Have you seen this acronym floating around, SCM software, and have wondered, what does it mean, and how can it help improve my productivity and profitability?
To answer that question, you’ve hit the right article. In this text, we’ll be looking at the best supply chain management software. We’ll compare the top ten software currently available on the market, and examine the features, pros, and cons of each one.
By the end of this article, not only will you be familiar with SCM software and its uses, but you’ll also have found your favorite one.
Top supply chain software companies comparison chart (10 highest rated supply chain management tools)
Check out this table of the best supply chain software company details, including pricing where available and quick links to their contact pages. We also show what each of these supply chain software solutions are best for. Afterward, you get our more detailed SCM tool comparison reviews.
Best wholesale software overall
Best distribution software systems for ecommerce
Best ERP wholesale distribution software for inventory and warehouse management
Good wholesale distribution software for small business
$199 per month billed annually
Microsoft Dynamics 365
Great ERP distribution tool for project management
$120 per user per month
Top wholesale distribution system for EDI
Good distribution software systems for supply chain management
Great B2B wholesale distribution ERP solution
Top wholesale operations solution for omnichannel sales
Good software for wholesale business with customer service
What is SCM software?
SCM, those three letters, what do they mean? They stand for Supply Chain Management, as if that weren’t obvious. A supply chain refers to all the steps, people, resources, materials and protocols that go into a product or project lifecycle from initial kickoff to the final delivery.
So, what is supply chain management software & what does it do?
SCM software is all about managing your supply chains, and this includes your inventory and warehousing, production, shipping and distributions, as well as other tools for working with suppliers, stakeholders and customers.
SCM is often a module which is part of enterprise resource planning, or ERP. Because of this, SCM leverages a lot of ERP functionality. Chief among these features are workflows and other automations. Using automation is a great way to reduce the amount of work your team will have to do because it takes over simple repetitive tasks.
SCM, like CRM, is also a data-generating machine, and with all that valuable data, you get to perform sophisticated analytics and create reports. This can describe past business processes, predict future outcomes of present activities, and do more complex forecasting for wider business needs.
There are 5 main components of any SCM. They are:
SCM component 1: Planning
The first part of any supply chain process is the planning stage. SCM planning is where you figure out your requirements, your allocations of materials, labor and money, and your overall budget. Here is also the stage where you lay out scheduling and timeframes, milestones and goals. Proper supply chain planning reduces waste and cuts down on problems throughout the supply chain lifecycle.
SCM component 2: Sourcing
The sourcing stage of supply chain management follows the planning stage. In this component, you now get to see where you will source everything you need to execute the supply chain project. You will deal with suppliers and other procurement tasks, hoping that everything fits inside your budget and can be sourced in a timely manner.
SCM component 3: Execution
Supply chain execution is where you actually go ahead and begin the project, or start making the product, or perfecting the service you will eventually bring to customers and the market. It is the production stage, and if you’ve done your SCM planning and SCM sourcing properly with great software, it should proceed as streamlined as possible.
SCM component 4: Delivery
After the production phase or execution stage of SCM, it is time to deliver the goods. Here is where you present the product to the client, market or stakeholders. In this stage, you will deal with shipping and distribution logistics, both of which are key tools within any SCM solution. This would be the final stage, unless there are problems, in which case, move on to component number 5.
SCM component 5: Returns
Sometimes, when the market, stakeholder, or client received the product that had undergone the supply chain process, there is a problem or an issue that needs to be fixed. The returning component of SCM prepares you to deal with these returns. You can easily track what is coming back and what needs to be resolved, as well as offer assurances to the customer that you are committed to staying on top of the issue.
Models of SCM
There are 6 different supply chain management methods. They are:
1st supply chain model: Continuous flow SCM
This is the classic SCM model. It is also very efficient and stable at the same time. The continuous flow method is ideal for manufacturing where goods are regularly produced and delivered.
2nd supply chain model: Fast chain SCM
The fast chain method of SCM is great for short lifecycle production. It can also be used for small runs of products in specialty fields with many changes. Certainly not for production processes that will be large scale and regularly repeated.
3rd supply chain model: Efficient chain SCM
The efficient chain model of SCM is all about efficiency as the name suggests. The goal of this method is to help reduce time spent, money spent, employee hours and other materials so that production is as lean and cheap as possible.
4th supply chain model: Agile SCM
All manner of agile production and project management is all the rage these days and the same goes for SCM. The agile model is also good for small-batch production, especially when the end product is not so clearly defined, and the team expects changes and improvements to occur during the production lifecycle.
5th supply chain model: Custom-configured SCM
Similar in some ways to the agile model, the custom-configured method involves production and supply chain steps that will require unique or customized processes. This is an ideal SCM method for developing prototypes and other R&D projects.
6th supply chain model: Flexible SCM
Our final supply chain management method is the flexible model. Businesses employ flexible supply chains during seasonal peaks and trends. It is also agile and ideal for pivoting when the market changes or new demands arise in your industry.
What are the different types of supply chain management software?
There are quite a few examples of supply chain management systems out there, some more specialized and others more general. Here are some of the main examples of SCM and what purposes these can fulfill:
Warehouse management system (WMS)
Operations and supply chain management (OSCM)
Supply chain collaboration
Bid and spend management
Transport management system (TMS)
Supply chain risk management software (SCRM)
Supply chain analytics
1. Inventory management
Inventory management is often the first type of supply chain management discussed, and for good reasons. Inventory optimization functionality deals with a company or organization’s total inventory across their entire supply chain operations. This can be for just a single warehouse or for multiple warehouses.
Inventory management as part of SCM SaaS deals with monitoring inventory stock in real-time, forecasting future needs for more items, or it can be predictive of changes in inventory levels, specific item replenishment requirements, or distributor availability. Inventory optimization is also a core set of supply planning tools for any ERP system.
2. Warehouse management system (WMS)
Some people get confused between inventory and warehousing, and these two supply chain processes surely do have some overlap. The main difference is that while inventories deal with total stock regardless of where it’s held, a warehouse management system (WMS) is the SCM module that handles the stock, space and upkeep of specific warehousing operations.
Warehouse management, like many other SCM tools, relies heavily on logistics to optimize the space and distribution of items for the most efficient order fulfillment, as well as for taking in new deliveries. Just like with inventory management, SCM software leverages artificial intelligence and workflows to automate much of the simple inventory and warehousing tasks.
3. Procurement management
Procurement management is sometimes also referred to as supplier relationship management, source-to-settle process, or just supplier management.
This SCM module lets companies maintain relationships with their suppliers, source out new and better suppliers, and streamline the process of purchase orders and receiving deliverables, although many of those features are also a big part of order management.
You could say that supplier management or procurement management is the bigger picture to order management’s more granular set of tools.
4. Order management
As mentioned above, order management is the part of SCM that handles specific order processing, dealing with providers, shipping and other business processes related to orders and purchasing.
Some of the more common tools of order management include delivery tracking, capturing and fulfilling orders. You could ultimately say that order fulfillment management is for specific jobs, while procurement management is for aggregate company activity.
5. Demand planning
From the small business to the enterprise, having ERP tools to help anticipate customer demand is crucial to running a smooth operation. Many great SCM apps include advanced demand forecasting that goes above and beyond basic planning, often with the help of business intelligence and other supply chain analytics.
Demand planning creates lots of valuable data which then informs intelligent demand forecasting. This is necessary for various decision-making stages as part of your greater business planning.
6. Production planning
If it isn’t obvious, production is the most important part of any operation that uses SCM or ERP systems. If you don't produce anything, you don’t sell, you have no customers, there is no profit, and your business will fold.
Production planning in the SCM lifecycle includes features for resource allocation, including materials and employees. It also uses predictive analytics to organize production capacity across things like factory space and machinery or equipment use.
7. Operations and supply chain management (OSCM)
Operations planning is another fundamental element of supply chain management. Again, you might find overlap between OSCM production planning software. The main difference is that operations management is not limited to single jobs, and more specifically, to the manufacturing and delivering of goods that rely on raw materials or inventory production optimization.
Operations SCM can deal with goods, services, material and immaterial products alike. You can use OSCM for any business needs from a factory to an ecommerce operation.
8. Supply chain collaboration
Enterprise resource planning and supply chain management are perhaps more important for larger companies than for small businesses, as they can help coordinate the communication and collaboration between employees and management, between different departments, between management and stakeholders, or between various types of company locations like offices, factories and warehouses.
Collaboration management is also crucial when there is outsourcing or when two or more companies are engaged in a joint venture and need to coordinate work, shipping, deliverables and management approvals.
9. Bid and spend management
Supply chain bid management is a useful set of tools for larger businesses, especially in construction and manufacturing. This allows firms to organize their bidding on various projects and jobs, to use intelligent tools like machine learning to predict overall budgets and schedules, and to submit and keep track of all open bids.
Spend management often comes bundled with bid management, although they are different. Spend management may leverage automation for budgeting on actual jobs, expense tracking, invoicing and payment processing. These two modules can also be found in many project management platforms.
10. Transport management system (TMS)
Your manufactured goods are not that profitable if they remain on-premise. You’ve got to organize and optimize your shipping logistics and overall transportation management, which is why so many supply chain management solutions emphasize the need for good TMS.
Transportation and shipping logistics handle both incoming and outgoing shipments, trucking maintenance and fuel costing, air freight management, as well as other regulatory compliance issues that go with the physical movement of goods and materials, even when crossing state or national borders.
11. Scheduling management
Between planning a project management kickoff to promising your clients or stakeholders their deliverables on time, scheduling is another core element of SCM and ERP. There are indeed overlaps with resource allocation and other supply chain planning modules.
Scheduling tools can help with creating critical paths, milestones and goal setting, and other task dependencies or priorities. Offering real-time visibility into your scheduling is an ideal way to keep stakeholders in the loop.
12. Security management
Large businesses and enterprises, as well as small businesses and ecommerce companies, need to take security seriously, whether we are talking about warehouse security or, more likely, data security.
Enterprises have a lot of sensitive data about not only their operations but also their clients, wholesalers, suppliers and third-parties they do business with. Good SCM should come ready with high-end data security functionality.
13. Supply chain risk management software (SCRM)
Because of the large-scale of many operations that use ERP and SCM software, the possibility of risks, unknowns, obstacles and challenges is such that without risk management tools, everything can go off plan and cause major delays or unexpected costs.
SCM works by identifying potential risks and quantifying their potential negative effects, evaluating the options to deal with it, mitigating the risk through action, and using analytics to confirm how successful you were at risk mitigation.
14. Supply chain analytics
Like all great business SaaS, from the lowest CRM to the most advanced ERP, supply chain management software solutions generate lots of useful business intelligence in the form of reams and reams of data.
Mere humans can’t always parse and understand that data, let alone spot the patterns and trends, but data analytics in SCM excels at this task. Analytics and reporting are used for looking at past performance, measuring plans to actual results and profitability, and for more accurate planning in project management. Workflows are often used to automatically create and share supply chain reports.
What is the best supply chain management software? Here’s our top 10 list:
Are you ready for this rundown of the top supply chain planning tools? We hope so. Everything you could possibly want to know about SCM and its features and functionalities will be clearly laid out in the following reviews, from household names like Microsoft, Oracle and SAP to niche brands like Logility and Infor.
Here we go with the list of supply chain management software:
1. SAP SCM Software (Best supply chain management software overall)
SAP is a mammoth software development corporation originally from Germany and now with operations all over the world. They make ERP software, SCM software, financial management and accounting software and more.
SAP has many products for supply chain management. These include supply chain planning products like SAP Integrated Business Planning for Supply Chain, SAP Ariba Supply Chain Collaboration for Buyers, supply chain logistics tools like SAP Extended Warehouse Management and SAP Transportation Management, and product lifecycle management tools like SAP Product Lifecycle Costing, SAP Portfolio and Project Management, SAP Enterprise Product Development, and SAP S/4HANA Cloud for projects, project collaboration.
SAP makes some of the best supply chain management software overall, hands down.
The huge ecosystem of SCM and SCM-related products is really great for companies to pick and choose the right SCM modules for them.
SAP products work really well with IoT devices, or the internet of things, which is an automated data generating and sharing system that streamlines a lot of your operations and gives added supply chain visibility.
The first drawback is that, while SAP prices are not listed, this is supposedly on the pricier end of the SCM cost scale. Also, some people do not love having to choose from their wide ecosystem of SCM products.
SAP could be more user friendly when onboarding and learning the tools. However, most people get the hang of it.
Contact SAP for prices of all their SCM products.
Visit SAP SCM
2. Microsoft Dynamics 365 Supply Chain Management (Top supply management solution for product lifecycle)
Everyone knows Microsoft for Outlook, Word, Excel, Office, Zoom and more. But Microsoft also makes a top supply management software solution. It’s part of the Microsoft Dynamics 365 package.
You can leverage MS Dynamics 365 to plan an entire product lifecycle from the project start until end supply chain protocols.
You have your standard demand forecasting that is also useful for planning. As for procurement management, Dynamics helps with your vendor communication and collaboration. You also get a bunch of standard inventory management and warehouse management tools.
Microsoft 365 users of SCM tools will probably love doing product lifecycle planning with this app. Maintaining a high-level of finished product quality is a huge benefit.
There is solid resource allocation planning to make sure inventories and warehousing remain optimized for any project or unforeseeable task. You get all sorts of useful features like barcodes and QR codes.
Microsoft gets points for relative ease of use, as well as for displaying clear pricing information on their site. What’s more, the Dynamics API allows for more inter-functionality between Microsoft’s CRM and ERP which includes SCM.
Some users are naturally turned off by the Microsoft corporation and for this reason they won’t be running to subscribe to Dynamics 365 for SCM, ERP or other business processes.
Microsoft Dynamics 365 Supply Chain Management costs $1980 per user per month.
Visit Microsoft Dynamics 365
3. Logility (Great supply chain management cloud software)
Logility may not be as big of a brand name as SAP or Microsoft, but in the SCM world, Logility is quite the important name. Logility is famous for using loads of artificial intelligence in their SCM features.
Four product life cycle tasks, Logility has total lifecycle planning, traceability tools as well as merchandise and assortment planning. There is your standard inventory optimization, as well as supply and manufacturing planning and optimization.
Logility has many tools for supply data analytics like IoT, and finally, this is one great supply chain management cloud software for demand forecasting purposes.
Beginning with Logiltiy’s demand module, you get planning and demand sensing, which is a highly tuned forecaster. There is also causal forecasting and proportional profile planning for better forecasts.
Manufacturing SCM tasks benefit from multi-step routing and post-production routing automations which reduce possible errors and speed up production.
The mix of IoT, AI, automation and workflows make using Logility a highly streamlined user experience.
Logility also scores points for having well-designed dashboards and interfaces.
Logility is probably more useful at the large company and enterprise-level size operation. If you are running a small business or startup, it may not be the top choice.
Contact Logility for pricing.
4. Infor (Good OSCM software for the automotive industry)
Infor is a maker of enterprise resource planning software and that includes a lot of great SCM functionality. Infor’s many OSCM software packages are especially good for the automotive industry as well as other industrial manufacturing businesses.
Infor is also the umbrella brand name for many products, among them SCM, WMS, human capital management or HCM, financials and supply management, Nexus supply chain finance, Infor supply planning, and Nexus supply management. Here we’ll talk about the basic SCM.
Infor really knows how to tailor their ERP and SCM tools to specific industries, whether in heavy manufacturing or even the servicer sector. As mentioned, this is a top SCM tool for the automotive industry.
The SCM module is really end-to-end covering all the steps of supply chains from planning to execution to deliveries and even returns.
Everything is cloud-based and all the useful data gets turned into actionable business intelligence delivered on fine Info reports,
While Infor covers a lot of business types, perhaps it is ideal for manufacturing, and less ideal for small businesses in the service sector, like boutique agencies, ecommerce or self-employed people.
No listed prices on their website, and likely a bit of an expensive set of SCM and ERP tools.
Visit Infor’s website to request pricing info.
5. Oracle NetSuite ERP Supply Chain Management (Top supply chain planning software)
As far as shopping around for the best wholesale distribution software, you couldn’t do much better than with Oracle NetSuite ERP.
Oracle, like SAP, is a humongous software company, making all sorts of business applications for accounting, CRM, professional services, infrastructure management and HR.
Their ERP SCM module is useful for many industries like healthcare, energy, financial services, manufacturing and retail, among others. As for SCM tools, you get supply planning and a wider supply chain execution suite.
Supply planning is one area that Oracle NetSuite really excels at. You get solid demand forecasting and analysis, inventory stock replenishment management, and purchase orders.
Everything in your NetSuite system stays up-to-date in real-time with automated syncing and other supply planning functionality, thanks to tech like IoT.
For further SCM optimization, like stakeholder engagement, scheduling and budgeting, Oracle NetSuite ERP Supply Chain Management has advanced features.
Again, no listed prices, and from other reports, you’ll need a decent budget to run this software for your supply chain purposes.
There will be some onboarding time required, as this won’t feel so user friendly right out of the box.
Contact Oracle for NetSuite ERP prices.
Visit NetSuite ERP
6. E2open (Best SCM software for transportation management)
E2open may not be a household name in the business SaaS world, but when it comes to the best transportation management SCM, this is a pretty solid choice. The company has its HQ in Auston but offices globally.
E2open is a data driven supply chain optimization software solution. It specializes in SCM risk management, ESG solutions for supply chains (environmental, social and governance), control tower operations for optimized end-to-end supply chains, procurement, logistics and AI.
E2open has many packages, so let’s begin with straight-up SCM. You got your purchase orders, supply forecasting, SCM collaboration, and buy-sell management tools.
There is also great invoicing, product costing, risk and quality control, and finally, product lifecycle management.
For supply planning, there is demand planning and demand sensing, multi-echelon inventory management, allocation maximization, and operations and distribution planning management.
Once again, huge benefits for TMS business needs with E2open.
E2open is definitely not your SCM system if you are a startup or small business. The costs are not competitive, and the functionalities might be more than a small operation needs.
This SaaS has quite the dry look and feel to its design, which isn't awful, but some might prefer something with nicer aesthetics.
Contact E2open for pricing information.
7. Epicor (Good supply chain management software for a small business)
Epicor is a total business suite of apps for companies that want to make things, sell things, move things and buy things. It's useful for companies of all sizes, but for our list, it's among the best SCM small business supply chain management software, especially ecommerce operations.
Epicor’s main SCM features are normally found within their wider ERP module. You can use this for managing your building supply chain, optimizing your distribution services, maximizing your production efficiency, and for managing any retail operation.
Starting with Epicor’s tools for small business and ecommerce, you can benefit from many Epicor’s signature tools, like Punchout for purchase orders and invoices, or their Dealer Portal for pricing and quotes.
You can use workflow automations to take over a lot of the ecommerce transactions and get your supplies moving through the chain independently of employee efforts, thereby streamlining the process and saving labor costs.
More supply chain logistics tools include products for small inventory and warehousing, or for global supply chain management.
Epicor has many products, modules, solutions and platforms, and therefore it can be a bit overwhelming figuring out exactly what you need and how much it will cost, especially as prices are not listed.
Get in touch with Epicor for prices.
8. Blue Yonder Luminate (Great chain logistics software for inventory management)
Blue Yonder SCM used to be called JDA Software Group. Among other achievements, Blue Yonder has racked up over 400 patents, both granted and pending. Luminate is the product name, and Blue Yonder is the brand.
Blue Yonder is an AI-driven supply chain system that covers many industries like retail, whether groceries, hardline or softline retail. It also covers automobile, industrial, semiconductors and other hi-tech industries. The main Blue Yonder packages are Luminate supply planning, Luminate Logistics supply chain execution, and Luminate omnichannel commerce.
For inventory management purposes, Blue Yonder is one of the top SCM applications. Your inventory logistics tools include dynamic segmentation, multi-echelon optimization and advanced effective inventory management. ‘
You also get merchandise financial planning which is amazing for product lifecycle planning and distribution.
Blue Yonder offers decent TMS features, like prescriptive execution management that helps planning and reduces risk, and resilient transportation execution that handles both inbound and outbound shipping.
This is a good app, but be prepared for a look and feel which seem to come out of the 90s. If that doesn’t bother you, then all is well.
Would be nice if more of these companies would display their prices clearly on their websites.
Contact Blue Yonder to learn about Luminate costs and packages.
Visit Blue Yonder
9. Magaya (Top SCM application for purchase order management)
Most people know about Magaya as a leading digital freight and shipping platform. It is also a top supply chain management application for purchase orders, as well as warehouse management.
Shipping and freight forwarding tools let you easily create bookings, pickup orders, do warehouse receipts, and plan shipping. PO management with Magaya is some of the best on the market. You can use automation to capture data in POs and turn those into pickup orders so that human employees spend less time on typing and copy pasting.
For basic PO management and all things purchase order related, Magaya is a clear winner for many SCM users.
If you run a large global business with a lot of international shipping, by road, rail or sea, Magaya is surely going to add value to your business process.
Even though we cannot be 100% sure of the prices, Magaya seems to have a reputation for being a tad on the pricier side of things for an SCP app.
Visit Magaya’s website to request pricing information.
10. Tableau Creator (Best supply chain analysis software)
Tableau is a globally recognized software solution for analytics and visual interactive dashboard reporting. Because of this, it is some of the best analytics software for SCM.
The Tableau Creator package is the best package for top-tier SCM, and includes the Tableau products called Desktop, Prep Builder, and one creator position with Tableau Cloud. This is probably the most ideal package for SCM analysis.
If supply chain analytics is incredibly important for your business needs, then Tableau has got you covered with great tools and features. There are sweet workflows which streamline all end-to-end SCM analysis.
All the Tableau dashboards are designed with maximal visual clarity and efficacy in mind. It’s easy to bring in data and lay it out with Tableau’s great visual interfaces.
With supply chain analytics, Tableau makes it easy to identify issues or problems, and from there it can help you come up with intelligent solutions or workarounds.
There are some decent predictive analytics features with Tableau, helping you get a glimpse into the future to help with your present planning.
We can’t complain about a lack of pricing information with Tableau, as they are among the few SCM apps to list their prices clearly on their website. Good for them.
This will require a bit of a learning curve, but not much.
Tableau Creator costs $70 per user per month billed annually.
Which supply management solution is best for me? Our conclusion
And so we wrap up this review of the best supply chain management solutions. Which one is truly the best for your business needs? Perhaps you agree with us that SAP makes the best SCM tool, or maybe you like one of the lesser-known names like Logility?
Either way, any of these supply management solutions will surely optimize your business processes and streamline the work at every phase of the product or project lifecycle, ultimately making your workplace more efficient and lending a massive boost to your potential profitability.