Empowering Supply Chain Agility with Low-Code Application Platforms

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As global supply chains grow more unpredictable and customer needs grow more diverse, supply chain leaders need greater agility in their warehouse operations. Fortunately, flexible supply chain solutions, like those built on low-code application platforms, can help supply chain teams accelerate digital transformation and become more adaptive to meet evolving requirements.

Low-code application platforms (LCAPs) provide a user-friendly environment for building custom applications with minimal hand-coding, making software development accessible to citizen developers within an organization. Customization can be streamlined — even for organizations without highly trained software developers on staff.

LCAP adoption is already accelerating across business environments, including in supply chain management. In fact, Gartner predicted low-code application development would contribute to more than 64% of all application development functions in 2024, where 66% of companies will use a minimum of four low-code platforms, Forbes reports.

In this article, we explore the opportunities and capabilities LCAP presents to supply chain management operations. We highlight potential use cases and the benefits LCAP can deliver once supply chain leaders initiate low-code environments for their teams.

Why LCAPs in Supply Chain Management?

Low-code application platforms mean “business users with no or little coding experience, often called citizen developers, can build applications themselves,” as Amazon describes. This brings application development closer to those who will use the applications for business purposes.

Consider this: a non-technical warehouse operations manager is intimately familiar with supply chain challenges unique to their organization. They can bring their invaluable on-the-ground insights to the IT team, using their detailed knowledge to collaborate on a process improvement. In turn, the IT team, without needing extensive coding knowledge, can modify the application to serve that specific business need.

LCAPs make this possible with tools that most non-technical users can recognize and begin using quickly. These include:

  • “Drag-and-drop” visual interfaces: LCAPs offer intuitive tools that allow users to build and modify applications visually. This means users can add different elements such as forms, buttons, and fields with ease.
  • Pre-built templates: Most LCAPs offer a wide range of pre-built templates designed for specific use cases, albeit for a variety of purposes. These can include inventory management, order tracking, or supply chain analytics applications. With these templates, users can get a head start on their application development without having to build everything from scratch.
  • Seamless integrations: LCAPs typically have integration tools that enable the business to connect data and processes across different systems. This is especially helpful in supply chain management, where data needs to flow seamlessly between various departments.
  • Automated workflows: Supply chain managers can automate existing supply chain workflows, freeing staff members from tedious tasks. They can create easy-to-use interfaces for managing those processes as well.

These capabilities can provide real advantages for supply chain leaders and their organizations. Since supply chain workers know the “ins and outs” of their operations beyond what’s possible, having an LCAP enables them to effect change without the need for lengthy and costly software modifications.

Low-code application platforms

5 Advantages of LCAPs in Supply Chain Management

Now, let’s consider how a low-code application platform can revolutionize warehouse operations and fuel future agility. Here are five ways LCAPs can empower supply chain management teams, ensuring they have every opportunity to create applications that meet their unique and evolving operational requirements.

  • Real-time visibility and insights: Citizen developers in supply chain management settings can create applications that deliver real-time visibility into warehouse operations. This can include tracking inventory levels, monitoring shipments, and managing orders. By having access to this information at their fingertips, supply chain leaders can make informed decisions quickly and have a clear understanding of the current state of their operations.
  • Scalability: LCAPs are designed to build scalable applications, meaning they can grow and evolve with your business needs. With a user-friendly platform, supply chain leaders can modify or add new features to their applications without relying on highly trained developers. This ensures maximum flexibility as operational requirements change.
  • Reduced costs and faster time-to-market: LCAPs allow citizen developers to create applications without the need for extensive coding knowledge, reducing development costs significantly. Additionally, visual interfaces and pre-built templates enable faster application development, leading to quicker time-to-market.
  • Improved collaboration: With LCAPs, different teams within the department or organization can collaborate on application development. This helps break down silos and ensures that all teams are working towards common goals, improving overall efficiency.
  • Adaptability to changing business needs: LCAPs enable supply chain teams to quickly adapt their applications to rapidly changing business and operational requirements. This ensures that organizations can stay ahead of any industry disruptions or unique market challenges.

As more organizations embrace this approach, they can unlock new levels of efficiency and innovation within their operations. Citizen developers can apply their newly acquired low-code abilities to future challenges as well.

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Conclusion

Low-code application platforms constitute an exciting new frontier for supply chain management operations. Their accessibility and agility herald a new era of efficiency, innovation, and collaboration. By empowering citizen developers within the supply chain, organizations can rapidly respond to changing market dynamics, enhance operational visibility, and foster a culture of continual improvement like never before.