Why Aren’t Supply Chain Management Systems User Friendly?

more on supply chain managementUser-friendly supply chain management is not always at the forefront of design or purchase. Actually, just putting the phrase out there is akin to saying something like “the easiest walk through the Sahara with no water or protective gear, ever.”

Many enterprise-class apps don’t design with the user in mind. Why is that? Don’t get me wrong, many of these types of software yield incredible power for a solid group of end-users – but solid is the problem. Learning enterprise-level software can add another deep layer of training and responsibilities for employees who are often already burdened with more work than they can handle.

Let’s face it – enterprise-level supply chain management apps don’t make the end user a priority because they don’t have to. Ideally, when a business with a wide user base and cloud becomes collectively disenchanted with enterprise-level solutions, smaller solutions should be jumping at the chance for new business.

It Doesn’t Really Work That Way.

The CIO focus is generally on ‘I throat to choke’ – meaning, businesses can buy almost all their enterprise level solutions from larger organizations, keeping leverage strong with one software vendor. It’s about ease of use, and in some cases a price break. CIOs should be focused on usability, innovation and functional fit for the business as a whole rather than what’s easy or what provides the most leverage.

Why is User Friendly Supply Chain Management a Hassle?

Consider the shaky start of a site like Healthcare.gov. The usability of the site was absolutely critical from the get-go. Universal healthcare is something most folks are generally shaky about, and the site just wasn’t designed with an already apprehensive user in mind. Lack of load time, bumps, creaks and severs generally not designed for high load sent users running in the other direction.

Supply chain management and tech are no different. People who are operating supply chain software shouldn’t need to get a PhD in rocket science to figure out the process or the software. The problem with much supply chain management software is that users are tasked with supply chain roles and tasks without understanding how they contribute to the big picture. This occurs because of a lack of training on the company side as well as the code know-how of the end user.

Think about it – people with no software knowledge will easily break the most advanced system. The #1 rule of software coding should always be to code for the lowest common denominator. It’s not about having faith that anyone can learn your software with “the right training” – it’s about putting the business focus and time back on productivity and morale.

Companies who aren’t purchasing supply chain management software or working with their employees to make productivity and higher morale possible are shooting themselves in the foot. And in the case of paying for and developing relationships with huge enterprise level software companies, it could be an expensive lesson to learn.


About Brad Forester


  1. Yes, Companies need to start investing in supply chain infrastructures to maintain competitiveness.