In the CeMAT office, we found that nearly every post we cover has a common theme; cost savings are created through automation.
Technologies that bend with the power of automation help make backend processes more efficient, and because of this, finance executives across the globe are rejoicing at the potential savings automation will bring. Forbes reported last year how robotics are already helping businesses replace high-volume, low value-added tasks with standardised, automated processes.
This post looks at a 9 step process to help you choose the right automation software to help you build a more efficient supply chain.
1. Research, research, research
Do a quick online search of “best supply chain automation software” and you’ll be overloaded with information. Nonetheless, it’s an important step you need to take to understand your options. This way, you’ll get an initial insight on who is offering what which will make it easier to narrow down your choices further down the track.
2. Ask around
Ask trusted friends and colleagues for insight into what is and isn’t working for them in their business. Learning about users experience directly from platform users will provide you will valuable insight. Ask them what their pain points are, and how the platform has produced efficiencies. Remember: someone’s most you have the opportunity to learn first hand from other users, so ask as many questions as possible and consider as many scenarios as possible.
3. Attend industry events
Industry events let you view the latest and greatest supply chain automation systems that can help your team reach its goals. Sign up to see the systems in action in person at a demonstration near your business. This will give you a good idea of how the platform functions and how its features will integrate into any legacy systems you may still need.
4. Narrow your choices down to three
Once you have your three choices that meet your identified needs, write a pro and con list. With this list you will probably be able to narrow it down even further, making the final decision easier. Before you get to this stage, you’ll need to have developed a clear idea of what business needs your automation platform will be serving. Make sure you factor these needs into your decision making process, as the last thing you’ll want is to purchase expensive software only to find it can’t perform a critical task you desperately needed.
5. Try before you buy
Some companies will give you a free trial of their product. Your free trial period is the time where you can see if the system is friendly, easy to teach your staff, checkout their training tools and actually see if it shows the data you want to see on your shared sales and marketing dashboard. This will give you the perfect opportunity to see if it fits all your business needs in real-time
6. Ask questions
Use the company’s sales team and ask them for examples of the system working for a company similar to yours, they might even put you in touch with one of their customers! Just like your company’s sales team, this company’s sales team need to get you across the line. So don’t be afraid to ask some curly questions.
7. Discuss it with your team
When you’ve found the system that meets your identified needs and you have given it a test for yourself, go back to your teams. Get the team to trial it and provide feedback.
8. Ask more questions
Go back to the company’s sales team and ask more specific questions that may have cropped up during the trial period. If they can help you answer and find solutions to your concerns they’re likely a good fit.
9. Don’t forget
Supply chain automation systems help you scale and measure your business. They’re a system to help, not hinder your efforts. Don’t underestimate how important correct implementation and training is to a successful end-to-end integration, the success of a system relies on proper training of its users.