7 Strategies to Improve Your Supply Chain!

Strategies to improve your Supply Chain

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Strategies to improve your Supply Chain article and permission to publish here provided by Claire Glassman.

The supply chain is a significant part of your overall business strategy and inventory management. An effective and efficient supply chain can help your business improve customer satisfaction and money by minimizing wait times for in-demand products. In other words, it provides you with a real competitive advantage against some companies in your industry.

On the contrary, an ineffective supply chain can be a vast drain on your resources, so it’s crucial to implement some strategic solutions. This way, your supply chain will be as cost-effective and lean as possible. 

Below are some of the best strategic solutions you can consider to maximize your supply chain’s efficiency and performance:

1. Improve Your Supplier Relationships

When it comes to supply chain and logistics, always remember that the supply chain process starts with your suppliers. Therefore, one of the strategic solutions to improve your supply chain is to evaluate and maintain good relationships with your suppliers.

There are various ways to assess your relationship with your suppliers, and these include the following:

Speed

If you need to boost your supply chain, you must consider how fast your suppliers can complete your orders. If suppliers take weeks to complete the production on your orders, you need to reorder your preferred products earlier to prevent stockouts.

If you want to keep your supply chain efficient, it’s crucial to consider how quickly your suppliers can ship your orders when they are complete. If you have a lean supply chain where you’re ordering small quantities only, it might not be efficient to run a global supply chain with suppliers halfway across the globe.

Closer local vendors can be a better choice since you don’t need to worry about the long lead times once your demand planning is off.

Reliability

Great suppliers are reliable. If your suppliers ship orders late or fail to follow their promises, it may hurt your supply chain. With that in mind, the best way to enhance your supply chain is to find suppliers that are proven to be liabilities and meet your needs.

Communication

Other than being reliable, suppliers should be responsive. The last thing you want to end up taking is a loss on unsellable items because your suppliers didn’t respond immediately to a particular change.

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2. Embrace Technology

Another strategic solution to boost your supply chain is to embrace technology. The right technology can make your supply chain visible, accessible, and streamlined.

The more you automate your supply chain processes, the less chance for human errors and the better off you’ll be. However, you have to be aware that not all supply chain solutions are suited for your company.

While others can benefit from an established  technology, you can’t be sure that it’ll meet your needs. So, make sure to shop around first and select the technology that works well with your unique supply chain requirements.

3. Use Demand Planning

If you aren’t using historical demand data for forecasting customer demand for your products, it’s wise to use demand planning to improve your supply chain. For instance, if you know that your white, blue, and red sunglasses sell best in  June, July, and November, connect with supply chain partners to ensure you’ll be able to meet the demands.

Often,  effective supply chain management involves planning everything from your suppliers and some factors like location. For example, if you’re doing business with Chinese vendors, you might want to plan your purchase order timing.

It’ll help you accommodate the holiday season and ensure that you get orders delivered on time. This way, you can also reduce supply chain costs since you don’t need to pay extra storage fees while your products sit on docks across the ocean.

4. Boost Your Distribution Network

There are two ways to improve your distribution network, and these are:

Holistic Approach  

This approach may involve reviewing vital components of the distribution network. Also, it focuses on understanding how the parts work in tandem.

Cluster Approach  

Grouping graphs, charts, and documents together can help observe the processes for a specific business function.

5. Have A Supply Chain Council

To ensure that your supply chain is efficient, it may come in handy to set up a supply chain council that provides a clear strategy for better operations. The primary aim of having a supply chain council is to align your approach with your business core goals and give directions.

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The council also helps in eliminating barriers within the company. It also improves the cross-functional communication of your business. Plus, it creates opportunities for leaders to provide good supply chain management in the future.

6. Monitor Your System

The other strategic solution you should know to build resilient supply chains is to monitor your system. It helps you keep tabs on the essential elements of your supply chain, enabling you to identify the weak points.

Inventory management solutions that include logistics management platforms and suppliers are an excellent way to determine the problem areas quickly. However, you may also implement fixes and spot the problem areas manually.

Once you know where your issues are coming from, you can determine the right course of action to improve your supply chain. Depending on your problems, it could mean switching to different suppliers, implementing good training of employees, and trying out new shipping services.

7. Practice Transparency

Be upfront with your employees and managers regarding all of your policies, specifically when altered in your supply chain process. If your employees have to find out through the grapevine, it’ll likely result in productivity loss as they’ll start feeling uninformed or unappreciated.

Ensuring that everybody is on board, keep in mind that it is part of having a well-run business. In addition, be sure that your partners and supplier are notified about your procedures and policies so that they can ensure to uphold them on their end.

Conclusion

There’s nothing you should worry about if you’re not satisfied with your company’s supply chain performance. With the above strategies to improve your Supply Chain, it’s possible to improve and build Supply Chain sustainability and resiliency.

Once properly implemented, your business can go a long way toward enhancing customer satisfaction and cutting costs. Remember that it’s not an overnight process and continuous improvement is the key to getting the best possible results.

Strategies to improve your Supply Chain article originally written for Supply Chain Game Changer and published on January 19, 2022.

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