The supply chain is an essential part of business management, and a single disruption in the process has a domino effect on the overall operations. Problems in the supply chain may lead to rising logistics costs, poor inventory management, delayed production and delivery, poor customer experience, and non-compliance.
The coronavirus pandemic also had an impact on the global supply chain. In a survey by Statista, around 20% of industry professionals reported bottlenecks caused by COVID-19. Approximately 11% percent of businesses reported subsequent cancellation of orders.
No matter how efficient your supply chain is, there is always room for improvement as complacency badly affects your business growth. Optimizing the process’s management is not a one-time job; it needs continuous review and enhancement. Frequently collecting and analyzing data will help identify underperforming areas you can invest in and fix. That said, listed below are some other ways to make your supply chain more efficient, save more on cost, and increase the ability to provide a better experience to your customers.
Develop occupational competencies
To take complete charge of the process, you need to understand each part of supply chain management (SCM). Obtaining higher education, such as a graduate degree in the subject, can help you develop professional competencies to streamline managerial tasks related to contacting suppliers and customers, managing inventory and payments, and order fulfillment. It will give you the know-how of best practices for making SCM more efficient in your business model.
Fortunately, you can also enroll in such courses/degrees on the internet to speed up the learning process. These programs specially cater to facilitate professionals with limited time on their plate.
Automate your inventory tracking process
Increasing inventory visibility is crucial for improving transparency across your logistic operations. Frequent assessment of your stock will present a real-time picture of which products are available and which ones need to be restocked. It will also help you locate products in your warehouse, track when they leave and prepare forecasts. You can mitigate the risk of inventory shrinkage, overstocking, or deadstock and save your inventory from becoming your capital investment’s graveyard.
So, automate your inventory management system. You can do this by employing cloud-based software and barcodes to track merchandise. Automation will also help you reduce human hours lost on manual work and keep operating costs low.
Build rapport with your suppliers
Developing strong professional relationships with the key suppliers has a long-term impact on your supply chain as it helps reduce issues in availability, delivery, and quality. Trusting a supplier leads to exploring new ideas and opens up opportunities for mutually-beneficial financial relationships. A healthy working association with suppliers also minimizes the risk of price volatility as your vendor will keep you informed about the upcoming fluctuations in market prices.
Besides building good human relationships, invest in an efficient supplier management system to track payments, set reminders for yourself and your suppliers, and streamline communication.
Automate the supply chain management process
Using robots can change the entire process by making it more accurate. You can also speed up high-volume repetitive tasks by 99%. Employing innovative technology can reduce labor costs and enhance stability in the long run. Digitalization and robots will reduce the risk of employee injury, increase access to difficult spaces in the warehouse, and ease the tedious steps of locating, retrieving, sorting and packing the products.
Implement the latest management software
Choosing the right software and tech solutions as per your business requirements is necessary to boost the efficiency of your supply chain. Using software will increase interdepartmental coordination within your company and with external stakeholders, including vendors, shipping companies, customers, and suppliers. The software will allow managers to create more accurate reports and compelling visualization for better business decision-making.
Outsource the process
If you own a small business, adopting technology and employing modern equipment can be uneconomical in the beginning. Similarly, you may not have enough resources to hire a dedicated in-house team. In that case, partnering with a reliable third-party supply chain management company can prove beneficial. Take the example of Amazon, which facilitates many vendors and customers to connect and takes all the hassle of delivering worldwide using its extensive digital tools.
You won’t have to spend on inventory, labor, warehouse costs, and transportation by outsourcing SCM. The third-party company will provide their expertise for strategic oversight across your supply chain, and you can use your time, energy, and competencies in other areas of your business, such as marketing and providing better customer support.
Reduce your carbon footprint
Integrating green initiatives across your supply chain is the new global concept towards sustainability. It plays an important in reducing waste and logistics costs. By using environmentally-friendly packing materials, you can reduce waste and operational costs. So, go paperless and switch to using recyclable materials. Adopting green design will also increase your global competitiveness.
Blending effectiveness with efficiency can have a long-term impact on your supply chain management. This article mentions a few ways to get an ideal mix of both. Automate your processes, develop occupational competencies and work on your relationship with suppliers. If all else fails, consider outsourcing the management process to a third-party company while you focus on improving other aspects of your business.