The current supply chain disruptions have forced many brands to learn more about the context of their own Tier 1 and Tier 2 suppliers, identify the needs of all the stakeholders they interact with and discover the gaps in where their platforms may fall short.
If there is one thing that brands have urgently needed in this strenuous supply chain environment, it’s the ability to be resilient so that if shipments don’t go as planned or consumer demand rapidly changes, they can quickly pivot to new opportunities.
Supply chain software provider Topo Solutions wants to aid brands in this process by providing a “low-code” or “no-code” app builder platform designed to make it easier for customers, end users, in-house IT teams and other stakeholders to manage their software efficiencies.
According to Tobias Grabler, chief operating officer of Topo Solutions, retailers currently share concerns that conventional systems cannot keep up with the fast-changing field of supply chain management. Despite deploying supply chain software systems, many of these platforms are often rigid and expensive to replace over time, thus preventing users from adapting quickly to rapid market changes. Additionally, some companies still have many processes in Excel and communicate via email with their supply chain partners.
On the other hand, Grabler says the low/no-code Topo app builder is designed to help users be more agile in creating their own supply chain platforms.
“Sourcing many different products and materials from lots of different suppliers from all over the world has always been complex, but now there are a lot more external factors making supply chain management even more challenging,” Grabler told Sourcing Journal. “There are stricter laws and regulations, trade wars, shipping disruptions, climate change and Covid-19, and there’s also changing consumer behavior toward developing more sustainable products, and heightening awareness of ethical behavior towards workers.”
With so many unknown factors, an inefficient supply chain software often adds excessive app development costs, brings about delays in implementing new processes and legally required data collection and ultimately can make it difficult for brands to analyze, understand and request app configuration changes.
But in a low/no-code environment, a customer can identify a specific requirement or change that they want to make to how their version of the software functions. And once the app is built, brands can test it both internally and with supply chain partners to collect and incorporate feedback. From there, they can instantly deploy it without waiting for any software updates.
These low/no-code platform builders are gaining popularity for several reasons. For one, they can put brands in control of their applications, which is vital given how little they have control elsewhere in the global supply chain. Customers can build and test new supply chain interfaces, applications, integrations and more in-house, but also consult the Topo Solutions team for implementation and support when necessary. From there, the customers can reduce costs and delays, and can then design streamlined supply chain apps and configurations to meet their unique, specific needs.
Users can leverage the Topo platform across various problem areas in the supply chain to create their own apps, dashboards or interfaces. For example, the low/no-code builder could be used to launch an app that digitizes the sourcing, tendering and order management process, or manages the product development process from product ideation to sample management, tracking and testing.
The platform can enable users to develop apps and tools that oversee the entire production process, through implementing corrective actions within the builder, or inspections throughout the supply chain and managing customer claims.
And as sustainability becomes a major imperative throughout the supply chain, the platform enables users to customize and create tools for packaging management, as well as social- and labor-related concerns including worker safety, environmental audits, chemical management, lab testing, supply chain traceability, corrective action planning and carbon emissions tracking.
And since all supply chains are different, the Topo app builder gives users control over industry-specific niches, so they can deploy measurement fields for clothing and apparel or chemical tables for lab testing.
“Organizations can act faster, they can adapt their tools or create new tools on the Topo platform that fit the new requirements of the business,” Grabler told Sourcing Journal. “They can test, collect and incorporate feedback and deploy the changes or a whole new tool instantly. Furthermore, it’s not only about digitizing processes anymore, it is also about having a data-driven approach and empowering your organization with meaningful insights. Finally, efficient communication and (remote) collaboration has become paramount. Many [other] systems neglect these points.”
Learn more about Topo Solutions and its technology here.