Keys to updating your technology stack
Amazon’s customers expect two day shipping. McDonald’s customers expect food to taste the same and have the same quality across the country and around the world. Toyota expects its suppliers to be able to deliver the right amount of parts inventory at the right time to power their lean manufacturing process. Logistics, although bordering on the buzzword bingo side of business terms, is key to today’s connected world.
What is Logistics?
Logistics is the management of the flow of things between the point of origin and the point of consumption in order to meet requirements of customers.
The speed of processing and delivering orders is critical for meeting the expectations of today’s online consumers. The ability to make real time decisions based on accurate business intelligence is paramount for managing a successful supply chain.
Given the potential for delivery disruptions outside of your control, like weather or inefficient partners, it’s critical that your software solutions give you greater command of your operation. If your legacy software doesn’t provide seamless transitions during each stage of the process, costly bottlenecks could affect your company’s ability to ramp up production.
The technology that powers your ordering, manufacturing, and distribution channels must scale with the fluctuations in demand for your products.
Ninety four percent of CIOs expect automation to spread into all areas of business by 2020. Building the right technology now makes your business more competitive for the future. Updated software can minimize data collection gaps between internal systems and create greater coordination between your various production environments. Additionally, improvements in customer experience and retention can be realized from the streamline output of an overhaul of your technology.
Before modernizing your software consider the following points.
The Age-Old Debate: Build vs Buy
The market is full of solutions that provide adequate tools for each of your company’s departments. CRMs, CMSs, ERPs, MESs, tracking; there is no shortage of options.
For companies with suppliers, manufacturing, and warehouses in various parts of the world, connecting these distant components provides greater clarity of real time activities and facilitates greater analysis of your operations.
The need for greater control or customization may determine whether commercially available off the shelf solutions are the right fit for you company. While plug-and-play software seems like an obvious choice for quick implementations, off-the-shelf solutions all too often require complex integrations or customization that reduces the advantages of cost or convenience.
Custom-built solutions eliminate the hidden costs of change management that appear during the customization process for bought solutions. A shorter time to value is also realized as monthly licensing costs are eliminated and maintenance fees are reduced. Building your own software solutions comes with the additional benefits of owning the software IP and protecting critical data.
The biggest value of custom software is the ability to be on the leading edge of technology. Two of our clients, Tiff’s Treats & BuildASign, exemplify this principle. When these companies started, the features they wanted in their software weren’t available off the shelf. This lead their internal teams to custom build software to power their operations, which in turn gave them an edge over their competitors.
What Clear Launch sees most often is a hybrid approach, where we help you select off the shelf software, configure it to meet 90% of your needs, and develop custom software for any additional functionality so you can leverage the best of both worlds. This allows you to get the power of systems like Salesforce, Oracle, or Magento with the tailored features of a custom solution.
Internal vs External Teams
Outsourcing the responsibility of software development may be anathema to companies who prefer to maintain their own systems. A unique dichotomy exists between the responsibilities of designing and implementing new software versus maintenance and support of existing solutions.
Many companies simply don’t have the experience or internal resources to tackle the scope of replacing significant pieces of their technology infrastructure. Having fewer team members to launch mission critical software can produce bottlenecks of its own – especially when it comes to testing or integrating with legacy software solutions.
This is where external technology partners demonstrate their greatest value. They bring to bear their experience and knowledge during these super sensitive moments where costly mistakes can occur. Similarly, they can assess and recommend which tools to improve, which affects the overall success of the greater project.
Enlisting a team to properly plan and execute software upgrades will reduce the time to value for software investments.
Technical leadership from an external partner offers you the comfort of getting the job done correctly and with greater communication between each of the internal and external teams at every stage of the process. Where innovation or substantial modernization is required, it pays to partner with external teams is whose job it is to keep companies up to date with the latest technology.
Deliver Value To Yourself And Your Clients
Logistics technology connects suppliers, shippers, and customers through a series of processes that supports greater demand and promotes faster delivery. It’s hard to predict what changes in technology or new insights may disrupt the landscape for companies that produce and ship products to online buyers.
Companies gain a competitive advantage when they embrace new technology and regularly improve the software that powers their operations. Building custom solutions with experienced technical partners improves your overall operations and delivers real value to both your customers and your internal teams.