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Firms in the distribution and supply chain industries often have situations that occur within different points in the supply chain. An example would be the following: a manufacturer of computer mice may have the internal components for the product yet not have the casings for the computer mice. This is a situation in which the order has not arrived. Supply chain and distribution managers need to make decisions on how to get the product out the door, assembled and sent to the appropriate retail locations.The way in which this can be handled is with supply chain event management (SCEM) software. The problem mentioned above is something called an exception. Thus, the software can carry out exception handling by way of what is known as "what-if" analysis.
What-if analysis can tell supply chain and distribution managers crucial information on where the goods are, what's happening to orders in the supply chain or logistics process, and how to create workarounds to keep necessary products moving within their networks. Supply chain managers or distributors will know in advance what can happen, and will have a contingency plan already in place to deal with these scenarios.
The software also contains resolution management so that supply chain and distribution managers can resolve issues in the supply chain; supply chain business intelligence to create reports and give additional information pulled from multiple databases (such as the warehouse management system (WMS) or transportation management system (TMS) to allow a more defined view of the problems that can occur on a regular basis, as well as to assist supply chain managers on developing solutions; and notification and alerts when these situations occur.
SCEM software is typically sold as a module within larger vendor applications, such as those offered by Oracle, Infor, SAP and Lawson. These vendors can assist large supply chains and distribution networks, and firms in these industries, such as wholesale distributors, need to have this functionality in order to keep their operations running smoothly.
A common trend in North America is that of port congestion and goods being imported at seemingly faster rates, causing products to be backed up at these ports. SCEM can help these distribution firms resolve some of these issues.
Software vendors in the mid-market that have point solutions can help growing distribution networks because their software can be added on to the supply chain software. Typically, this would include WMS, TMS, and supplier relationship management software. Vendors of these include Highjump, Demantra and Click Commerce.
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