An efficiently managed supply chain supports strong relationships with customers and can be crucial to delivering positive financial results. Everything, from sourcing raw materials to product storage can have an influence over whether the customer feels they are receiving value and how well other functions – such as logistics – perform. These are our top 5 tips for ensuring that your supply chain is efficiently managed and supporting your business in relationship building and growth.
1. Make sure you’re working with reliable suppliers
If your suppliers are problematic this can affect your entire supply chain so it’s crucial to choose the right businesses to work with. Cost will be a factor but reliability should also be a focus. Make sure the suppliers you choose have a positive reputation for quality standards, customer care and whatever matters to your business, whether that’s ethical sourcing or environmentally friendly packaging.
2. Don’t stop moving
Once you have established strong supply chain management it’s essential to keep this process under review. Your industry, technology and customer expectations will continue to evolve and it’s necessary to review and evaluate on an ongoing basis so that you can stay on top of this. How could you upgrade your supply chain to better serve customers and where could innovation save you time and money?
3. Look at all the technology available
Technology has huge potential when it comes to improving the efficiency of supply chain management. Something as simple as a warehouse management system could provide previously inaccessible insight and enable your business to make better use of data in decision making. Transport management software could simplify the way logistics are managed and provide a competitive advantage. In-warehouse technology, such as automated storage and retrieval systems, can significantly improve efficiency by eliminating repetitive manual processes and providing upgrades in safety and speed.
4. Make your employees a key asset
Staff development and investment in training is much more likely to deliver a productive and happy workforce able to meet efficiency targets right across the supply chain. Investing in your people will enable employees to perform better in their roles, contribute to identifying opportunities to improve the way processes are handled and deliver on objectives and goals. When staff feel taken care of they become an asset and can provide an impetus for innovation and change.
5. Don’t forget returns management
Shipping out is often the priority in supply chain efficiency but returns management should be too. Poorly managed returns can be incredibly costly but many businesses continue to ignore this part of the process. Handling returns more effectively starts with tracking returns to identify patterns and flag up any issues and may require a review of the priority that returns are given to ensure that they are as streamlined as the rest of the supply chain process.
If you’re looking to improve the supply chain efficiency within your business these top tips are a great place to start.