Top 5 tips for supply chain management

Supply chain structures are constantly evolving and have changed immeasurably even in the past few years. Linear chains have become grids, technology has overhauled transparency and accountability, and COVID-19 disruption has thrown more challenges into the process. Effective supply chain management is essential and can have a huge impact on essential numbers – these top tips are designed to help you to improve your existing approach.

1. Make sure you’re on top of compliance

This could impact across the supply chain in many different ways and it’s critical that you’re not just aware but also proactively focused on ensuring compliance. It could be taking steps to ensure you’re not responsible for breaches in GDPR data protection or ensuring that the bribery or modern slavery protections are fully integrated. Regulation and legislation change constantly and monitoring and review of relationships and processes on an ongoing basis will be crucial.

2. Refocus your approach to procurement

There are many different considerations where procurement is concerned today. It’s essential, for example, to ensure that your procurement strategy works with the visions and values promoted by your brand, whether they are environment-first or focused on local suppliers. Make sure you understand the marketplace you’re operating in – especially if it’s overseas – and that you have a good idea of you your suppliers are.

3. Logistics visibility

Technology has provided a range of tools for speeding up design and creation processes today. It has also enabled most businesses to offer products to customers in a wide range of different locations outside of the brand’s country of origin. This has placed greater emphasis on the need for effective logistics, something that is also being supported by the innovative drive towards greater efficiency and reach. Transparency here is key – not just in terms of giving customers visibility over logistics but ensuring that where this affects the supply chain there is enough transparency so that issues can be dealt with straight away.

4. The marketing element

Marketing can have a big impact on the supply chain so it’s a key consideration. This might be in terms of establishing localised assets and services through retail channels in a new territory or identifying how opting for different distribution options (e-commerce, franchise etc) may have an impact.

5. Manufacturing considerations

For many brands this is whether to look to tackle the red tape that might be required in order to sell products into other countries. Ethical considerations have also risen to the top of the agenda where manufacturing is concerned, especially where this is being handled in another country. The World Bank publishes a Worldwide Governance Indicators list that shows factors such as corruption and political stability on a country-by-country basis. For many organisations it’s important not to partner with manufacturers in countries that fall below a certain ranking.

Supply chain management that is effective and strategic can help to improve efficiency and outcomes across the business. From logistics to manufacturing there are a number of key considerations to bear in mind.


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