Supply chain execution is complex, and the pace of change is rapid. Which is a big reason why companies continue to turn to software as a service (SaaS) solutions to help digitize and integrate their supply chains. In today’s environment where future-proof SCE technology leads the way, it’s also important to look beyond feature-function checklists and consider the long-term value of the partnership.
Technology…and so much more
Finding a software vendor that understands your business and can provide the technology and services to meet the proposed needs is just the beginning. Leaders are approaching the process differently, prioritizing the relationship value of their software provider over or along with cost and functionality. The requirements now go deeper to explore continued value long after the initial investment and implementation period.
Establishing a lasting partnership starts with the first engagement, discovering the true issues and how day-to-day pain points can be eliminated. There are high expectations for what today’s solutions can do to improve supply chain execution. Going beyond the first level of functionality, other important considerations include the ability to collaborate with a provider who is knowledgeable about your industry and willing to work with your company goals – one year, two years, ten years from now – so you’re continually getting the most value from your investment.
Companies selecting a SaaS solution to manage tens of thousands, often millions of dollars in transportation spend for example, are looking for more than just the lowest bid. A partner who understands your everyday challenges and requirements to serve customers can deliver more value through the software platform. Look for a technology provider that regularly incorporates user feedback into the development process with a structured approach to collaborating and prioritizing the ideas. Additionally, in-house managed services teams can provide valuable input into the development process when they are super-users of the same software.
Can you flex and grow with us?
Supply chain technology can help combine multiple processes into a single workflow to streamline operations. This is where it’s important to take a big-picture approach and evaluate how individual components are going to work together in the future.
For example, implementing a new TMS that manages the domestic movement of goods may work to solve today’s business requirement. But as your operations grow to meet increased global trade, can your solution handle international moves in all modes? What about parcel deliveries, or cross-border customs and compliance – do you attempt to manage it internally, or start the RFP process over in search of an additional solution?
With the right partner, the answer is neither. A technology platform with multiple applications to manage supply chain execution seamlessly helps your company adapt to change quickly and easily.
How will the partnership deliver long-term value?
By understanding how a provider plans to innovate and grow, companies can better determine if a potential partner is aligned with its long-term goals. Is the solution customizable and scalable? Are there supplemental product offerings that can easily be integrated and work with the current infrastructure? Will the solution evolve to meet the demands of tomorrow? How is the solution supported? How can our company benefit from being part of this network and ecosystem? Ultimately, the answers to these questions help determine how well you can work with a provider to achieve continuous improvement.
Determining the scope of work, network architecture, workload migration, and data are all discoveries of a traditional RFP process. Experienced leaders are finding the most value for their investment by going beyond the initial set of features and peeling back the layers of how a provider can be a partner that supports collaboration, continuous improvement, and growth for the future.
Stacie Vroman is Global Product Manager, responsible for Parcel and BluDex solutions at BluJay.