Buying from a Vendor that specializes in this domain is better than building it yourself


Buying from a Vendor that specializes in this domain is better than building it yourself

Today, IT technology is one of the biggest enablers of supply chain efficiency. Organizations, then, are aware that finding or creating the right capabilities is central to business success. When enterprises contemplate implementing complicated IT infrastructure, whether it is hardware, software, systems or anything else associated with such infrastructure, they are faced with a major decision: whether to buy this thing from a vendor or build it themselves. It is important to make the correct decision, or else you might be setting up yourself for a disaster.  Let’s consider the options by weighing the pros and cons of each approach.

Build it with your own team

This approach involves an IT team with the right skillset and expertise. A project manager, one that has a proven ability to deliver in this domain, would be a critical element well.



  1. This approach, properly managed, could achieve results at a lower cost
  2. The availability of open source allows for further cost reduction.
  3. Integrations, if properly managed, could be done easily.


  1. All best practices that the industry segment needs won’t be available in your solution.
  2. A key employee leaving can present a major problem.
  3. Sustaining continuous improvement is challenging.
  4. Staying on top of industry trends is difficult
  5. Industry expertise that are built as best practices are not available in this option
  6. Homegrown apps often lack adherence to solid industry grade security standards
  7. In this era of disruption, organizations will lack the nimbleness and agility to adapt to fast changing technology trends.
  8. Home grown apps do not comply with government required compliance standards such as PCI, Sarbanes Oxley, HIPPA etc.

Buy it from an external vendor

Finding the right external option starts with clearly setting the mission and the priorities of the project and developing a clear understanding of the problem that needs to be solved. A formal project charter, which has been thoroughly reviewed by all stakeholders in business and IT, allows organizations to get beyond saying they need a new warehouse management system (WMS), logistics management system (LMS), or enterprise resource planning (ERP) solution. Further, an internal pilot will also help clearly define the desired end state.  Next, the organization would need to engage a number of vendors solutions against the desired solution, then select and implement that solution.


  1. All the best practices are available in this solution.
  2. Organization is less dependent key internal employees.
  3. Talent is available in the market to support the system over time.
  4. External vendors have the ability to stay on top of industry trends.
  5. Even though you might build customizations, the vendor will continue moving the capabilities of the product forward.
  6. Solid support options available in case of a crisis.
  7. Adoption of new technologies, such as cloud, becomes easier.


  1. External solution may be expensive in the short term.
  2. Integration to other systems might turn out to be complex.

The answer seems clear: We’ve hit a stage of technology where, most often, buying a solution is the right answer. Of course, there may be a moment when you need something out of the ordinary, or you need to keep it top secret and proprietary so making it yourself would appeal. Go ahead and name it if that’s the approach that is going to change the game and catapult you to a leadership position.

Originally published at on Feb 28, 2018.

Puga Sankara is the co-founder of Smart Gladiator LLC. Smart Gladiator designs, builds, and delivers market-leading mobile technology for retailers, distributors, and 3PL service providers. SG LoadProof is a patent pending Centralized Enterprise Photo/Video Document System on Cloud for Supply Chain. SG LP is built on the fact that photos & videos are vital docs as important as POs/SOs/Legal Contracts/Fulfillment Orders that reside in ERP/WMS/TMS systems, that serve as compelling, conclusive, unequivocal proof of crucial, critical, vital operations executed in Supply Chain within/across orgs when fulfilling customer orders as well as meeting contractual obligations between orgs as merchandise is transferred between different parties that partake in Supply Chain functions & operations. And these photos/videos data should not be stored in someone’s Smartphone or Email Inbox or in their personal/work Computer, but should be stored in a Centralized Enterprise system, where such data can be pushed into super-fast, stored securely, accessible to all stake holders (CFO/Sales Reps/Customer Support/AR/AP) in an org, as well as facilitates super-fast retrieval/sharing. LP is an Enterprise System of record for Photo/Video docs & is as important as an ERP which is an enterprise system of record for POs, SOs, Legal Contracts between parties etc. that have huge legal ramifications, also as important as a WMS (Warehouse Management System) that hold indispensable shipment & fulfillment data on orders. Like how Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat etc. have evolved into social media platforms/systems that enable individuals to showcase their beauty/pretty clothes/lovely cosmetics/hep coolness etc., LoadProof is an Enterprise system that holds similar photos/videos, but for a different reason, not for show off, but to serve as compelling, conclusive, unequivocal & indisputable system of record and proof that can be presented even in the court of law, when there is a dispute between parties while they execute many facets of the Supply Chain functions & operations. Puga is a supply chain technology professional with more than 25 years of experience in deploying capabilities in the logistics and supply chain domain. His prior roles involved managing complicated mission-critical programs driving revenue numbers, rolling out a multitude of capabilities involving more than a dozen systems, and managing a team of 30 to 50 personnel across multiple disciplines and departments in large corporations such as Hewlett Packard. He has deployed WMS for more than 30 distribution centers in his role as a senior manager with Manhattan Associates. He has also performed process analysis walk-throughs for more than 50 distribution centers for WMS process design and performance analysis review, optimizing processes for better productivity and visibility through the supply chain. Size of these DCs varied from 150,000 to 1.2 million SQFT. Puga Sankara has an MBA from Georgia Tech. He can be reached at [email protected] or visit the company at Also follow him at