Blog: Why Cloud-Native Supply Chain Solutions are the Best Bet for Supply Chain Planning

cloud supply chain cloud-native

As the world continually speeds towards a digital future, supply chain pros continue to face post-pandemic uncertainty. However, despite the last few years, many companies still use spreadsheets for supply chain management.

According to a study conducted by Supply Chain Insights Founder Lora Cecere, “In the early stages of the pandemic, I did some qualitative interviews and found that, of those I spoke to, 94% of companies had moved to managing their operations in Microsoft Excel.”  

We have previously discussedThe Pros and Cons of Using Spreadsheets for Supply Chain Planningand have been clear on our stance that spreadsheets are not ideal for supply chain planning due to the following:

  • Limited scalability:  spreadsheets can become cumbersome and slow when dealing with large datasets or complex calculations that a modern supply chain requires.
  • Error-prone:  More than 90% of spreadsheets contain errors. Mistakes can quickly occur due to human error, such as incorrectly copying/pasting data or formulas.
  • Time-consuming:  Data entry may require manual efforts to key in data or import data from external sources, which can be time-consuming and prone to errors.
  • Lack of integration: Spreadsheets are standalone tools that do not integrate well with other software systems. If you are using different data management tools, it may be challenging to integrate them with an Excel spreadsheet.

Cloud Computing: Fueling the Digital Era

The cloud has irrevocably altered the digital landscape. It’s democratized access to computing resources, fostering a new wave of innovation and growth. As we move further into the digital age, the cloud continues to offer endless possibilities and shape the future of technology.

The cloud-native approach to software development has emerged as an essential element in redefining supply chain planning. Cloud-based software offers unprecedented collaboration, real-time visibility, and unparalleled scalability. Cloud-native software is now the go-to solution for supply chain professionals across industries for many reasons, but…

What Does Cloud Native Mean?

“Cloud-native” is a term used to describe applications that are designed specifically for cloud computing architectures. They are built and deployed in a manner that fully embraces the advantages of the cloud computing model.

GAINS leverages the cloud-native model as it accelerates innovation, offers flexible resources, and leverages economies of scale.

Cloud-native applications are designed to make the most of continuous delivery and integration, enabling frequent updates and improvements to the software without burdening internal IT resources. Highly scalable, they can handle increased demand by automatically provisioning and de-provisioning resources to match your needs. 

Simply put, cloud computing is akin to a utility service in the world of Information Technology. Offering a variety of computing resources- servers, storage, databases, networking, software, analytics, and even artificial intelligence—provided over the internet, popularly referred to as “the cloud.” 

How Does Cloud Computing Work?

In essence, it’s reminiscent of how we consume electricity. Instead of setting up and managing your own data centers (a costly and complex undertaking), companies can rent resources from a cloud service provider. The beauty of cloud computing lies in its scalability. Cloud service providers can deliver identical services to a multitude of customers, reaping the benefits of massive economies of scale.

Cloud computing is the unsung hero behind countless services we use daily; services like Gmail or the cloud backup feature on your smartphone are all powered by cloud computing. Large enterprises use cloud computing to host their data and run their applications. Netflix, for instance, relies heavily on cloud computing to operate its streaming services. 

Over time, cloud computing has become the go-to choice for consumer and business applications. For years, software vendors have been shifting their products to cloud services, transitioning from standalone to subscription-based models. 

Cloud-Native Applications: The Advantages

Collaboration in the Cloud

The ability to seamlessly collaborate with cross-departmental stakeholders, regardless of physical location, has made cloud-native software a compelling choice for supply chain planning. Thanks to real-time data sharing, exchange of insights, and collaborative decision-making, the cloud-native approach facilitates remote working and significantly enhances supply chain-wide cross-functional collaboration.

Access Anywhere, Anytime

Your supply chain operations are always a click away in the cloud-native world. This accessibility ensures that crucial data and insights are available to stakeholders at the right time, aiding informed and proactive decision-making.

Version Control

With version control, cloud-native software provides an avenue for streamlined communication. It allows professionals to work on the most current data, eliminating duplications and preventing any inadvertent changes to the final versions.

Beyond these impressive features, cloud-native software offers an array of advantages that elevate it to the top of the pack for supply chain planning:

  1. Real-Time Data Visibility and Analysis: GAINS offers real-time monitoring and analysis with advanced analytics and machine learning capabilities. Providing comprehensive oversight into key performance indicators (KPIs), allowing for actionable insights and effective risk management.
  2. Scalability and Flexibility: The ability to scale the platform up or down based on changing business requirements ensures your supply chain plan and design remain agile and responsive to market dynamics.
  3. Cost Efficiency and Time Savings: GAINS solution eliminates the need for upfront investments in hardware and infrastructure, freeing up resources to focus on core competencies and driving cost savings.
  4. Enhanced Innovation and Efficiency: The cloud-native approach allows GAINS to accelerate development and facilitates the incorporation of advanced technologies like AI and machine learning into our supply chain solution, enhancing efficiency.
  5. Automatic Updates: cloud software is regularly updated automatically, without the need for user involvement. These updates include bug fixes, security patches, and feature enhancements, ensuring that you always have the software’s most recent, secure, and functional version.

GAINS’ Cloud-Native Software in Action

To truly appreciate the prowess of GAINS cloud-native software in supply chain planning, let’s look at a few use cases:

  1. Demand Planning and Forecasting: With cloud-native software, supply chain professionals can improve accuracy and clarity in demand forecasts, leading to better inventory management and reduced stockouts.
  2. Speed to Solution: facilitated by the increased computational power provided by the cloud, which enables faster processing of data, quick execution of supply chain planning tasks, and timely response to changes or challenges.
  3. Inventory Optimization: Real-time visibility into inventory levels coupled with advanced analytics helps optimize safety stock levels, reduce excess inventory, and enhance order fulfillment.
  4. Supplier Collaboration and Risk Management: The cloud enables a collaborative approach to optimization with suppliers, and enables real-time communication, information sharing, and performance monitoring. Providing access to data to both external and internal stakeholders aids in the early identification and mitigation of supply chain risks.
  5. Sales and Operations Planning (S&OP): An integrated platform for cross-functional collaboration orchestrated digitally,  combining data from sales, marketing, finance, and operations, leading to improved operational efficiency and profitability.

In the ever-evolving world of supply chain management, GAINS helps customers keep their promises by democratizing supply chain planning, helping businesses large and small “Move Forward Faster” with greater agility, resilience, confidence, and sustainability. Our AI-driven cloud platform delivers continuous cost and profit optimization via machine learning, proven algorithms, and actionable analytics for global manufacturing, distribution, retail, and service parts/maintenance operations. Adopting cloud-native software like GAINS is no longer a luxury; it’s a necessity. Embracing cloud-native solutions allows businesses to stay ahead of the curve, ready to tackle any challenges that come their way. The future of supply chain planning is here, and it’s in the cloud.

See the benefits of GAINS for yourself – request a demo today.

Read more:

How to Achieve Profitable Inventory Management

What Are the Biggest Obstacles to Supply Chain Optimization This Year?

The Inventory Challenges No Organization Should Have to Face