When was the last time you considered renovating your supply chain technology? If you are a larger business with (somewhat) deep pockets, the most transformative capabilities are easily within reach. You can bolt on a single-purpose solution to your ERP or rip and replace part (or all) of it with fresh new tech. Typically, you’ll see an ROI in 12 to 18 months, and you’ll maintain an edge against your competitors.
Conversely, if you are under $50 million in revenue, there are many freemium offerings that can get the basic job done – or you can just rely on Excel. But there is a vast grey area for close to 2 million companies with $50 to $250mm in revenue who require advanced planning capabilities to grow and remain competitive. Capabilities such as automation, machine learning and real-time planning (and collaboration). Without them, you are David without a slingshot.
Why is automation, machine learning and real-time planning so important? Consider these facts from a recent Software Advice survey of 350 SMB inventory and logistics professionals:
- 46% of respondents have had at least one vendor drop them for reasons specifically related to being a smaller business. Another 23% are expected to be dropped in the near future.
- 59% of respondents say it’s taking somewhat longer to procure inventory than in 2021.
- 35% of SMB respondents are paying 20% more for shipping now than 12 months ago. And half of the SMBs say they’ve had to raise prices to offset increased supply chain costs.
These ‘events’ read like a continuation of 2020, and in large part they are. But some are new – such as the increase in suppliers unceremoniously dropping customers. Suppliers faced with raw material and labor shortages are often reliant on large companies for the greatest share of gross orders. They must meet the service levels set by these “big players” to maintain the relationship. Something needs to give. And that something is smaller, though higher, margin customers (like you).
Now, you may not be in a position to “out order” Ace Hardware on a gross item basis, but you can be more efficient in placing your orders. Improving supply chain visibility could reduce the net number of orders placed, making you an easier customer to work with. This is where machine learning/automation comes into play. Applying this technology will let you “see around corners” to better sense what you will actually need. As a result, you can become the “model” customer that they want to keep.
And when you better predict demand, there is less need for rush shipments. Fuel is not getting less expensive any time soon. The 20% increase in shipping costs referenced above must be paid by you (less margin) or the customer (potentially fewer customers in the long run). You can minimize your risk by becoming more proactive.
Arkieva understands this middle ground. We’ve spoken to many potential customers over the last 30 years who are just a bit too small for our enterprise offering but need many of the features it provides. Arkieva+ is your answer. Arkieva+ is a simple-to-implement SaaS solution that can get you up and running in hours. Using our standard models, you can predict demand, inventory, and supply with minimal effort. The product is scaled so you only buy the capabilities you need. You can get a 14-day complimentary trial of Arkieva+. Give it a try and let us know what you think.