools on the market to help businesses monitor demand and forecast orders and inventory, but few of them are unique to a specific industry, which can cause problems with HAZMAT freight, chemicals, and other sensitive products.

In these cases, specialized platforms such as CLX Gravity are usually preferred, enabling chemical manufacturers to incorporate custom data sources that draw from benchmarking and freight payment sources, e2open, and other external systems. By combining all of these inputs in the right ways, it becomes faster and easier for chemical shippers to build more accurate transportation models, develop better forecasts, and prepare for any challenge.

Start Building a Next-Level Supply Chain

It might be tempting to simply start searching online for each of these tools, find the lowest-priced options, and try them out – but without the right strategy, planning, implementation, execution, and ongoing optimization, the path to a return on your investment, let alone significant revenue increases, will be daunting, to say the least.

Work with an experienced transportation and supply chain management partner like CLX Logistics to ensure you’re getting the best products for your situation and that they’re set up to deliver the benefits and improvements you expect. Contact us today and let our experts guide you towards the right supply chain management tools for your business.

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