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Essential Features for Supply Chain Management Solutions

Essential Features for Supply Chain Management Solutions 

 

Have you heard of ERP, Enterprise Resource Planning?


ERP is critical to today’s businesses in intelligently managing materials in today’s online market. With any business needing to deal with delivery on demand and so many internet businesses to compete with, there’s no time to manually manage supply data. With ERP, you can work on strategic storage systems for your resources.


No matter where your business lies on the supply chain and no matter what your industry is, you must have a solid supply chain management solution in order to succeed. These solutions help your business to spend time on important activities like taking care of your customers and less time figuring out where the last of your inventory is—if there is any. 


Magaya makes it easy to promise accurate inventory levels as well as deliver it to your consumers in time. From the moment you receive new inventory, all the way to your customers’ doors, our solution can track, handle, and sort your inventory. We’ve spent years nailing down the process, and we’ve noticed a few things are necessary for the success of supply chain management. 

 

The Top Features for Supply Chain Management 

 

We find top features remain the same across all supply chains, and these remain the same whether you’re a small business or a large organization. Here are those features: 


  • Warehouse management
  • Inventory management
  • Accounting capabilities 
  • Receiving and tracking goods 

These departments must be run effectively and be organized in order to pave the way for long-term, sustainable success. As products and data move through the chain of departments, there needs to be great communication and collaboration in order to guarantee efficiency and streamlined efforts. This is an area where great solutions can save your company invaluable time. 


The people behind these departments and their tools are worth far more than they are typically given credit for in the modern world. When well-designed, tested, and effective processes are put into place, your business will run more smoothly, waste less time, and lose less inventory. 


Incorporating robust solutions to your business supply chain ensures that your team is ready to meet the demands of your clients with ease and efficiency. Let’s take a deep dive into each of these categories and see what the essential features are for each part of an effective supply chain. That will enable us to analyze what your essential features for your supply chain management are and what solutions you may be able to reach. 


Ideally, these tactics, technologies, and solutions outlined below will shed new light on potential opportunities, or will lift your current automation and collaborations to new places and heights. Perhaps they can get you thinking about the future of your management, and how you would like your business to expand.  


Let’s get started on our list of areas to optimize and improve to create your unique supply chain management solution. 

 

Optimizing Basic and Advanced Warehouse Management Systems

 

Having an organized system within your warehouse is crucial for your employees to stay efficient. With the proper solution, you should be able to easily map out warehouse locations and zones for your cargo, and accommodate for specialty storage areas. 


Like most common advice, it’s much easier said than done. It’s easy to freeze up along the way to a better solution because of the way things have always been done. Change is hard, particularly when the current system works in some way already. 


However, this is where analysis of your current activities and workflows really shows how an application can save you money and boost customer satisfaction. Without efficient processes, there’s an excess of avoidable mistakes and often a breakdown in communication. Instead of risking damaging partnerships due to poor tracking through human error and chance, a program can automate those processes for you. 

 

How Automation Can Serve You

 

Gone are the days when everything has to be done manually. To keep up with the competition in the marketplace, having the right solutions and tools ensure your businesses stays relevant.  Using software that can handle supplier management becomes an easier choice to make when considering the alternative: manual processes and inefficient workflows. 


What should this type of software manage and handle in a collaborative warehouse? In a situation where cargo is being received, stored, and shipped out, that’s precisely what the software should primarily handle. While full automation is not always needed or required, the solution should be able to handle the majority of the necessary, repetitive tasks. 


For warehouses that are not simply receiving, storing, and shipping cargo but also replenishing orders, it’s important to establish directed operations for tasks such as the put-away and picking-up sequences. You should also be able to see when an order is closed or opened, and your software should respond accordingly. 


Every one of these processes should optimize warehouse space and employee time. Without software, communication within the team can be fragile. It breaks down quickly with small changes that aren’t communicated. It’s impossible to keep scheduling enough meetings to discuss every change and shipment during busy seasons when your software could be keeping your team up-to-date in real time. 

 

Saving Your Team Time

 

When you use a supply chain software, your team will be able to know where to find anything in the warehouse at any time, typically saving time in comparison to other methods. Instead of checking multiple areas to find where something was, or where it has been moved to, or if it’s even still in stock, your team members simply know where to go within the warehouse. Supply chain software tracks all these movements in and out, along with any reorganizing that happens, so your team has visibility into all of the changes at one time. 


Let’s take a deeper look into what the top-line software systems do on a regular basis for the companies who have invested in them. 


In general, warehouse management software will:


  • Process customer requirements and specifications
  • Handle customer orders
  • Help with sales and distribution
  • Provide a wide variety of reports
  • Assist in forecasting the future

Similar to any other class or type of software, the execution of these tasks, ease of use, and the functionality of the solution for specific situations is what differentiates these programs from each other. 


At Magaya, we understand on a professional and consumer level what you need to succeed. We’ve crafted a solution designed specifically to stand head and shoulders above similar software packages. Some of our unique features include:


  • Capacity to control and manage inventory before it hits the warehouse floor and storage
  • Defining specific locations and default receiving areas for cargo using the tracking part of the software
  • Sequencing processes in the warehouse, quickly and effectively 
  • Automating certain aspects of billing and accounting
  • And much more!

It’s important to remember at this point that quality warehouse management is only one part of the essential lineup of features needed to create quality supply chain software. If you select software only for your warehouse management needs, you may need to piece multiple software platforms together to create a complete solution for your needs. 


This is also only a basic outline of warehouse management systems. Each company must by nature have different requirements and standards. A company focused on shipping perishable items, by default, will have a very different set of standards than a company that handles volatile liquids on a regular basis. 


Most advanced warehouse systems can only be selected after an initial investment of time to figure out what will work the best in that particular situation. If you are in that situation, one of the quickest ways to find out if a given software is right for you is by educating yourself in what you really need. That lays the groundwork to enable you to schedule a demonstration with the software. 


Magaya would be happy to do that with you. Our team prides itself on being able to create tailored solutions based on a clients needs. 


This is only the first part of creating a long or short-term supply chain management solution. Let’s move into the other areas of the best supply chains and see what works there and how we can help you. 

 

Inventory Management 

 

After general warehouse management and optimization, the next major hurdle to jump is managing your inventory in an effective, timely matter. Key areas to consider include inventory quantities, what is needed at any given time, and what has been sold. In addition, where it is going today, tomorrow, and into the future.


Now, no software or automation at this point in time can take over the sheer amount of human thought that must go into general inventory management. That’s not the goal here, nor should it be. Instead, the main goal that inventory management software should strive for is efficiency. Good supply chain management solutions will provide some automation to help some a small amount of time. Great solutions will go above and beyond.


In any case, with the correct tool, you should be able to see (with varying degrees of ease) your inventory quantities, what was sold, and what is needed. Those are the basics of any good solution. What makes a good solution great? 


With a quality supply chain software solution, you should also be able to do the following:


  • Gauge inventory before items arrive
  • Receive inventory information from outside vendors
  • Automate the input via Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) 
  • Ability to easily find specific items
  • Streamline customs inspections
  • Help with transfers to another warehouse.


Overarching, complete, and full-scale solutions will manage and interface these tasks with the overall supply chain management program in a reliable, intuitive way that makes sense onscreen and on the warehouse floor. That’s a lot of computing power that you can offload off of your team’s plate and instead devote to the human element of management!

Here are a few tools that help streamline inventory management.

 

Mobile Scanners


Some supply chain management solutions (including our own here at Magaya) offer additional plugins, such as a mobile scanner to be used at the warehouse. These mobile scanners allow your team to control every step of the process from arrival at the receiving docks to departure. Scanners in particular are very good at reducing errors and speeding up receiving, moving, picking and loading, and releasing.


The beauty of plugins is that they are designed to work with a pre-existing system, which you may already have. They may not have to be used all the time, depending on your needs, so they are not built into the system as a whole. However, when they are needed, they are generally only a few clicks away. 

 

Plug-ins

 

When you invest in a system with the option to add a variety of plug-ins, you give yourself and your company some extra insurance against dramatic changes in your supply chain. In many cases - and certainly with our solution and plug-in options - no additional up-front charges are required. Some are already fully integrated right from the start. 


There are three most useful plug-ins for inventory management: 

  1. Scanner plug-ins, for your team members to better track inventory
  2. Customer portal plug-ins, so your customers can view and track their own orders
  3. Customs regulation

Scanner plug-ins

 

As the name indicates, this family of plug-ins focuses on the ability to scan and count existing inventory. Then, the system uploads and updates important information in a timely fashion. They can also assist in processes for picking up and storing as needed. Our in-house solution, the WMS Mobile plugin, only needs a Wi-Fi connection and compatible hardware to bring these benefits to you. 


Thanks to having multiple plug-ins available, you can find the exact option that best suits your company’s needs.

 

Customer Portal Plug-ins

 

Our customer portal plug-ins streamline the process of conveying information to your customers whenever they want it, instead of relying on sending reports manually, on varying cadences. The LiveTrack Customer Portal goes above and beyond the basics of providing a secure platform to view reports. It enables your customers to see real-time status updates, inventory quantities, and all their invoices in one secure, easy system. 


These plug-ins are designed to help you communicate with your customers what you have available as accurately as possible. These plug-ins are a simple, easy solution that can save both you and your customers the difficult and frustrating work of procuring goods and tracking orders on their own schedule.

 

Customs Regulations Plug-ins

 

The last essential plugin to a great inventory management solution is something to handle various customs regulations systems. Both AMS (Automated Manifest System) and the ACE (Automated Commercial Environment) are specifically designed to manage US Customs regulations for all cargo arriving in the US and comply with US Customs filing requirements, respectively. 


Once the appropriate information has been entered, these plugins enable you to auto-populate certain fields automatically, speeding up the tedious task of filling out the necessary forms with the same information again and again. Now your staff can focus on more productive activities!


Auto-populated fields for customs regulations offers a host of clear benefits. Regulations aren’t just tedious; they’re complicated and have a high risk for errors. With software handling the task for you, your employees only need to prove vital details. 


These plug-ins don’t just save time, effort, and reduce errors. As natural turnover occurs, these plug-ins can reduce the time to onboard new employees. Rather than investing the time to train them on writing customers forms, they can be trained on what to do with the system and focus on learning areas that can’t be automated for them. 


All the above plugins are added at no cost when you purchase Magaya. This way, you can customize our solution to your unique specifications instead of trying to adapt your needs to someone else’s solution. 


Your needs should come first, and great solutions will take that into account. Since every business has different needs, we are happy to offer high-quality solutions that can apply to any organization. 


Inventory management can be very challenging, particularly when your current system needs a change. Big changes, small changes, and everything in between can seem to move at the pace of a glacier, particularly when they are needed most. 


Progress in any vital system is hard to bring about in a timely, efficient, and secure manner. At least, when you’re doing it on your own. With our experience in the field, we’ve learned the best way to bring any company up to speed in no time flat. Magaya works with you as a partner, allowing us to help your business grow and for our solution to scale with you. 


That’s why our demonstrations can be your most valuable investment. You can see how our solutions will work for you by supporting and improving your supply chain management solutions. 


Schedule a demo, and let us show you what we can do for your business and your inventory management today. 

 

link to accounting department

Link to Accounting 

The third block in a great supply chain management solution is a strong and integrated link to the accounting and bookkeeping department of the business. While we may not consider this as important as warehouse management or other features, having one system handle all your reporting eliminates confusion. 


Apart from keeping track of orders and the warehouse, any supply chain management software should include a way to handle the bulk of the day-to-day accounting. Keeping track of accounts payable, accounts receivable, and other accounting matters are all crucial tasks that must be kept up to date and in order regardless of anything else. 


To efficiently keep your business flowing, the accounting team needs visibility into warehouse operations. The needs of the accounting team need to be considered in your search for new solutions alongside the other functions of the business. 

 

Handling Multiple Currencies 

 

In addition, many companies are global. This creates another round of challenges for their accounting departments, particularly when the company has locations in different countries. Ensuring that your headquarters and satellite offices are all in sync is important for day-to-day business functions. Let’s take a look at some of the functionalities that you should look for in your solution in regards to accounting. 


The ability to move money easily, rapidly, and through different currencies is always a priority in these accounting departments. They don’t have some of the more accessible options that a purely local company may be able to take advantage of in their accounting processes. Tax codes, international tariffs, and other government regulations too numerous to list here must be considered and dealt with in a timely, analytical way. That information must always be accurate and up to date to ensure your team adheres to taxes and regulations.


Regardless of whether you are local, regional, or international business, all these tasks, particularly the simpler aspects are much more prone to error when done by people. A great supply chain solution will take that into account. 

 

Generate Accurate Reports

 

Another area where software can excel for your business is generating reports. Magaya’s supply chain management generates profit reports, sales reports, balance sheets, and P&L (profit and loss) reports. These are crucial for an accounting department. 


Because these tasks are simple and are easy to replicate, they are wonderful tasks for a secure automated platform to take over. Your team will enjoy better time management that leaves them open to more opportunities to improve on other tasks such as financial forecasting. 


No matter which type of supply chain management solution you chose, the majority of these tasks should be able to be easily automated. Any functional software should be able to manage simple functions, such as generate invoices from your company to the appropriate client. Great software will go the extra mile for its users.


Implementing software to do this work for your team means you can free up valuable resources for other needs. Good supply chain management makes this easy; great supply chains make this almost effortless. Magaya strives to make sure this process gets easier every time we do it, so you can focus on other tasks, sooner.


Have you thought about how your accounting and billing processes help or hinder your supply chain management solution? Contact us today for a demonstration of how Magaya can help you. 

 

Receiving and Tracking Orders

Before inventory arrives and people make orders, an immense amount of work is done behind the scene to track and receive inventory. 


In an older automated system or with a large amount of plain manual labor, receiving and tracking a large shipment quickly turns into a chaotic nightmare. During your busy seasons, inventory movement, received orders, and unexpected changes all demand great communication in order to keep things organized. When you’re already low on time, stopping to discuss and communicate every small change is unreasonable.


When you rely on older software, a breakdown may be close at hand. Modern software that’s frequently updated will run smoothly and crash less frequently—if ever—compared to older, outdated software. Once your team gets into flow of using a system, it’s catastrophic to have it fail for any reason, leaving them to improvise solutions without time to manage their effectiveness.


Budget software is never far away, but can prove to be a less than ideal solution when a major problem arises. 


The typical short-term solutions in these cases—particularly in the tracking and receiving orders department—are just that: short term. After a certain point, layering on another program or process is only prolonging the life of an inadequate system.    

 

Relying On Automation

 

The best and most efficient distribution centers (regardless of their size and scope) rely heavily on a high degree of automation to provide the quality service that clients look for in their selection process. Smaller distribution centers are able to tailor their services to a higher degree of quality, while larger distribution centers can increase and maximize their capacity. 


Slower-paced centers are able to manage on less, due to the nature of their job. However, managing does not equal thriving. If you are considering a less robust system to fit a smaller set of needs, think about where you want to go in the future and how a less robust system may hold you back. Sure, it may meet your needs now. But will you have to go through this process all over again in the next year? How about in the next five years? Ultimately, is changing systems over and over worth it for your company?


Let’s take a look at some of the wide range of challenges you may be facing right now.


  • Transportation 
  • Cross-docking
  • Multiple order fulfillment processing
  • General and specialized shipping
  • General and specialized receiving 
  • Returns of all sorts

Now consider a situation involving thousands of items and SKUs, labels, different packages, locations, temperatures, and specialized areas. That’s a tall order for anyone to solve! High-paced distribution centers must handle it all, while smaller operations will have to deal with some of these challenges.


To add to the challenge, not only does the distribution center need to be aware of what is in their inventory, but the centers need to keep their customers updated about their inventory levels. 


That’s where Magaya's warehouse management system software shines bright. Our just-in-time inventory control functions and a wide range of plugins have you covered. Let’s take a look at our solutions to updating customers, online payments, and tracking orders. 

 

LiveTrack Customer Tracking

Updating Customers

First up we have the issue of keeping customers updated on their orders, shipments, and payments. Our solution for that is an online tracking tool that provides 24 hours of access to their inventory data. The LiveTrack Customer Portal offers your customers an easy, secure way to:


  • Access their data in a highly protected portal
  • Receive real-time status updates
  • View inventory quantities

Online Payments

 

Next, we have the challenge of making online payments. We offer two different options for your customers to pay from the comfort of wherever they have internet access, FirstData and PayCargo.


These two options are automatically installed when you buy any of Magaya’s software solutions and serve different groups of customers better. 


FirstData is a fantastic choice for smaller scale purchases, like restaurants, small shops, even farmer’s markets. If you are serving customers who are purchasing things on a smaller scale, or you’re even looking for something you take on the go, FirstData is Magaya’s choice. With small purchases adding up so quickly, this online payment option is much more efficient than anything done by hand.


PayCargo serves larger scale purposes. If your customers are purchasing large packages or buying things in bulk, even stocking their own warehouses, PayCargo designed to automate these sometimes-complicated purchasing needs.


Contact us to learn which option might suit you and your needs best. 

 

Tracking Orders

A distribution center must run as efficiently as possible. In order for this to happen, you need a supply chain management solution that will allow for storage, picking, kitting or any other services performed to be automated. 


We know that. We’ve been there and dealt with the mess that happens when the system falls apart. We saw a need and created a solution -  and that’s what we offer you. 


Tracking Goods 

 

Think of tracking goods in a supply chain as you would think about blood moving through your body. No matter which part of your body a doctor is checking or treating, blood needs to be flowing to it. The same holds true for tracking your inventory and goods through your supply chains. 


In addition to the theoretical part of managing your supply change, the practicality of including your tracking throughout your entire supply chain—from first purchase to final shipment—should not be underestimated. If you look at your existing solutions, you may find that tracking goods takes up a larger portion of your time than you may have anticipated.


Generally, when things go wrong, it’s because something or someone has lost track of inventory in some way or another. Whether it has been placed in the wrong area of the warehouse, moved elsewhere within the warehouse without being properly documented, or any simply lost, many problems in a faulty supply chain can be traced back to how the inventory has, and is being tracked. 


With a reliable tracking system, you can stop hunting for packages and supplies. Your inventory management systems will keep an eye on your inventory. Once it reaches your doors, it will tell you where it should go, where it has been moved to, and if it’s been sent out yet. After it’s sent out, it will be easy to check with your carriers about its progress.


While other required features and tasks will vary by industry, location, and the actual goods themselves, the above will hold true across industries. 

 

What Cargo and Freight Forwarders Need 

For the cargo industry, you must be able to control the cargo’s receipt, storage, and delivery. Specialized or smaller industries can’t afford to misplace their (relatively) small stock of inventory. Similarly, industries dealing with highly valuable articles need to know exactly where everything is, plus what they have on hand in order to remain efficient. 


Freight forwarders need easy-to-use and flexible supply chain management solutions to fit their needs. Their system should allow users to generate documents such as international and domestic Air Waybills with ease. Forwarders as a group should also be able to arrange local pickup and delivery, automatically calculate prices for services, create invoices and complete other accounting transactions.


Smaller boutique type businesses, on the other hand, may have more delicate products that need specialized handling and checking during various points in the tracking process. 

Being able to track any and all of these goods is simple to do with the right logistics management software. As with the other aspects of supply chain management, your best bet is to incorporate your tracking software into your overall solution. 


Reliable order tracking is an easy way to communicate better, not just with your team, but with your consumers as well.


Some of the functionalities of our software solution include creating air, ocean, and ground shipment consolidations. Our software can also create quotations, bookings, and pickup orders. Check out what we can offer you by scheduling a demonstration today!

 

How We Can Help You

 

If you’ve been struggling with any of the following:


  • Keeping track of your inventory
  • Devoting time to generating reports that can be done in seconds
  • Processing orders 
  • Space management
  • Efficiency of your workflows

Let’s talk. Once you have the right solution in place, these issues will be in the past. The Magaya software provides many of the features listed above and has an entire ecosystem of products that can be suited to your business. 


We’ve been providing supply chain management solutions to over 1,500 companies around the world in 80 different countries. If you’re a small business, a corporation, or anywhere in-between, Magaya has experience with any issues you need assistance resolving. 


We have experience working with international freight forwarders, NVOCCs, consolidators and forwarding agents, couriers, warehouse providers, and cargo airlines. We also have worked with eCommerce fulfillment centers, couriers, and warehouse providers. 


No matter where on the supply chain you fall, our team is ready to chat and provide a tailored solution to your needs. 


Interested in learning more? Book your demo today! Magaya would love to examine your workflow and find the right solutions to more effectively manage your inventory!


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