It can be difficult for small- and medium-sized businesses to make the switch from manual supply chain planning methods to automated, digitized processes. Many companies have used spreadsheets, siloed systems, calculators, and pen and paper for years. Upgrading their supply chain planning methods risky. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, right?

Companies that let go of old supply chain methods, however, benefit from greater insights, improved processes, optimized inventories, and happier customers. Upgrading to a digitized, automated supply chain might be a challenge, but all they need is a little confidence to make it happen. It is this resistance to change that has stifled their own growth and ability to break through to the next level. Organizations who embrace change and mature their business processes achieve results that leapfrogs their competition.

The problem

Many small- and medium-sized US businesses still use traditional supply chain planning methods such as old legacy software and siloed systems. Others still collect data manually. These companies are using the same techniques from 5, 10, or even 20 years ago.

The problem is, old-school methods impede successful supply chain planning. A massive 94 percent of deployed spreadsheets include errors, and 90 percent of spreadsheets with more than 150 rows contain mistakes.

The solution

If you own a small- or medium-sized company, digitizing your supply chain gives you a financial advantage over your competitors. Research shows that companies that digitize their supply chains can boost annual growth of earnings by 3.2 percent and annual revenue growth by 2.3 percent.

With digitized supply chains, you can also achieve the following:

  • Automate many of the tasks associated with supply chain planning, so you can reduce labor costs and focus on other areas of your business.
  • Improve your processes by tracking products more effectively and reducing errors.
  • Improve forecasting using digitized methods that provide greater insights into your supply chain, so you can make smarter decisions about the future of your business.

Why business owners are reluctant to digitize supply chains

Some small- and medium-sized business owners lack confidence when it comes to digitization and automation. Some people just don’t like change. Then there are those shocking statistics that make digitization seem like too much of a risk. Here’s one: Around 84 percent of companies fail at digital transformation, according to one study.

This isn’t to say that moving from manual to automated methods is always a smooth process. Here are some of the challenges:

  • Some supply chain software is just too difficult to use. Business owners, however, can overcome this problem with exception handling: managing events that disrupt the flow of software execution.
  • Some business owners think digitization will negatively impact their business. One-third of companies believe digital transformation presents more threats than opportunities.
  • Some business owners think digitizing supply chains is too expensive.

Choosing the right software

To improve the chances of success when it comes to digital transformation, small- and medium-sized companies need to choose the right software that streamlines supply chain planning, provides value for money and leverages predictive analytics and artificial intelligence for greater insights.

Despite the challenges above, digitization is worth the investment. It lets business owners like you overcome various challenges so you can optimize inventories and provide a better service.

Digitized, automated supply chains will revolutionize your business. You might be apprehensive, but moving from spreadsheets and siloed systems will benefit your business in the long run. Are you ready for the challenge?

About Vanguard Software
Vanguard Software introduced its first product for decision support analysis in 1995. Today, companies across every major industry and more than 60 countries rely on the Vanguard Predictive Planning platform. Vanguard Software is based in Cary, North Carolina.

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