Blog: Supply Chain Complexity Demands More than a One-Size-Fits-All ERP

Supply Chain Complexity Demands More than a One-Size-Fits-All ERP

Why companies should consider the benefits of a dedicated and easily integrated supply chain design and planning platform to drive better business outcomes

The supply chain crisis may be in the rearview mirror, but one key question remains on top of supply chain decision-makers’ minds: What is the optimal way to respond to growing supply chain complexity? According to Gartner, some appear to be seeking the answer in upgrading or replacing their legacy enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems as investments in cloud ERP are on the rise. Unfortunately, if you want supply chain design or planning, an ERP is unlikely to provide all you need.

While modernized ERP systems promise to bring a wide range of capabilities that can be integrated across the value chain, they come with limitations that supply chain managers should be aware of. Gartner has estimated that 55% to 75% of all ERP-related initiatives fail to meet expectations. 

Disappointing results are not the only reason you could benefit from looking beyond ERP technology when crafting the way forward. Modern ERP systems generally lack flexibility, customization, and integration options to address complex supply chains’ unique and evolving risk factors. 

Let’s explore some potential ERP shortcomings and what you can benefit from widening the scope of your search, from finding the right ERP vendor to finding the best supply chain platform for your needs. 

Inherent Rigidity

The first ERP systems that emerged in the 1990s focused primarily on back-office functions. These days, they combine all facets of an operation, including product planning, development, manufacturing, sales, and marketing functions. This comprehensiveness is a large part of the software’s appeal — and drawback. A modern ERP system tends to bundle a set of standardized capabilities into a one-size-fits-all offering. While it may streamline processes for some, it can be limiting for organizations with unique requirements. 

The rigid nature of these systems can force you to adapt your operations to the software instead of the other way around, leaving you poorly equipped to foresee and respond to rapid supply chain changes that shape the current business environment. The patchwork of solutions that have cropped up in response to these shortcomings may be able to solve your issues temporarily, but the price tag is high, and their complexity can be challenging to manage. 

What you need: GAINS’ demand, supply, and inventory optimization platform is designed to be both flexible and adaptable, making it the ideal solution for supply chain managers facing rapidly changing market conditions. With features such as dynamic hierarchies, scenario planning, and automated replenishment, GAINS empowers supply chain managers to make profit-driven decisions confidently. And it integrates with your current ERP to complement your investment.

Inadequate Collaboration, Integration & Visibility

Modern supply chains are built on collaboration and seamless integration between various stakeholders. Warehouse management systems, transportation management systems, and demand planning tools must operate in sync, or inefficiencies and errors will multiply quickly. 

For instance, effective management of multi-echelon supply chain networks is hardly possible without end-to-end visibility and the simultaneous treatment of each distribution level. 

A one-size-fits-all ERP system comes up short, struggling to provide the granularity, visibility, and integration needed to make informed decisions based on variables such as changing demand patterns and many other data points in your network.  Siloed information, in turn, inevitably leads to poor communication and disjointed operations, ultimately hurting efficiency. 

What you need: GAINS offers preconfigured integration capabilities, enabling organizations to connect the supply chain platform seamlessly with existing ERP systems and other data sources. This allows for a smooth data flow between systems and reduces the time and effort needed for implementation.

The GAINS platform also links high-level strategic plans with day-to-day operations. This Sales & Operations Planning (S&OP) approach helps balance demand and supply while integrating financial and operations planning. By incorporating inventory optimization, replenishment, as well as, production optimization, and demand planning into the process, GAINS offers a more advanced and integrated S&OP solution that strengthens your company’s competitive advantage.

Collaborative planning is built in, allowing teams across the organization to work together using the same real-time data. 

Limited Flexibility

Your business faces its own set of supply chain challenges that you should be able to address with the help of solutions fine-tuned to your needs. While the “generic approach” may work in some instances, the lack of customization options is a common issue affecting one-size-fits-all ERP systems. A modern ERP is, by design, made to cover a broad range of business processes across different industries, leaving little room for tailored requests. 

What you need: GAINS provides a modular platform enabling you to choose and implement only the most relevant components to your business needs. This modularity allows for a tailored approach to supply chain planning and design, addressing the individual challenges of each organization. 

In addition, the GAINS platform is designed to grow with the business, supporting the increasing complexity and scale of supply chain operations as the company expands. This scalability ensures the GAINS platform remains relevant and valuable, even as the organization’s needs evolve.

Insufficient Analytics and Decision Support

As supply chains become more data-driven, supply chain managers require advanced analytics and decision-support capabilities to optimize their operations. A one-size-fits-all ERP system may not offer the level of sophistication needed for these advanced analytics, making it difficult for you to identify trends, uncover opportunities for improvement, and make data-driven decisions.

What you need: GAINS leverages advanced analytics, machine learning (ML), and artificial intelligence (AI) to continuously learn from data and identify patterns that can be used to make better supply chain decisions. This allows companies to adapt and optimize their supply chain processes in real time, resulting in improved flexibility and responsiveness.

Summing up

Ultimately, you don’t have to choose between an ERP and best-of-breed solutions. Companies can benefit from utilizing a dedicated supply chain platform designed to integrate data from their current ERP system with a new data model. This pre-built integration facilitates efficient and successful project execution, often outperforming a full migration from an older ERP system to a modern one. 

By integrating your ERP system with GAINS, including artificial intelligence, machine learning, and process automation, your business will thrive amid increasing supply chain complexity. 

Contact us at GAINS to start a conversation. We are here to help. 

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