Fulfillment Front and Center

Companies that are currently spending, or planning to spend, significant parts of their IT budgets on supply chain management technology are especially interested in improving fulfillment capabilities, according to a recent AMR Research report, “The SCM Application Spending Report, 2002-2004.” AMR analysts interviewed IT and business leaders in 509 companies to gather the information for the report.

Among the analysts’ findings are that automation of processes related to increased productivity and efficiency were important in 2002; adoption of SCM technology increased to include 38% of mid-sized companies last year; and the companies listed most frequently by respondents as possible vendors of SCM software were i2 Technologies, Oracle, Manugistics, PeopleSoft, and SAP.

USE IT UP

Among service companies, the report finds that 52% of retail and 60% of wholesale firms are leading users of supply chain management software. Retailers in particular are using SCM applications to improve fulfillment. The report also considers the changing role of mid-sized companies, some of which are beginning to invest in SCM to prepare for an economic rebound, whenever that may arrive.

Order management and inventory management are the most frequently used types of SCM software. Over 70% of SCM sites include warehouse management, and many WMS vendors offer a richer array of services and modules, or “execution suites.” In this arena, mid-sized companies lead the way in implementation, as almost 81% have a WMS application already, whereas only 68% of larger companies do.

The report concludes that although the industry should not expect a wild expansion any time soon, there is room for continued growth in several areas of supply chain management technology in the coming year, as retailers and manufacturers alike strive to wring ever more efficiency out of their operations. For more information, visit www.amrresearch.com.

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