Ensuring a disruption-free supply chain is (or should be) a key goal for every CEO and business leader. This facet of operations has become even more prominent, due to supply chain troubles surfacing within the past several months.
According to Logistics Plus, effective supply chain management “focuses on one core idea: practically every product in the world reaches an end-user. The more steps there are in a logistics plan, the more efficient your supply chain process needs to be.”
The good news is, businesses can always improve the effective management of their supply chains. Although disruptions represent an ongoing threat, savvy business leaders can reduce the “degree of difficulty” cause by external events—and gain a competitive advantage if they can produce or distribute their products and services soon than their competitors.
Here are tips to keep in mind:
Build a list of reliable suppliers.
You likely have one or more supply chain partners in place. But what if something goes wrong with a vendor’s operations? Do you have a “deep bench” of other vendors you can call upon, if necessary?
“While choosing suppliers, the cost is not the only factor,” notes Inbound Logistics. “It is important to do thorough research to identify those who have a strong reputation for maintaining high standards for quality, customer-care, packaging and [who] practice ethical ways of doing business.”
Assuming you are happy with your current third-party providers, it’s still a good idea to quietly explore other back-up options.
Focus on better communications.
Problems sometime arise when a supply chain partner doesn’t fully grasp the range and scope of services your business is looking for. Taking time to communicate with suppliers more thoroughly, and to work harder on building solid relationships, is well worth the effort.
Whether you work with existing suppliers or are looking for new ones, this is an opportunity to “rethink your product lines, partner with another retailer, or find some other creative way to handle customer demand,” says CoverWallet. “You won’t know unless you ask.”
Ensure you have the right employees working with supply chain partners.
Most businesses employ purchasing agents (or people in similar positions), charged with responsibility for working with suppliers. Sometimes it makes sense to expand the number of individuals who interact with these suppliers, to keep things running smoothly. Look into supply change management training resources, designed to improve your workforce’s understanding of what third-party providers do, and why they are crucial to the success of any organization.
Revisit your warehouse strategy.
Many businesses store surplus inventory in a warehouse or similar venue. But “it’s no longer viable for businesses to limit their warehousing strategy to establishing huge centralized facilities,” notes Thomas Insights.
Customers expect a fast, seamless experience when ordering products or services, the result of having online options for buying what they need. For this reason, Thomas Insights adds, it’s vital to create a warehouse strategy that strikes a balance “between meeting customer demands for next-day (or same-day) delivery, holding enough stock to prepare for disruption and changes in consumer spending, and navigating rising warehouse costs.”
Planning ahead can prevent supply chain disruptions from impacting your inventory or ability to get products to customers.
Want to get a better grip on effectively managing your supply chain? Check out “Ways to Handle Supply Chain Shortages.”