Logistics Technology

Category Compare: Purchasing vs. Supply Chain Management

By | 4 min read | Published

Purchasing software and supply chain management software are often mistaken for one another, but both have distinct functionalities. While purchasing software automates the procurement process, supply chain management software executes logistical transactions and manages supplier relationships. This report identifies the similarities and differences between the two software categories to help you understand which one is better suited to your needs.

What is purchasing software?

Purchasing software is an online tool that allows businesses to automate the process of procuring goods and services. It includes security compliance and reporting features.

Purchasing solutions offer integrated tools for invoice approval, inventory control, asset management, customer service, and work order management. They help manage contracts, analyze spending, track sales deliveries, and monitor inventory levels. They also assist in identifying bottlenecks in the purchase process, such as functions that have high expenditure.

Purchasing software offers invoice processing capabilities as well. Procurement professionals and accounting teams can use the tool to generate invoices, track invoice status, and monitor expenses via detailed reports.

What is supply chain management software?

Supply chain management software is a software platform that allows supply chain managers to automate the entire supply chain process—from acquiring raw materials to delivering the finished goods to consumers. The software provides tools for monitoring stock levels, including raw materials, and predicting future requirements based on the current inflow and outflow of inventory.

Supply chain management tools manage material handling, order fulfillment, and information tracking for stakeholders such as manufacturers, suppliers, and transport and logistics providers. They also track the returns of damaged goods, process refunds and insurance claims, and provide planning and forecasting tools for supply chain professionals.

What do they have in common?

Purchasing is a crucial component of supply chain management. Together, these processes significantly contribute to an organization’s procurement cycle. Despite the functionality differences, both the software categories have a few features in common, including supplier management, order management, and forecasting.

Purchasing software features

Supply chain management software features

Which tool is right for you?

The answer to this question depends on your use case. If you’re looking for a tool that majorly focuses on acquiring supplies, opt for a purchasing software solution, as it will help you streamline the procurement cycle, maintain purchase order accuracy, and monitor supplier activities.

However, if you wish to manage your entire supply chain operations, including supplier, transportation, warehouse, and inventory management, then investing in a supply chain software solution would be the right choice.

Once you’ve decided which software to use, head to our purchasing software and supply chain management software category pages where you can find a sortable list of products, software reviews from verified users, and comprehensive buyers guides.

If you wish to narrow down your search to only the most popular and highest-rated solutions, visit Capterra’s Shortlist reports for the top purchasing software and supply chain management software tools. Our reports are based on an analysis of thousands of user reviews.

8 top-rated purchasing and supply chain management software

These eight products, listed in alphabetical order, are among the top-rated in both software categories.

Note: Reviews and ratings data in the product cards is as of June 20, 2022. New reviews may have been added since the publication of this article, so the reviews data in this piece may not reflect current conditions.
The products in the category comparison images are examples to show a feature in context and are not intended as endorsements or recommendations by Capterra. They have been obtained from sources believed to be reliable at the time of publication.

Methodology

To be included in the top-rated list, the products had to:

  1. Be listed under Capterra’s 2022 Shortlist reports for purchasing software and supply chain management software. Learn more about the Capterra Shortlist methodology here.
  2. Meet our software market definition for purchasing and supply chain management software:
    • Purchasing software: “Purchasing software automates the procurement cycle for the purchasing of direct and indirect goods and services.”
    • Supply chain management software: “Supply chain management software automates the flow of processes from raw materials through to delivery of finished goods to the consumer.”

Looking for Logistics software? Check out Capterra's list of the best Logistics software solutions.

About the Author

Shephalii Kapoor

Shephalii Kapoor

Shephalii Kapoor is a writer at Capterra. She helps small businesses identify the right software for their needs by analyzing user reviews for top-rated software products. Prior to Gartner, she worked as an assistant content manager at InfoEdge India Ltd. She has also worked in company law, aviation, and real estate. She is a published author and has contributed to various magazines and websites. During her free time, she enjoys reading.

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