As businesses grow and operations scale up, supply chain management becomes a major part of how the business is run and what level of success it experiences. Inventory, shipping, and logistics can no longer be managed by one person on a limited schedule. It takes a department of people who are fully committed to ensuring smooth operation. The question is, how is your organization doing in this area?
5 Supply Chain Management Tips
“To remain competitive, small firms have to offer superior quality goods at the lowest prices possible. The need to minimize product costs makes effective supply chain management vital,” entrepreneur Stacey Roberts points out.
Proper supply chain management lowers input costs, increases efficiency, enhances output, and boosts profits. All of these factors combine together to pass along savings to the consumer, which further fuels each of these underlying elements. So to say that supply chain management is important would be an understatement. It’s vital to the long-term success of any growing organization.
In an effort to revitalize your supply chain efforts, here are some simple and straightforward steps you can take:
1. Regularly Update Your Strategy
It’s not enough to develop a supply chain management strategy and then toss it in a filing cabinet. This is something you must revisit and update on a revolving basis. At a bare minimum, it needs to be analyzed once per year. Doing so quarterly will yield even better results.
2. Ensure Proper Alignment
“Sales and Operations Planning has made it easier for companies to align supply chains with the business. However, companies often lose track of the importance of this alignment due to critical operational pressures and additional factors,” Lloyd Smith writes for Mindover Software.
As you reevaluate your current strategy and make changes, be certain that the “higher-ups” in your company are prioritizing the alignment of supply chain and core business goals in areas like sales and marketing.
3. Empower Your People
At the moment, data and analytics are all the rage in the supply chain industry. New software and technology is giving business leaders unparalleled levels of insight into how their supply chains are performing, as well as where they can improve. But it would be unwise to assume that data is everything.
While artificial intelligence is transforming how analytics deliver value to businesses, it can’t transform your supply chain on its own. It’s ultimately people who drive innovation. By empowering them – not replacing them – you’ll put yourself in a favorable position.
“In order to see real change, you must provide your teams with the most effective tools in a platform that guides them to work together to achieve common goals,” LeanDNA founder Richard Lebovitz explains. “And you must relieve them of the long, manual processes that keep their brainpower tied up. When they can work strategically and collaboratively, your people will deliver the transformation.”
4. Enhance Communication
Nothing replaces timely, transparent, and forthcoming communication in supply chain management. It’s far better to over-communicate something than to assume that it has already been covered. Keep all key players in the loop to ensure that there’s a seamless flow of information at every stop along the way.
5. Measure Before You Cut
In carpentry, there’s a saying that you should measure twice and cut once. In other words, you should make sure you know what you’re doing before you execute (at which point it’s a whole lot more time consuming to go back and redo). Applying this same mantra in supply chain management will yield fantastic results.
Spend a few minutes at the beginning of each morning outlining the goals and tasks for the day. Verify that all of the information is correct and then empower your team to go out and accomplish. You’ll spend much less time fighting small fires that were avoidable in the first place.
Develop a Plan of Attack
Supply chain success doesn’t materialize out of thin air. It takes strategy, vision, and time. As you look towards where you want your business to be in one, three, and five years, develop a strategy that allows you to get from where you are to where you hope to be. This is the only way to make your goals achievable.