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WISE logo
 
WISE by Royal 4 Systems is a rules-based warehouse management (WMS) system that is able to support a number of industries, including 3PL, automotive, food and beverage and industrial machinery. WISE helps users manage core warehouse... Read More
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WISE by Royal 4 Systems is a rules-based warehouse management (WMS) system that is able to support a number of industries, including 3PL, automotive, food and beverage and industrial machinery. WISE helps users manage core warehouse... Read More
 
3PL Warehouse Manager by 3PL Central logo
 
3PL warehouse manager is a cloud-based warehouse management system designed for third-party logistics companies to manage multiple customers, processes and billing schedules. The system enables access to real-time information and provides... Read More
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3PL warehouse manager is a cloud-based warehouse management system designed for third-party logistics companies to manage multiple customers, processes and billing schedules. The system enables access to real-time information and provides... Read More
 
Slingshot Enterprise Business Suite logo
 
Slingshot Enterprise Business Suite is a cloud-based enterprise resource planning (ERP) solution for midsize to large businesses. The software offers an integrated suite with procurement and order fulfillment, supply chain planning,... Read More
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Slingshot Enterprise Business Suite is a cloud-based enterprise resource planning (ERP) solution for midsize to large businesses. The software offers an integrated suite with procurement and order fulfillment, supply chain planning,... Read More
 
Contract Insight Contract Management logo
 
Contract Insight is a contract lifecycle management solution developed by CobbleStone Systems. It can be deployed either on the customer’s premises (with perpetual licensing) or in the cloud (with monthly subscription licensing). Contract... Read More
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Contract Insight is a contract lifecycle management solution developed by CobbleStone Systems. It can be deployed either on the customer’s premises (with perpetual licensing) or in the cloud (with monthly subscription licensing). Contract... Read More
 
Enterprise WMS and Interchange EDI logo
 
Enterprise WMS and Interchange EDI by Ramp Systems is a warehouse management system (WMS) that provides tools for both asset-based and non-asset-based 3rd party logistics (3PL) companies. The software has a report writer feature that... Read More
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Enterprise WMS and Interchange EDI by Ramp Systems is a warehouse management system (WMS) that provides tools for both asset-based and non-asset-based 3rd party logistics (3PL) companies. The software has a report writer feature that... Read More

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WMS360 logo
 
Seldat’s WMS360 is a modular platform suitable for third-party logistics providers and warehouse operations of all sizes. Key features include inbound and outbound planning, inventory management and automated monitoring. The solution... Read More
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Seldat’s WMS360 is a modular platform suitable for third-party logistics providers and warehouse operations of all sizes. Key features include inbound and outbound planning, inventory management and automated monitoring. The solution... Read More
 
Halo logo
 
Halo offers a supply chain management analytics platform that helps businesses plan and forecast inventory needs. Deployment options for Halo include on-premise, SaaS (Software as a Service) or PaaS (Platform as a Service, which allows... Read More
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Halo offers a supply chain management analytics platform that helps businesses plan and forecast inventory needs. Deployment options for Halo include on-premise, SaaS (Software as a Service) or PaaS (Platform as a Service, which allows... Read More
 
Conga Contracts Contract Management logo
 
Conga Contracts is a hybrid contract lifecycle management (CLM) solution that helps organizations to generate, track, maintain and report on different business contracts. The solution can either be deployed on-premise or hosted in... Read More
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Conga Contracts is a hybrid contract lifecycle management (CLM) solution that helps organizations to generate, track, maintain and report on different business contracts. The solution can either be deployed on-premise or hosted in... Read More
 
Gatekeeper logo
 
Gatekeeper is a cloud-based vendor and contact management solution. Key features include automated alerts, customization and collaboration tools and integrations with other software.   Users can manage contracts and vendor information,... Read More
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Gatekeeper is a cloud-based vendor and contact management solution. Key features include automated alerts, customization and collaboration tools and integrations with other software.   Users can manage contracts and vendor information,... Read More
 
Synapse logo
 
Synapse is a cloud-based and on-premise warehouse management solution by Zethcon for small and mid-sized businesses. This system is geared towards 3PLs and offers 3PL-centric features. The solution is compatible with Mac, Android and... Read More
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Synapse is a cloud-based and on-premise warehouse management solution by Zethcon for small and mid-sized businesses. This system is geared towards 3PLs and offers 3PL-centric features. The solution is compatible with Mac, Android and... Read More

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NorthStar WMS logo
 
NorthStar WMS is a cloud-based warehouse management system for small, midsize and large businesses. It serves wholesale distribution, food processing, e-commerce, manufacturing and supply chain industries. Primary features include... Read More
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NorthStar WMS is a cloud-based warehouse management system for small, midsize and large businesses. It serves wholesale distribution, food processing, e-commerce, manufacturing and supply chain industries. Primary features include... Read More
 
Cadence WMS logo
 
Cadre Technologies is a cloud-based as well as on-premise warehouse management solution (WMS) that offers inventory visibility and logistics management across supply chains. Cadre allows users to take orders from multiple sources and... Read More
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Cadre Technologies is a cloud-based as well as on-premise warehouse management solution (WMS) that offers inventory visibility and logistics management across supply chains. Cadre allows users to take orders from multiple sources and... Read More
 
Geneva Business Management Systems (GBMS) logo
 
With GBMS from Geneva Systems, users can track both on-hand and available inventory to help decide how to best manage inventory replenishment. This web-based ERP system can be accessed on any computer with an Internet connection.
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With GBMS from Geneva Systems, users can track both on-hand and available inventory to help decide how to best manage inventory replenishment. This web-based ERP system can be accessed on any computer with an Internet connection.
 
Lead Commerce logo
 
Lead Commerce is an integrated order management suite that offers applications like inventory management, merchandise planning, and customer relationship management. The solution helps small and midsize businesses streamline and automate... Read More
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Lead Commerce is an integrated order management suite that offers applications like inventory management, merchandise planning, and customer relationship management. The solution helps small and midsize businesses streamline and automate... Read More
 
Snapfulfil logo
 
Snapfulfil is a cloud-based warehouse management solution (WMS) suitable for a range of industries including B2B and B2C retail, 3PL, manufacturing, food and beverages and electronics. Key features include receiving, put-away, inventory... Read More
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Snapfulfil is a cloud-based warehouse management solution (WMS) suitable for a range of industries including B2B and B2C retail, 3PL, manufacturing, food and beverages and electronics. Key features include receiving, put-away, inventory... Read More

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Atlas Planning Suite logo
 
Atlas Planning Suite by John Galt Solutions, is a cloud-based supply chain management solution designed to suit the needs of scaling businesses in various industries. Companies in manufacturing, agriculture, industrial equipment,... Read More
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Atlas Planning Suite by John Galt Solutions, is a cloud-based supply chain management solution designed to suit the needs of scaling businesses in various industries. Companies in manufacturing, agriculture, industrial equipment,... Read More
 
Red Rock Warehouse Manager logo
 
Red Rock WMS from 3PL Central is a cloud-based inventory and warehouse management system for companies doing retail distribution, e-commerce fulfillment and manufacturing. Red Rock WMS can integrate with QuickBooks, manage multiple... Read More
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Red Rock WMS from 3PL Central is a cloud-based inventory and warehouse management system for companies doing retail distribution, e-commerce fulfillment and manufacturing. Red Rock WMS can integrate with QuickBooks, manage multiple... Read More
 
S2K Warehouse Management Software logo
 
Built on IBM’s i-Series platform, S2K from Vormittag Associates allows users to input necessary lead times, pricing information, and ideal inventory levels to create replenishment alerts for partnering suppliers.
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Built on IBM’s i-Series platform, S2K from Vormittag Associates allows users to input necessary lead times, pricing information, and ideal inventory levels to create replenishment alerts for partnering suppliers.
 
GAINSystems logo
 
GAINSystems is a cloud-based and on-premise supply chain management (SCM) solution designed for midsize to large businesses across manufacturing, distribution, MRO and retail sectors. Core functionalities include demand planning and... Read More
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GAINSystems is a cloud-based and on-premise supply chain management (SCM) solution designed for midsize to large businesses across manufacturing, distribution, MRO and retail sectors. Core functionalities include demand planning and... Read More
 
ViewPoint Logistics logo
 
ViewPoint Logistics is an on-premise third-party logistics (3PL) solution that helps businesses to manage various activities of the supply chain process such as storage, handling and distribution of materials. ViewPoint Logistics... Read More
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ViewPoint Logistics is an on-premise third-party logistics (3PL) solution that helps businesses to manage various activities of the supply chain process such as storage, handling and distribution of materials. ViewPoint Logistics... Read More
 

Buyer's Guide

by Lisa Hedges,
Content Analyst
Last Updated: May 26, 2018


Vendor Managed Inventory (VMI) Software

The vendor-managed inventory approach refers to a business model where businesses act as the buyers while vendors (who manage manufacturing or the supply chain) are responsible for all stock at the buyer’s location. These vendors, who manufacture products sold at the buyer’s store, agree to replenish the inventory based on the fluctuating demand and supply trends. This sort of a relationship between the buyer and the vendor is a way to ensure that inventory is well-stocked and stores don’t face a shortfall.

In a way, VMI helps avoid overstocking or shortages in vendor warehouses and also helps avoid increased expenses for labor, purchasing and accounting for the buyers. Using VMI, businesses can optimally maintain inventory, which can result in easier access to products, faster processing times and lower labor costs for stocking and replenishing products. Vendors can also employ their own staff at the buyers’ stores to ensure that product promotion is more direct (i.e., from manufacturer to end customer) and streamlined across all locations.

In this model, the primary responsibility of ensuring optimum levels of inventory falls on the vendor. However, both vendors and buyers can choose to involve a third-party logistics (3PL) provider to deliver the products. The vendors and buyers have to be in constant communication to frequently gauge the inventory levels. One way to communicate and manage inventory is by using vendor-managed inventory software.

Here's what we'll cover:

What Is Vendor Managed Inventory Software?
Common Features of Vendor Managed Inventory Software
Evaluating Vendor Managed Inventory Software
Market Trends to Understand

What Is Vendor Managed Inventory Software?

Vendor managed inventory software, or supplier assisted inventory management (SAIM), allows the supplier to assume many of the duties related to maintaining the buyer’s inventory. Rather than place all of the responsibilities of the supply chain planning system on the customer, vendor managed inventory agreements establish a collaborative relationship between vendors and manufacturers or retailers. In this case, the buyer uses the software to keep the supplier aware of how much inventory should be available at the buyer’s location at all times, while the supplier uses the software to monitor that inventory and replenish it when necessary. This makes VMI software a particularly useful addition to any supply chain management system.

Common Features of Vendor Managed Inventory Software

Using VMI software, requests are constantly moving back and forth between buyer and supplier. The buyer can immediately inform the supplier about product activity, sending electronic documents that report inventory, sales and demand data, to name a few. The supplier can then reply with information and suggestions of its own, such as recommended replenishment quantities, advanced shipment notifications and invoices.

Specific features associated with VMI software include:

Supply chain synchronization The most basic feature of a vendor managed inventory system is to synchronize sales with the supply chain to automatically send new materials to buyers without their having to lift a finger.
Customer data acquisition VMI software simplifies and automates the process of getting product activity reports from each customer by automatically acquiring them and verifying the quality.
Product activity reports The software can create an inventory plan and order recommendations that can be adjusted or customized by the buyer and automatically send a purchase order once approved. This dramatically reduces the variability of manually managed inventory plans.
Activity analysis This business intelligence feature helps users identify problem areas, opportunities for growth and other potential VMI improvements.

Evaluating Vendor Managed Inventory Software

VMI software helps suppliers reduce lead times through increased visibility between supplier and buyer. It plays a crucial role in alerting the supplier when the customer is out of stock, so that if buyers historically put in last-minute, rush or disorganized orders, these systems can be particularly supportive in smoothing out that ordering and delivery process.

When purchasing vendor managed inventory software, consider the following criteria:

  • What format/software do your customers use for their product activity reports?
  • Is the VMI software customized/customizable to your industry’s product/inventory needs?
  • Are you looking for business intelligence capabilities that will improve the SAIM process over time?
  • Do you want a locally installed program, or a web-based software as a service system?

Market Trends to Understand

The basic trends of the market are edging toward a “less is more” ideology. This implies lower product wastages, lower costs and fewer instances of stock mismanagement. The usage of VMI solutions ensures that real-time data improves sales and fixes any issues that may arise.

Here are some market trends that can help buyers in their decision while purchasing a VMI software for their business and their vendors:

Shared risk: This is an important aspect of the VMI approach. Both vendors and buyers face risk as they are equally responsible for a smooth-functioning inventory management process. For example, sometimes when vendors fail to meet the sales targets, they repurchase the goods from buyers. In addition, the buyer is sometimes acting as only the host of the product and does not have ownership of the product. They earn commissions from the sale, but only after a sale is done. This does not give them much control over the stock in their stores.

Buyers, therefore, have to be certain about taking this risk and complying with contracts set with the vendors.

High market benchmark to cover:The VMI industry is dominated by retail giant Wal-Mart, which is now a master of it. Therefore, companies that opt for this business model and deploy VMI software solutions should look at Wal-Mart’s model of gaining profits in partnerships with its vendors. Constant innovations in the VMI software market will help companies further lower their inventory management costs. One way to go would be to automate warehouse management with robots, the way Amazon manages its warehouses and keeps a tight control over stock.

Stepping stone to innovation: The next step in VMI is jointly managed inventory (JMI), which aims for the buyer and vendor to have a highly collaborative relationship. JMI is essentially like VMI regarding goals and premise, but expands further on these categories. While developing JMI, buyers and vendors have to boost their tactical planning, which involves integrating the vendor into the buyer’s point-of-sale (POS) system. This way, vendors get a detailed and real-time insight into sales data; these analytics can help them make their manufacturing and delivery schedules more accurate.

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