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Evaluation of Logistics ERP Solutions – A Contemporary Look

It has been a couple of decades since the argument on whether the term Supply Chain Management should be called “Demand Chain Management” gained prominence. This very well highlights the fact that the chain is being driven by the market, indicating the shift in power from sellers to buyers. Similarly, there were justified calls to replace the term “Chain” with “Network” considering the involvement of multiple suppliers and customers in the entire system. These changes were well accepted following the rise of outsourcing and globalization, after which there was a widespread realization that this acceptance should be backed by co-operation and trust among the various parties to make the network effective and to deliver a collective value to the customer at the lowest cost to the network. Companies like Dell, Zara, Toyota, and Caterpillar took the lead followed by others, in creating this network of companies mutually and co-operatively working together to deliver superior cost and value advantages not only to the end customers but to themselves as well. Guess that in itself is a long premise for a blog.

Nevertheless, the point is back then, it required the organizations to eliminate the arm’s length approach they had with their suppliers, and form a trust-based network so that all the parties worked in sync and utilized shared data & information towards a common goal. One of the enablers which made this network effective was Information Technology which facilitated the sharing of information promptly with the required parties and often on a real-time basis. Having said that, it is understood that the onus remained on the companies to identify and form the network of companies and establish trust among them.

Fast forward to today’s world and the concept remains as contemporary as ever and will continue to do so. However, there is a change in approach. While the companies across industries continue to identify suppliers and partners for their network, they expect the IT systems too to complement them in this. That is, IT systems are expected to come with the add-ons and plug-ins which will either bring the suppliers to the network or the capabilities to connect with the suppliers from the word go. 

It is no different in the world of Logistics too. For example; a Freight Forwarding application is evaluated for its capability or partnerships to connect with ocean liners or customs agent or government portals as much as for its operational capabilities of quote management, planning, tendering or documentation. Similarly, a Transportation Management System for a 3PL industry is expected to come with a database of lanes, rates, and suppliers whereas a Warehouse Management System is expected for its partnerships or integration capability with robotics, carriers, ASRS, etc. To stay ahead of this trend, Ramco Systems has embarked on a journey to equip its exclusive software solutions for Logistics industry with the partnerships and plug-ins necessary to enable a shared platform for the all parties in the ecosystem it operates in (Logistics Service Providers, Customers, Suppliers, Agents, Carriers, etc.). Some of them are as follows;

  • Partnership with Goods-to-Person System provider to offer an integrated solution of Warehouse Management System and Warehouse Automation System, in addition to the seamlessly integrated software and execution systems through REST APIs, the strategic partnership presents Ramco Systems as a single point of contact to the customers against having to maintain multiple supplier engagements.  
  • Readymade integrators for Shopping Carts and Order Management Systems to ensure an integrated solution for e-commerce and Warehouse Management System. The addition of logistics capacity has not kept pace with the rate of growth of e-commerce business globally which is resulting in increased utilization of existing capacity and the readiness of Warehouse Management System to integrate with the Shopping Carts, which is a key determinant for the Logistics Service Provider to make hay as this sun shines.  
  • Readymade integrators for access to databases of transportation carriers, lanes, rates, and transit times to enhance the planning and tendering capability of the Transportation Management System. Also, this capability contributes to the bottom line of the Logistics Service Provider through a selection of the optimal cost option.
  • Subscriptions to industry bodies such as IATA for access to global rates database for air cargo.
  • Integrations with Environmental solutions to automate the calculation and analysis of energy consumption and freight emissions.

True to its claim of a single integrated system, Ramco Systems offers an end-to-end solution spanning operational and business applications to Logistics industry while also bringing along an ecosystem of solutions which will enable logistics companies to extend beyond their operations and compete as a network in the current world where competition is no longer between businesses but networks.