Mistakes to Avoid in Supply Chain Software Selection

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Mary: Hi, everyone. Welcome to 3 Minutes in the Loop, the bite-sized video series where you can stock up on the latest supply chain insights, strategies, and news in the time it takes to get your caffeine fix. I’m your host, Mary Vasile, and today we’re covering three mistakes to avoid when choosing a supply chain software vendor. Our special guest is Bob Bryant, Vice President of Customer Success here at ToolsGroup. Bob, welcome to 3 Minutes in the Loop.

Bob: Thank you, Mary. Glad to be here.

Mary: Let’s begin with some quick background information. Can you tell our viewers why it’s so critical for businesses to pick the right supply chain software vendor?

Bob: Sure. Choosing the right supply chain technology isn’t just about the technology. When you choose a software vendor, you want to choose a partner. Someone that will work with you and will meet your current and future business objectives. You make the wrong choice of partner, and that technology could cause some long-term damage to your business.

Mary: Okay. Piggybacking off the issue of making wrong choices, what are some of the biggest supply chain software selection mistakes to avoid?

Bob: Sure. One is emphasizing the features over the business objectives. It’s a common mistake made in software selection. Oftentimes, they start the selection process by assuming everyone knows what features the organization needs to meet its objectives. Sometimes it’s assumed that everyone understands the objectives when no one understands them in the first place.

So you want to focus on those challenges you need to solve instead of features within the products. For example, let’s say excess inventory is an issue, but you want to manage that inventory while preserving your service levels. You want to keep that high customer service and satisfaction levels that your customers have been accustomed to. You have to start with that objective and then explore which vendors can work with you to meet those objectives.

Mary: Okay. That’s a good starting point. Considering some other key preparation steps involved, what other mistakes should businesses be on the lookout for in the software selection process?

Bob: We think that one key area is not doing a test drive before buying. You wouldn’t marry someone unless you’ve met them, spent some time with them, and really get to understand what the relationship is all about, whether your values are aligned. And that’s the same with the vendor. Your values have to be aligned, and then you have to take some subset of your business data, work it into a model, and try that software out via a proof of concept (POC) to make sure it meets your goals. You also want to make sure you get a handle on what it will take to fully implement it, roll it out, and manage the change in your organization.

Another point I think I probably neglected to mention, that I want to bring up is looking at long-term success. You want to look at the long-term success of your business. Where are you starting, how are you going to mature, and how are you going to use both the solution and the partnership over a period of time? Gartner, IDC, and other analysts will tell you that they have maturity models. It’s important that you know where you’re starting and where you are going so you can proceed to be best-in-class, and the best in your industry.

Mary: All right. There you have it. So, we’re looking to assess business objectives ahead of time, involve the right stakeholders, and choose a vendor dedicated to long-term success. Those are three measurable outcomes of making the right vendor choice. Thank you so much for those insights, Bob, and thank you for joining us today.

Bob: Thank you, Mary. It’s been a delight.

Mary: And thank you for watching. Now, you’re in the loop. See you next time.