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Supply Chain Management: Software Development or Strategic Partnership?

By Simon Kidner, Head of Supply Chain Development – EMEA


Within the complex world of supply chain management, companies are constantly looking for ways to optimize their operations, reduce costs, and improve efficiency. Driven by technological advancements, an influx of software solutions promise to overcome these challenges. But among the wide range of options available, engaging with an established strategic supply chain partner can provide a more sustainable and cost-effective solution both in the short and in the long run.

The Pitfalls of Software Solutions

Technology companies and consulting firms may claim to offer cutting-edge solutions to supply chains, cutting expenses while improving forecasting and customer communication. However, adopting new software can be risky and resource intensive. The process of developing and implementing these solutions can be fraught with challenges, including cost overruns, delays, and technical issues.

In many cases, the resulting software fails to effectively meet the business’s needs and deliver the expected return on investment. A key reason for this is that software in itself rarely drives changes; typically, a company needs to adjust organizational skills and processes to yield more fundamental improvements. The software isn’t aware of the more nuanced requirements needed to yield a meaningful impact.

The rapid pace of technological change also means that software solutions can quickly become outdated or obsolete, requiring ongoing, often costly, investment to maintain and upgrade them.

The Power of Partnership

Strategic supply chain partnerships don’t just address the surface-level solution — they provide expert insight into deploying these solutions for a specific business. And then, they ensure that same expert eye monitors industry and technological trends.

Through these partnerships, companies can avoid the hidden challenges of software development and instead focus their resources on core business activities. They benefit from state-of-the-art technology and best-in-class supply chain solutions with the added insights of supply chain professionals committed to understanding and executing their specific needs of operating and optimizing the physical flow of products. Software can fulfill a task, but a partner is by your side to face challenges and achieve major wins.

APL Logistics brings a wealth of expertise in the field of supply chain management to all of our clients, underpinned by continuous significant investments in supply chain technology. With decades of successful industry experience, our knowledge runs deep: we understand the intricacies and nuances of managing complex supply chains across multiple industries. The landscape is rapidly changing; as your partner, we ensure you’re prepared to meet them. We know what a customer requires to address their unique needs, overcome unique challenges, and remain resilient.

Our global presence includes offices and facilities strategically located in key markets around the world, and our customers can leverage this extensive network and infrastructure to streamline their supply chain operations. Through this, we provide comprehensive end-to-end solutions, from global order management and Control Tower, transportation and warehousing to customs brokerage and freight forwarding.

Of course, technology solutions are a part of what we offer — but so are supply chain consulting and optimization, risk management, and compliance support. We look at your business holistically to address both the day-to-day minutiae critical to reducing risk and improving costs, as well as your broader strategic objectives.

We’ve always been deeply committed to innovation and investing in supply chain technology, from advanced analytics and predictive modeling that leverages machine learning to real-time tracking and visibility solutions. Technology like this is crucial to your own competitive advantage in the marketplace, and we’ve prioritized being at the forefront of driving efficiency and performance. In our partnerships, we offer customers access to these cutting-edge technologies — without the need for costly development or integration.

A Partner-Focused Future

Software solutions can be tempting for supply chain management, but a strategic supply chain partnership builds upon the benefits of optimization, cost reduction, and successful forecasting while providing tailored expertise that can unlock significant financial benefits. Especially as AI and other digital technologies evolve, having partners monitoring the trends, their impacts, and your opportunities to harness them becomes increasingly vital.

With APL Logistics, our customers leverage the expertise and resources of a trusted, neutral supply chain provider and benefit from leading, customized technology solutions so you can focus on driving meaningful improvements for your core business.