Companies are increasing their investments in equipment and systems that keep track of inventory and customer information and improve order fulfillment, according to an annual market report from MHI. However, these companies don’t always seek the guidance they need to make wise choices. Their spending is a response to the need to contain operational costs, improve responsiveness to customer demands and increase production capacity and capabilities.
The highest investments are made by the transportation, warehousing, wholesale trade, computer and electronic manufacturing industries, as well as chemical and pharmaceutical industries. These are the companies affected most by growing consumer demand for new products with shorter life cycles.
“Customer education should be a high priority for supply chain and material handling companies, as many customers have cited that they have a low interest in some products and solutions despite the fact that many of them solved some of the key operational challenges that they are reporting,” the report states. “For example, only seven percent of companies reported interest in investing in software solutions; however many of these companies report interest in improving order fulfillment and shipping accuracy and reducing associated costs, improving collaboration between internal departments, and improving inventory visibility.”
The report also indicates that many companies purchase equipment and systems without using consulting or integration services to offer guidance.
“Though 70 percent of companies are investing in supply chain equipment and systems, only 15% are investing in systems integrators and consulting to help implement them,” the authors continue. “This is despite the fact that one of the key operation challenges faced is workforce skills gaps or lack of available talent. These customers need to have a clear understanding of how they may benefit from correctly applied software solutions in order to make the most of their investments.”