Building Your Supply Chain Technology Stack

Every brand needs the right tools to manage their supply chain effectively. 

Many brands use spreadsheets and emails to manage daily supply chain operations. But piecing data and communications together from multiple places to make decisions wastes time, money, and other valuable resources. 

It also makes it nearly impossible to have full visibility into the supply chain. Without full visibility into the supply chain, it’s hard to make truly informed decisions. If this sounds familiar—you’re not alone.


The Role of Supply Chain Technology for Consumer Brands

Our survey of more than 600 consumer brands on the State of Supply Chain found that 50% of respondents plan to implement new tools this year to increase supply chain visibility across inventory management, purchase order management, supplier management, and other areas.

However, integrating technology into any operation is no small feat—especially for busy supply chain teams navigating a relatively new supply chain tech space that has only emerged within the past five to ten years in the most effective way.

Implementing new supply chain technology can take weeks or even months. It encompasses multiple stages, from evaluating tools, obtaining demos, and budgeting to garnering approvals and negotiating contracts.

Then comes training, implementation, and the practical application of new supply chain technology.

An overwhelming array of tools can also easily paralyze decision-making, leading to apprehension about making the right choice.

This can result in inaction—teams shying away from technology adoption—or, worse, investing in solutions that ultimately go underutilized or remain dormant.

To successfully choose and implement new supply chain technology and help your team build a robust supply chain tech stack, you need to master the art of positive change management.

A positive change management plan is crucial to ensure that new technologies are the right fit for your business.

In this guide, we’ll walk you through the entire process of bringing on new supply chain technology to build your supply chain tech stack, including:

  • How to know if it’s time to look for new technology
  • How to narrow down your options and make a final decision
  • How to overcome common onboarding challenges and guarantee successful implementation
  • How to optimize your supply chain technology stack for long-term business growth.

How to Know When You Need New Supply Chain Technology

As your business grows, your supply chain naturally becomes more complex.

From onboarding new suppliers to shipping to new warehouses and locations, these changes can bring new challenges to your supply chain that manual processes simply can’t solve.

Core users of outdated manual processes experience the most frustration. Constantly fixing manual errors or chasing down lost communications slows down daily operations and wastes time and money.

For example, purchase orders not only go through multiple people for approval but also get manually sent to suppliers. There are constant check-ins through email, Whatsapp, and phone calls, with progress managed out of a spreadsheet.

This leads to siloed data, manual processes that are time intensive, and data that isn’t accurate.

The result is ultimately an inefficient, reactive supply chain that suffers from late penalties, unnecessary storage fees, last-minute air freight and other negative consequences that erode margins and negatively impact the bottom line.

Additionally, waiting until things are unmanageable in your supply chain before seeking solutions leads to lost revenue, increased customer dissatisfaction, and a damaged reputation.

Instead, start by auditing your existing supply chain workflow and processes with a gap analysis.

Perform a Gap Analysis

A gap analysis pinpoints the specific bottlenecks that new supply chain technology needs to address.

Auditing your existing processes also helps define success in implementing new technology and improving efficiency in your overall supply chain.

In your Gap Analysis, consider evaluating key metrics in supply chain:

Cost: How do you track your overall supply chain spend, including supplier costs, transportation, and parts expenses, or inventory carrying costs?

Production: How do you monitor inventory turns and stock levels to avoid stockouts? What percentage of orders are on time, and what percentage experience delays? Metrics like inventory turnover, PO revisions, and order volume can all indicate how well you’re managing production.

Quality: How do you ensure that you consistently produce high-quality products? Metrics such as order accuracy, return rates and lot codes can provide insights into your overall quality performance.

Maintaining quality is one of the most important aspects of supply chain management.

Quality Assurance (QA) supply chain technology can help improve overall performance and efficiency in this area.

What are some common challenges brands face when their tech stack is not optimized for quality control?
First, they waste time and money. Instead of using software to help them streamline their work, they are bogged down with emails and spreadsheets. This generates additional workload and inflates costs, as more personnel are required to handle the surplus tasks. Consequently, this increases employee workload and company costs without pausing to assess whether a more simple solution exists. Second, they get lost in the details and miss the bigger picture or what the findings indicate. This is a significant and expensive issue, as these lessons directly affect customer satisfaction, brand image, and operational effectiveness. All three are difficult to recover from and are too costly to waste.
Adar Granot
Chief Operation Officer at Factored Quality

Auditing your overall supply chain operations guides your research and selection process when looking for new supply chain technology. It also helps you identify risks in your supply chain and seek out specific technology to mitigate those risks.

Share your Gap Analysis with your company’s leadership or other important stakeholders to give proper context to your search for new supply chain technology and plant seeds for buy-in as you head into the next phase of positive change management: evaluating your options.


How to Evaluate New Supply Chain Technology

Clarifying who will be involved in the decision-making process and which features are most important in new supply chain technology makes it easier to narrow down your options, make a final decision, and build a case for the technology you want to implement.

Step 1: Clearly Define Stakeholder Involvement

While just one or two people in your organization may make the final decision to purchase supply chain technologies, it’s crucial to consider how all of your stakeholders will be involved throughout the decision-making process and during the implementation and long-term use of new technology.

This could include a range of roles, from Executive Management to Supply Chain and Logistics teams and even Finance and IT Departments.


Including different stakeholders in the evaluation process, or at the very least considering how they will be involved in onboarding, helps build a cross-functional change management team that ensures that multiple perspectives and expertise are represented throughout your decision-making process.

As a result, you can easily narrow down your choices based on the features each stakeholder cares about most and ensure that you choose the best overall solution for your supply chain.

Step 2: Evaluate Your Options and Attend Demos

To determine which demos to attend, consider:

Reputation and customer reviews: What do their online reviews say on G2, Software Advice, or Google?

Industry experience: Can they share industry-specific case studies or refer you to an existing customer in similar industries that you can talk to about their experience using the product?

Integration capabilities: Will your IT team need to be involved in any integrations, and can custom integrations be built?

Pricing: Are there different pricing levels for access to specific features? Is your cost based on the number of users or seats, or do you play one flat fee?

Data security and compliance: What measures are in place to protect you and your customer’s data?

Timeline to implement: What types of training do they offer, and how long will training take once the contract is finalized?

Using an Enterprise Resource Planning Tool (ERP) in Your Supply Chain Technology Stack

Focusing on ERP integration solutions can be particularly relevant for businesses that need seamless data exchange between different tools.

Brands that might not yet have an ERP but are considering bringing one on shouldn’t wait to evaluate and implement other supply chain technology until they fully implement an ERP.

Why? ERP implementation can take up to a year or more.

Brands that wait to implement other technology until their ERP is fully implemented miss out on the immediate positive impacts supply chain technology can have on their supply chain.

Worst case, brands may end up having to choose between an ERP and other supply chain technology that they have already spent time, money, and effort integrating into operations.

To avoid this, make sure that the new supply chain technology you’re considering has direct ERP integrations available, regardless of whether you already have one or plan to add one when building your supply chain tech stack.

Use A Vendor Scorecard

You’ll likely attend multiple product demos over a relatively short period of time.

To avoid decision paralysis and make informed choices, use a Vendor Scorecard to rank potential solutions on how well they meet your criteria for overall supply chain management, such as:

  • Purchase order management
  • Supplier performance and resources
  • Logistics tracking and communication
  • Reporting and Dashboards
  • Integration Capabilities
  • General Vendor Performance
Get a FREE Vendor Checklist when you speak with one of our supply chain experts.
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The more planning and preparation you put into attending demos, ranking your options, and ensuring integration with other tools like an ERP, the easier it will be to make the final decision and build your case to purchase new supply chain technology.

Step 3: Make the Final Decision and Build A Case For Approval

Building a business case focusing on how implementing new supply chain technology supports your brand’s goals and values helps leadership quantify the positive business impact.

This is especially important if budget is one of the main hesitations for bringing on new supply chain technology.

For example, our State of Supply Chain Survey found that budget was the number one roadblock to implementing new supply chain software, followed by compatibility with current systems and long implementation times.

The more you can show the Return on Investment (ROI) your business can expect from implementing new technology, the better your chance of getting leadership buy-in.

How can brands get leadership buy-in for new supply chain technology?
Showing ROI and mapping it directly to the business results your brand can achieve is the best way to build a case for new supply chain technology.

For example, explain that when you save 5 hours a week using a tool to manage purchase orders instead of manual processes, you can use that time to negotiate costs down with suppliers, which could easily save you a million dollars.
Rodney Manzo
Founder and CEO at Anvyl

You can also customize your business case with the ROI you expect to see across specific areas of your business, such as savings on:

  • Non-productive time cost
  • Percent of team capacity
  • Revenue related to out-of-stock items
  • Air freight costs
  • SaaS subscription costs (if switching from one SaaS tool to another lower cost tool) 
  • Time i.e.) hours saved per year and more.

You can also ask your account executive or other representatives from the technology you want to purchase to help determine other metrics or KPIs you can use to show the impact new supply chain technologies can have on your business. 

They may also be able to share customer references or case studies you can include to strengthen your business case.

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Once you get the coveted green light (or signature of approval), you’re ready for one of the most challenging yet rewarding parts of leading change management: implementation.



How to Implement New Supply Chain Technology

When implementing new supply chain technology, it’s crucial to set clear expectations for internal adoption and ensure everyone involved in training, onboarding, and implementation understands their roles, responsibilities, and timelines.

Appoint a dedicated “champion” from your team who will drive the project forward and serve as the primary point of contact for progress updates with the customer success manager (CSM) or customer success team.

What’s the optimal internal and external team to have in place for the successful implementation of new software?
Successful implementation requires a combined skill set rather than a set number of titles. On the client side, a champion with tech understanding, empathy, change management skills, and a holistic understanding of business needs is crucial. On the product side, high-level project management is needed to drive proactivity, ensuring transparency, consultative problem-solving, and thorough analysis throughout the entire go-live journey, with multiple mock go-lives to anticipate and address any challenges effectively.
Themah Schroeder
Partner Manager at Brightpearl by Sage

Agree on the expected time commitment for training and ensure that your team actually wants to learn how to use new technology. Explain how the software will make their day-to-day job faster or easier or show them other specific ways it will benefit them in their particular role.

For successful implementation, it is also vital to gain buy-in from other stakeholders, such as suppliers or other third parties that touch your supply chain.

Since they are not usually involved in the decision-making process, you need to ensure they comprehend the benefits and importance of the new technology to your brand.

Then, provide them with the necessary training and resources to use it effectively.

Use an Onboarding Checklist

An onboarding checklist is a valuable resource you can create yourself or ask your dedicated CSM for during training and implementation.

This checklist should outline key implementation milestones and important details for each training session, including:

  • Name of Session
  • Date of Session
  • Length of Session
  • Goal
  • Attendees
  • Agenda
  • Links to support materials

Use project management tools or set up a spreadsheet with your CSM that includes key milestones and timelines so your team can internally track progress to ensure you hit your go-live date 

Learn how Anvyl’s resources set every brand up for success.
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Integrating Your Existing Data with New Supply Chain Technology

Determine whether existing data will be pulled from external sources like spreadsheets or emails or if an ERP system is already in place, thereby removing the need for manual data transfer.

If you need to transfer data into your new supply chain technology manually, establish ownership and define processes for data integration to ensure accuracy and consistency.

To further evaluate the success of the implementation, make sure you’re tracking and comparing supply chain KPIs from before and after you implemented the new supply technology.

For example, metrics such as supplier usage, engagement, purchase order (PO) performance, on-time delivery, lead time, order volume, and labor hours spent can all provide valuable insights.

Continuously track and measure these indicators to identify areas for improvement and optimize new supply chain technology as you grow.


How to Optimize New Supply Chain Technology

You’ve made it! You’re up and running with new supply chain technology (or maybe just almost done reading this guide).

Here are several strategies to help you get the most out of your new supply chain technology as you grow:

Build a strong relationship with your customer success manager (CSM): Take advantage of quarterly refresh training sessions. Supply chains, priorities, and businesses constantly evolve, so regular communication with your CSM ensures they understand how your company utilizes the technology. This enables them to provide personalized suggestions for maximizing the software’s potential.

Take full advantage of additional training resources: Use resource centers, guides, help articles, and sign up for product or customer newsletters. These resources contain valuable information and best practices from other brands using the tool or other supply chain experts.

Stay informed on new product releases and updates: Attending product webinars, for example, is a great way to stay up-to-date on your supply chain technology’s latest features and functionality. Webinars also typically offer interactive Q&A sessions, providing an opportunity to get your questions answered by product experts.

Participate in industry networking events: Attend industry conferences and events to gain exposure to different technologies and innovative approaches to solving supply chain challenges. Networking with peers and experts can also inspire fresh ideas and strategies for optimizing your technology.

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Positive change management is critical when implementing new supply chain technology.

By planning the selection and implementation upfront, clearly identifying pain points to be addressed, and involving key stakeholders, supply chain teams set themselves up for successful onboarding and long-term use of new supply chain technologies.

Team buy-in, transparency, and clear communication regarding the reasons for and methods of change are essential. By diligently adhering to these principles and continuously monitoring, evaluating, and adjusting their strategies, supply chain teams can optimize their supply chain technology and drive growth, innovation, and long-term success for their business.
Rodney Manzo
Founder and CEO at Anvyl

Ready to transform your supply chain?

Book a demo to get started, or learn more about Factored Quality and Brightpearl on their websites. 

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