The annual growth of 10.8% in supply chain management (SCM) and procurement software applications is performing better than the majority of US software markets and is worth a total of $9.9 billion as of 2014, Gartner Inc. has reported.

The procurement software and SCM markets have witnessed steady growth in the face of healthy demand for applications. Supply chains remain a key factor in maintaining a competitive advantage and fueling objectives in business growth, which include increasing customer satisfaction, business agility, plus improving operations.

The leaders in modernizing their supply chain engaged opportunities in both large and specialized operations, and in doing this boosted agility and moved innovation forward throughout 2014. SCM applications delivered during this period, as there was growth of 17%, well ahead of the market curve. New on premises licenses saw significant growth as well, though lower at 9%, with companies wanting to upgrade their supply-chain portfolio via a number of different delivery models.

The largest amount of growth was in SAP at 19.9%, this is an improvement over last year when it was also top performer, and it’s market share within SCM markets has grown to 25.8%. There is a continuation of the trend for the introduction of new and newly acquired SCM products into the market, and has the ability to upsell solutions from within the established ERP base currently installed. Although Oracle continues to be the second biggest provider in the supply chain technology market and is also the largest SCE (supply chain execution) provider, the momentum it had from software revenue has fallen off slightly, market share now stands at 14.6% compared to 16% last year.

A total revenue of $438 million means that JDA software has retained third place in the global market share rankings, and currently holds 4.4% of the entire market. It remains the biggest pure play vendor, which is focused on the supply chain irrespective of the 1.7% decline it saw compared to 2013.

The SCM market as a whole is fragmented; the top 10 vendors retain 55% of the market. The remaining 57 vendors who comprise the rest of the market saw their collective annual revenue grow by 9.6%. This points to opportunities not only in the acquisitions driven market, but also for specialized and complementary to the larger offerings from suite providers.

In a recent interview, two members of the executive staff at Americold, namely Daniel Cooke, Marketing Director, and Kevin Van Belle, VP of the IT department, were asked for their thoughts on the selection of a 3PL with the necessary IT standards.

They were told that the proposed objective was operational, and to focus on IT capabilities specifically in order to differentiate between 3PL’s. Some non-negotiable aspects of the 3PL’s operation were laid down; every 3PL should have WMS (warehouse management system), as an example.

In their response, it was established that a key point is that management can no longer manage without metrics. So, it is key that there is an understanding of they types of metrics a 3PL would use in-house, and which of these could be presented to their customers. Internally, some 3PL’s are large enough to be able to use all of the operational metrics generated by their own warehouses to analyze their operation and guide decision-making. For example, “Is there a specific warehouse which is achieving more picks every hour than the rest?” If so, how can we achieve these standards in other warehouses?

LMS (labor management systems) can also generate metrics. The implementation of LMS, which uses engineered labor standards, is still variable.

As for sharing metrics with customers, it is imperative that they understand how the data has been collected, how they are assembled to meet the customers needs, how they are provided, and finally, how near the data is to real-time. The customer could go further to ask if they need any data from logistics, and whether the 3PL can provide this information.

It is better if real-time metrics are provided beyond exchanging common EDI messages and is integrated with interfaces in real time. Interestingly, it was suggested in the interview by Kevin, that 3PL’s who are trying to achieve high operational standards are interfacing with more of their customer’s systems than previously, and data is being accessed at an earlier stage in the planning cycle than before, which is surely a signifier of the way these relationships can move forward.

Stratus line of products - Inventory SoftwareWhether you are finally making the move from a paper and pen or spread sheet inventory or are upgrading the inventory software installed on your servers, it is time to consider a more effective option. Check out cloud-based barcode technology. Our IntelliTrack specialists can walk you through the pros and cons for your operation.

Web-based inventory technology with cloud storage offers you several advantages. Take the time to review just some of the features and benefits so you will know what questions to ask in order to make an informed decision.

Real Time Data

Any authorized personnel can both input and access data immediately at any given time from anywhere via the internet. This means that:

  • Details of the entire inventory are always visible, including location, stock level, lot numbers, conditions, manufacturers and even users
  • Workflow can be monitored and adjusted as needed for maximum efficiency
  • Performance can be monitored with data available for reviewing the overall procedures and the work done by individuals

Cost Effective System

A web based inventory solution such as the IntelliTrack Stratus line of products saves you money in the longer term:

  • Little or no upfront capital expenditures; you can often use your existing hardware
  • Typically, expenses are paid in monthly/quarterly instalments as you are using the software
  • Minimal downtime for software installation
  • No need for expensive, regular upgrades of servers and other equipment
  • Little or no costly time away from the job for worker training
  • No need to pay for an IT specialist on staff as there is no IT infrastructure to install and maintain; system admin, backup, recovery and upgrades are all done remotely by accessible professionals

Results of Installing a Cloud Based Inventory Software System

You will immediately see the results of installing cloud based inventory software. Product such as IntelliTrack Stratus packages gives you complete control in tracking and managing your inventory so your business will experience:

  • Increased productivity

With the real time data that allows you to monitor both process and performance, you will be able to adjust the variables until you achieve optimum workflow. You will not just think there are patterns or trends in the operations, you will be able to describe them in detail and make changes accordingly.

  • Integration opportunities

A good inventory solution allows easy integration of your inventory software with back office systems such as accounting, sales, shipping and even HR scheduling. However, a cloud-based installation also makes it easy for B2B integration among shippers and receivers, increasing the overall visibility of your inventory throughout the supply chain.

  • Increased profitability

There are always ways to save money when you have accurate and complete data to help adjust the workflow and worker schedules. However, a significant benefit of cloud-based inventory software is eliminating the need to employ and supervise IT personnel. You can simply purchase the inventory software and professional services you actually need for the amount of time they are used.  Besides saving money, you can also increase revenue as you can focus on building your core business instead of spending time maintaining the current system.

Contact IntelliTrack to start the conversation about installing a cloud-based Stratus inventory solution.  Our team of specialists in inventory software will walk with you through a review of your operations and a discussion of the pros and cons of various options for tracking and managing your inventory. After you make a decision, this same IntelliTrack team will facilitate the installation, training and ongoing support of your new Stratus technology solution.

We recently announced that updates would be made to IntelliTrack Stratus products. Those updates are now complete and can be found in the Stratus web application.

Stratus Web Application

The following changes have been added to the Stratus web application:

  1. Improvements to the item validation when an Issue Order is referenced on a Return Order: A customer return may be a reference to a previous Issue Order for this customer. When an Issue Order is referenced to a Return Order, an item may not be added to the Return Order if it is not part of the referenced Issue Order or if it exceeds the issue quantity.
  2. Three new Issue with Returns reports: Three new Stockroom type reports are included in the Stratus web application.
    1. Issues by Customer with Returns Report
    2. Issues by Date with Returns Report
    3. Issues by Order with Returns Reports

In these reports, view the items found in the issue order, the items issued, and the items returned, as well as the net quantity as a result. This will be helpful when evaluating the net inventory as a result of this issue/return.

To reach the new reports: Select Reports > View/Print Reports to reach the View Reports page. In the Report Type field, select the Stockroom option. In the Report Name field, you will find options for the three new reports: Issues by Customer with Returns, Issues by Date with Returns, and Issues by Order with Returns.

  1. Field Chooser Additions at the Assets Data Page: New asset fields that include User Defined fields 1-6 and the Comment field have been added as options to the Field Chooser at this page—this allows you to add them to the Assets Data page grid. When added to the page’s grid, this asset information is readily displayed and may be viewed directly from the page (instead of opening the asset record to view it).
  2. View History Page, User Defined Field Information Added to the Pick and Receive Transactions: User defined fields 1-4 for a picking and receiving order are part of the Pick transaction record and the Receive transaction record. This helps the user more effectively evaluate these transactions.

We apologize if the downtime during these updates caused any inconvenience, but hope you enjoy all of these great new features.

Contact us if you have any questions regarding the Stratus updates.

Inventory-SoftwareProduct recalls have become common for many reasons, from defective parts in autos or baby toys to the accidental distribution of expired pharmaceuticals or tainted food.  Whether you are a manufacturer, a reseller or a 3PL distributor, you want to make sure your business has the tools in place to handle any product recall. Our IntelliTrack specialists suggest you begin with reliable inventory software.

Assess Your Recall Readiness

Begin by asking yourself the following questions:

  • Do you have written policies for compliance with any FDA, USDA or other applicable regulatory agencies for distributing any hazardous or perishable product?
  • Is your product traceable through the entire supply chain?
  • Can you identify lot/serial numbers for specific parts or ingredients of other products?
  • Do you have immediate access to accurate and complete customer shipping information?
  • Do you have up to date contact information and easy access to any manufacturer or supplier of products you handle?
  • Do you have a written process in place for notifying customers directly of any recall or for ensuring that the manufacturer notifies customers to whom you shipped the recalled product?
  • Do you have a written process for accepting recalls and, if necessary, disposing of them or returning them to the manufacturer?

How to Plan for Recalls, Using an Inventory Software

Good planning will ensure a smooth response to any potential or actual recall situation. Consider the following factors:

  • Data collection for product identification

You want to be able to identify immediately any items that are subject to recall. In order to do this, you must know your inventory in detail. An inventory management package uses barcode or RFID tags that collect specific descriptors for all items. It is up to you to determine the info you require, including lot and serial numbers, manufacturers, date made, expiry date, ingredients, ordering and shipping details and any other significant detail. A centralized database allows immediate access to accurate, complete, real time information.

  • Prevention

Although you want to make sure you can track any product that has left your business, it is always better if you can prevent distribution in the first place. If you handle products with expiry dates, make sure you install inventory software that sends alerts about expiry dates so you do not ship expired product.

You can also program your software to incorporate a picking process that ensures first-in product is first-out. Such a function also helps prevent spoilage or deterioration of a product even if the actual expiry date is not due.

  • Response to Recall

Using your database, and with the help of your inventory software, you will be able to track any product you have handled using information provided by the manufacturer and/or regulatory agency. If you regularly manufacture or transship hazardous goods or pharmaceuticals, you should already have specific policies and procedures in place to ensure compliance. Even if you do not usually have recall issues, you need written policies that include designating a particular person to oversee the recall process. Make sure all policies reflect the most up to date regulations. Such policies typically include a description of your company’s role in notifying anyone downstream in the supply chain and in handling recalled product if you are the recipient.

Recalls are increasingly frequent in many industries as manufacturers seek to mitigate the consequences of consumers using defective or deficient products. IntelliTrack understands the importance of being ahead of the curve in addressing any recalls of product you handle. The IntelliTrack team can review your operations, identify the operational implications of your role in the recall process and recommend the right inventory software to prevent or manage recalls.

 

Screen Shot 2015-04-30 at 3.05.09 PMOn Sunday, May 3, updates will be applied to the IntelliTrack Stratus products. The updates will take approximately one hour, during which time, the site will be unavailable.

If you have any questions regarding the update, please feel free to contact us.

Once everything has been successfully completed, we will provide a detailed explanation of what to expect with the latest Stratus update.

We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause, but hope you check back on Monday to learn more about all of the great new features!

Screen Shot 2015-04-30 at 12.30.29 AMThere has been a variety of approaches to the new regulations for the pharmaceutical supply chain, with some companies being early adopters, and others dragging their heels. Where does your organization sit on this scale?

The undertaking to track pharmaceutical products from origin to consumer, which is usually a global journey, is both complex and fraught with risks. When implemented correctly, such initiatives, known as “chain of custody,” can greatly enhance brand reputation. On the flip side, a failure to ensure visibility into chain of custody, and the subsequent uncertainties over the origins and consistencies of drugs on the shelf can be much greater than damage to a brands identity. The wrong product can mean damaging peoples health, and can even lead to death.

The big pharma companies are vulnerable to setbacks when weak links in the supply chain are discovered. These instances can become public and even lead to court cases, such as in March this year, when McNeill-PPC Inc. pleaded guilty in a Federal case regarding children’s over the counter (OTC) liquid drugs which had been adulterated.

Following the case, the FDA issued a statement to declare that they expected manufacturers to put systems in place to rapidly discover and solve any problems with medical produce before it reached shelves in the US. This stance is reinforced by the McNeill-PPC Inc. case.

Pharmaceutical companies who do not implement chain of custody are also leaving themselves open to infiltration by counterfeit products, which can have sinister and deadly repercussions. Perhaps the most commonly counterfeited product is Viagra, which is made by Pfizer. In order to counter this, the company uses RFID tags to prove the identity of its products and account for their entire journey from raw material to the consumer.

In the face of these challenges, legislators are changing the pharmaceutical industry by overseeing the implementation of track and traces solutions, such as RFID tags. This includes the Drug Supply Chain Security Act (DSCSA), as part of the Drug Quality and Security Act, which the FDA put forth and which came into law in 2013. This act is intended to lay the groundwork for the development of an electronic and interoperable system, intended to enhance the capability to trace and identify certain and specific drugs as they are sold and distributed in the US.

3plTo give an idea of the scale of the 3PL industry in the US, it eclipses the size of the gaming and beer industries, and is more than three times as big as the confectionary industry.

Recent market research conducted by Armstrong and Associates puts the value of the 3PL industry at approximately $154 billion US and it is seeing growth, which is estimated to be two or three times GDP.

The Transport Intermediaries Association (TIA) claims that in North America, the 3PL industry is responsible for employing somewhere in the region of 123,000 to 150,000 people who receive average salary of approximately $60,000. This means that the entire payroll for the industry is over $7 billion. Despite these signifiers of economic power, the industry is still not very visible anywhere outside of the wider transportation sector. This is despite its influence on the wider economy.

The importance of 3PL does not go unnoticed by shippers, from small boutique stores to large retailers, everyone involved understands that third party logistics is one of the most important factors of their business.

Regardless of whether 3PL is part of a larger combination of carriers, or responsible for the management of the whole logistics operation, they are performing an essential part of the movement of goods to every type of market. Added to this, 3PL’s provide an accessible distribution route to thousands if smaller carriers nationwide.

Besides the transport industry, the importance of 3PL has not gone unnoticed on Wall Street. The logistics sector within the BGSA Supply Chain Index, which covers the largest 3PL firms in the market, has grown by over 17% compared with the previous year, which is a better return than the S&P 500 average for the same period.

As part of the report by Armstrong & Associates into the financial importance of 3PL, it has been acknowledged that &36.7 billion has been spent on acquisitions of logistics firms in North America over the last decade. The astronomical levels of growth within the industry means a company like C.H Robinson Worldwide is claiming revenue of $13.5 Billion.

While this is an example of one of the largest providers, it is also very important to remember that outside of these companies there are thousands of smaller businesses, which combine to make up the industry. Everyone has a role to play in meeting the demands of what is becoming an increasingly diverse market.

Learn more about what 3PL can do for you.

delivery manWith trips to the store becoming more and more obsolete, there are a growing number of companies who are seeking to move into the home delivery sector. This includes giants like Google and Amazon, who now compliment their service with home delivery. The question is, will home delivery ever become ubiquitous? Or, are newcomer delivery companies walking in the footsteps of their predecessors from the dot-com boom?

A lot has changed in the delivery industry since the 2000’s, and while the home delivery industry may be inflated at the minute, things may still work out this time.

The home delivery model is now more efficient and sustainable—a lot of went wrong during the dot-com boom has been learned from. Businesses are now taking the time to grow the right way, based on developing their logistical infrastructure and planning and implementing their business models. This means that customer satisfaction is maintained at the right levels, and more importantly, receiving home delivery is a more efficient way to get the groceries than taking yourself to the shop. Building the business model correctly means that companies can actually make money while delivering this service.

The industry is not perfect however, no industry is. There is some inflation in the market and some businesses are attempting to grow regardless of what it takes, and then trying to solve the problems after. This is less of a problem than during the dot-com boom, but there are still a few companies that are following this model.

The larger companies are finding out the difficulties of the home delivery industry, too. It’s a lot different to what they are used to in large-scale e-commerce, but companies like Google and Amazon are adaptable.

While their main business relies on overnight next-day deliveries, they have some time to figure how to deliver their service most effectively. In the local delivery industry, and especially where local deliveries are required, adjustments need to be made incrementally and in real-time to ensure that routes are being optimized and that customers are in receipt of their purchase on time. This is completely different from the model of a centralized e-commerce operation.

How do you see the local delivery market growing in the next few years? Share your thoughts with us on Facebook or twitter.

Inventory Software Solution for HealthcareWhether it is an acute care hospital, long term care facility or community clinic, your healthcare facility can benefit from installing an integrated inventory software solution. All too often, the focus on primary patient care neglects the tools, equipment and supplies needed to support that direct care. Such inventory includes both consumables and fixed assets.

If there is not an organized way to track and manage these items, the result is often a delay at the point of care for the patient. The result could be a scramble to locate an important piece of equipment such as the portable x-ray machine needed in the emergency department. Perhaps a machine is down for repairs so the nurse who needs it has to try to borrow one from another unit. The wound care specialist realizes the stockroom is out of specialized dressings. The list of possibilities is endless.

IntelliTrack Inc. has an easy, effective solution with it barcode or RFID technology. You decide exactly what information you want to collect about your equipment and supplies and who can retrieve it, by query, search or report. A barcode label or RFID tag is affixed to every piece of equipment or furniture and every package of supplies that comes into the facility. The label is scanned with the information transmitted for storage in a central database. Anywhere in your facility, employees who are authorized can track each item through a desktop or mobile device.

1. Improved Quality of Patient Care

There is immediate, real time information on the location, operational status, condition, and availability of equipment and supplies needed for patient care. Healthcare professionals can coordinate their schedules and the availability of equipment, resulting in timely patient care. Also, equipment can be located and moved quickly when needed unexpectedly. It might be as simple as locating an air bed to relieve a severe pressure wound or as critical as accessing a blood bag for an accident victim in emergency.

2. Increased Productivity

Healthcare workers do not have to delay testing or treatment procedures while waiting for equipment and supplies. Up to date information about the availability of these essential items allows them to make informed decisions about whether or not to wait or to move on to other work.

 

3. More Efficient Use of Medical Equipment

Medical equipment, such as imagers and scanners, is expensive and usually requires highly trained technicians. In order to increase the return on investment (ROI) of such equipment, it is useful to have data about usage and technician availability. Such information helps you, as an administrator, plan for maximizing equipment use. Many hospitals now operate this equipment day and night to limit patient backlog.

 

4. Equipment Lifecycle Management

Your healthcare facility probably has many kinds of equipment, from imaging machines and dialysis units to wheelchairs, office computers and floor cleaners. No matter how sophisticated or expensive, all these pieces of equipment eventually have to be replaced or upgraded. It is easier for you to manage the lifecycle issues with detailed information ranging from the procurement date, price and vendor to maintenance schedules, repair records and disposal plans. Depreciation information can be built into calculations.

 

5. Planning

With inventory software on a central database, you and your management team are able to plan more effectively as you can access:

  • Real time operational information about demand for equipment and supplies, stock levels, maintenance issues and even staff availability to use the items
  • Aggregate data that shows emerging trends; e.g. changes in demand for equipment and supplies resulting in stock surpluses or shortages
  • Equipment and furniture lifecycle info for budgeting replacement pieces

 

IntelliTrack can work with you to review your operations and recommend the best inventory software for your needs. Our experienced IntelliTrack specialists can design a barcode or RFID technology solution that includes their excellent software systems and reliable, state of the art hardware from trusted partners.

 

IntelliTrack is not completely off the shelf. We do produce standard inventory packages such as:

  • Fixed Assets for equipment and furnishing
  • Check In/Out for shared equipment and tools such as laptop computers
  • Stockroom Inventory for maintaining medical, administrative and cleaning supplies at an optimum level

However, all our inventory software can be customized so it is the right solution for your specific operations.

 

Contact us to start the discussions about the right inventory software solution for your healthcare service.