Supply Chain Application Optimizes Order Management Process with Single, Real-Time View of Orders and Inventory Across Entire Fulfillment Network
IBM announced IBM Inventory Visibility, a modular supply chain application that helps companies in high-turn inventory industries improve omnichannel profitability and customer experience. With a single, real-time view of inventory tracking and all available-to-promise inventory across the entire fulfillment network, companies can optimize order management processes, globally. IBM Inventory Visibility increases inventory ROI by balancing inventory to increase turns, while reducing necessary safety stock and carrying costs. The time, cost, and risk to deploy is reduced using a cloud-based business service architecture designed to integrate seamlessly with existing order management or ERP systems – not just IBM Order Management to quickly innovate.
Inventory Visibility helps address what IBM sees as today’s most pressing fulfillment and inventory challenges including:
- Lack of accurate available-to-promise inventory levels across channels, resulting in lost sales and poor customer experiences
- Giving away margin due to markdowns and unplanned expedited shipping charges
- Limited ability to enter new channels to grow their business
“In a growing hunger to offer increasingly convenient and flexible shopping options to their consumers, retail company consumer fulfilment processes have become increasingly complex. Retailers now recognize that investment in distributed order management (DOM) systems is necessary to manage this growing consumer order fulfillment complexity,” wrote Tom Enright, VP Analyst, Gartner. “Such varied shopping patterns generate unpredictability into a retailer’s fulfilment and inventory positioning practices…Expect some minor and unanticipated interface requirement changes to emerge during the build stage. During this stage, place a primary level of importance upon the need to understand end-to-end inventory.”
IBM Inventory Visibility provides a single view of inventory across disparate systems and silos to more consistently meet customer expectations. Real-time updates facilitate accurate inventory counts to help avoid overpromising, losing sales or incurring unexpected shipping charges. Inventory ROI can be maximized by tracking the demand for inventory turns to customize safety stock by location – and get cross-channel insights to better balance inventory.
The cloud-based IBM Inventory Visibility is engineered to detect fluctuations in demand and auto-scales without IT support even in high-browse volume businesses to support peak usage or holiday demand. Designed to integrate seamlessly with existing order management or ERP systems as well as new sales channels, it does not require long or expensive IT initiatives thereby accelerating the time to innovate and exceed business goals. The open architecture is designed to allow IT resources to make software changes and quickly deploy without significant up-front investment and to decrease time to value.
“I have seen that smart brands have learned a cohesive omnichannel strategy – inclusive of physical locations—can be a very powerful differentiator and is no longer optional as order fulfillment and speed of delivery have grown in importance with customers expecting to receive what they want, when and where they want it,” said Jeanette Barlow, VP of Offering Management, IBM Watson Supply Chain. “This level of service fundamentally impacts the cost to serve every order. Legacy ERP and eCommerce order capture systems cannot provide a complete, real-time view of all inventory as SaaS-based solutions can, and also quickly integrate into any channel to optimize profitability.”
Complementing Inventory Visibility’s release, IBM Supply Chain is increasing its focus to support new levels of enablement for clients’ and business partners’ technical staff with purpose-built training and badges to showcase their achievements and contributions to the business. The first course, “Practical Implementation of IBM Inventory Visibility,” is associated with earning an Inventory Visibility Developer Expert Badge. This demonstrates skills and experience needed to connect Inventory Visibility to enterprise apps, such as IBM Order Management, SAP, or Oracle as well as custom Java applications.