By now, chances are good that you’ve considered moving some or all of your supply chain technology to the cloud. Or at the very least, you’ve heard about the advantages of cloud-based supply chain management (SCM) and wondered if such a strategy is right for you.
If you’re still on the fence, this article will highlight some of the most compelling benefits that can be achieved by migrating traditional on-premise SCM technologies to cloud systems and platforms. It will also describe how focusing on workforce management solutions may be the best place to start.
The benefits of a cloud-based supply chain
Let’s face it: You’re in a highly competitive market and constantly looking for new ways to improve your supply chain, especially when it comes to increasing speed, efficiency, and collaboration with partners and vendors. Moving SCM technologies and other solutions may give you exactly the edge you need.
Specifically, cloud platforms offer many significant advantages over on-premise deployments and manual supply chain processes:
- Eliminate capital spending to reduce costs and increase affordability: Cloud computing eliminates the need for hardware and its related costs. You simply pay as you go with a predictable monthly fee, which is treated as an operating expense to help with cash flow.
- Increase scalability and flexibility: Additionally, cloud platforms are ideal for businesses with changing bandwidth requirements. If your needs change, it’s easy to scale up/down to accommodate new business volume, add new users or technologies, or meet other requirements.
- Improve collaboration and enjoy faster response times: Moving to the cloud also helps you better respond to unexpected events and day-to-day market pressures. For example, a study from SCM World found that 46% of respondents reported that cloud computing led to increased collaboration and the ability to solve new problems twice as fast as they could with on-premise SCM technology. Improving your agility can help you focus on winning new customers, implementing new strategies, and increasing your overall competitiveness.
- Minimize IT’s burden: As a service provider, the cloud vendor is responsible for managing the solution, including updates, bug fixes, and general maintenance. This model frees your critical IT resources to focus on high value technologies and processes that enhance the customer experience and differentiate your organization.
With so much to gain, it’s safe to say most organizations could benefit from moving their SCM solutions and other technologies to the cloud.
The benefits of cloud-based workforce management
At this point, you may thinking, “All of this sounds good, but where do I start?” One unconventional answer – and one that may surprise you – is workforce management.
Why focus on workforce management? Technically speaking, workforce management solutions are not part of a traditional SCM technology stack, so they may not be the first thing you think of when contemplating a cloud migration. Yet moving workforce management solutions and processes to the cloud is still an extremely effective way to improve SCM processes and position your organization to gain a number of new business results:
- Faster time to value: Unlike on-premise versions, cloud-based workforce management solutions are faster and easier to deploy and maintain. This helps you achieve real business value in a matter of days – not the weeks or months typically associated with on-premise installations.
- Minimum risk, maximum payoff: Additionally, cloud workforce management systems are extremely easy to purchase, giving the option of paying per employee, per month, without requiring complicated long-term contracts. This shift offers little risk to you, while still offering the potential for a huge return on investment.
- A level playing field: If you have limited HR or IT budget, you will benefit most from the improved scalability and ease of use that comes with a cloud solution. Consider that cloud-based workforce management solutions provide enterprise-level infrastructure as large as your largest competitor. This instantly levels the playing field and makes you much more competitive going forward – with very limited capital investment.
A true difference maker
All of this adds up to a significant competitive advantage. This is especially true when you consider that workforce management solutions consist of specialized applications for time and attendance, scheduling, absence management, reporting and analytics, and more. As a result, you gain an extremely effective tool to manage the most critical part of your supply chain – your employees.
By moving workforce management to the cloud, you give your managers and supervisors a better way to manage employees and keep the supply chain running as effectively as possible. For example, if a key employee is absent, a complication that could delay an important order, his manager receives an alert on her mobile device. This manager can then easily identify another line where over-capacity can be adjusted to fill the gap or request another employee come in to cover the shift. Crisis averted.
All of this is possible with real-time cloud data that can be accessed and used for maximum business value. As a result, cloud-based workforce management solutions can help reduce the effects of absenteeism, improve overall productivity, and control labor costs. And by providing these benefits, workforce management improves SCM processes, so you can improve your ability to deliver products and services, provide exceptional customer service, and improve margins. In turn, all of this is evidence that moving workforce to the cloud is not just a good idea, but one that can help you achieve better business results.