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Supply Chain Software Survey: Off the fence and into the future

Modern readers evaluate their usage of materials handling software technology, its value to their organizations, and spending plans for expanding and updating existing applications.
By Josh Bond, Senior Editor
May 01, 2013

Challenges decline
This year’s survey asked readers about the challenges they anticipate or have experienced when implementing materials handling software applications. Of 11 top concerns, 10 saw fewer respondents indicate them as problems. The only one to increase two years in a row was the likelihood of corporate or management approval.

Last year, many readers were uncertain whether new systems would yield results, doubting whether process efficiencies would improve (2012: 39%; 2013: 29%), or whether they had the resources to implement, manage or maintain the systems (2012: 38%; 2013: 29%).
At the top of this year’s list of concerns is “integration with existing software applications.” In 2012, 50% of readers said this had been or was likely to be a sticking point. This year, just 43% are worried. Concerns over the total cost of ownership dropped by a similar margin, from 42% last year to 33% in 2013.

Usage of software applications
This year’s larger respondent base seems to have influenced the percentage of readers who claim to have certain software applications in use. In terms of warehouse management systems (WMS) alone, last year, 67% of readers said they had a WMS in use, but this year that figure was just 57%. As an indicator of the overall potential market for WMS, Hill says the smaller number is likely much more accurate. As with last year, the same 36% plan to evaluate WMS in the next 24 months.

Adoption and interest in warehouse control systems (WCS) stayed largely the same since last year, with slightly more claiming to have one in place (31%) and slightly fewer expressing interest (21%). Supply chain management and planning software jumped two full ranks from the fourth most adopted software application to second, with 37% of readers having deployed it.

Asset tracking software also enjoyed a bump from 20% utilization last year to 25%. Slotting software, which last year drew 11% interest and 14% adoption, is this year 7% for both. Presented with eight different software applications in the survey, 11% of readers said they had installed none of them, and 28% said they had no interest in any. These readers might have concluded they will not benefit from these systems, or might have already installed them.

About the Author

Josh Bond
Senior Editor

Josh Bond is Senior Editor for Modern, and was formerly Modern’s lift truck columnist and associate editor. He has a degree in Journalism from Keene State College and has studied business management at Franklin Pierce University.

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