January 23, 2020
Good business is about connecting with your customers, and delivering a service which not only adheres to expectations, but exceeds them. In reference to the supply chain within any business, this includes the procedure taken to connect a supplier with a customer, and the systems and technology which are used to allow that to happen.
When an improvement in the supply chain is sought, this is an endeavor to meet customer demands in the best way possible, using a method which saves as much time as possible – whether this is the processing time or delivery time – and which ideally saves money and offers easy management capabilities.
Therefore looking to perfect your business’s supply chain will only be a positive for your working process.
Here are six valuable ways you can seek to improve the supply chain within your business.
1. Look to Enhance Your Distribution
A clear distribution strategy needs to be in place for your business – and then you need to seek to improve it. Your distribution network will affect every operation within your business, large or small. If you’re looking to grow and build your business – which you inevitably are – then one of your main goals should be to greatly enhance your distribution network.
You can do so in a variety of ways, shown as follows:
- Review and analyze everything within your network and see which parts are working in sync, and which are not
- Seek out communication: are all departments and software working in tandem with one another? Is there any part of the communication line which isn’t working effectively and causing disruption or delays?
- Create collections of data to help you visually keep track and see patterns and fluctuations, such as graphs, tables and charts, then you can conduct data analysis
Once you’ve analyzed these details, you will be able to clearly see where the problems are, and where improvements need to be made.
2. Gain Formal Qualifications
Having a good background in supply chain management will provide you with a firm grasp on the necessities within this area of business. You can easily improve the supply chain within your business if you have the skill-set and acumen necessary to work with the situation in the best way. Completing formal qualifications like a Graduate Certificate in Supply Chain Management can mean that you learn the valuable skills needed to organize and lead a supply chain in order to get the best results.
A formal qualification like this will also help you to better handle supply and demand, and have a cooler head when it comes to this category of business.
3. Have a Thorough Monitoring Process of Your Cash Flow
Supplier management can only be improved if you have a firm grip on your finances and your business’ cash flow. This is specifically relevant for terms and conditions of payment between organizations within the supply chain. You need to keep track of these payment terms in order to better understand timelines, as well as ensuring no part of the supply chain network is compromised or delayed due to cash flow problems.
This means that as a business, you need to understand the terms and conditions of paying your suppliers, whether this be manufacturer or a logistics company – namely, anybody involved in the supply chain who is needed to deliver functional service. These terms include knowing how much to pay, when to pay, the terms of paying, the best and most efficient way to pay them (or, the specific method they have asked for) and anything relating to expenses in regards to the process and the customer.
Knowing and understanding every area of your cash flow throughout the process is essential for a smooth service.
4. Have a Clear Distribution Strategy in Place
Improving business processes means developing sound strategies, and this includes within the supply chain. With a strategy, you can then understand how exactly you can improve the process, such as faster and more efficient delivery times, and know what your aims are – and how to best achieve them. Your goal should always be to improve customer service, in whatever capacity, so you need to realize how to do that along the supply chain wherever possible.
Having a clear and effective map to follow in regards to distribution means you can more easily achieve growth and profit through better management. This strategic move should always have improvement and cost-cutting at the forefront of planning.
This strategy needs to take into account areas such as the following:
- Production facilities
- Production processes
- Locations and warehouses
- Numbers and figures
- Supplier information
By setting an overall goal for your distribution, you can then more easily identify whether any step you take is in the right direction to achieving that goal.
5. Optimize Your Information Channels
Communication and information is key. Important data needs to be shared between all processes within the supply chain – and it needs to be shared effectively. Your channels need to be open to every step within the process. Any closed off channel or lack of communication will only serve to disrupt the supply chain.
Data needs to be distributed and available at all times, such as tracking information shared between relevant parties to ensure that everybody is aware of the status of production and delivery.
This data and information sharing is relevant in any capacity, such as a workman sharing information with a supply manager for materials or equipment needed.
6. Keep Track of Your Inventory
You need to understand the condition and capacity of your business inventory at all times. Monitoring of your inventory needs to be done in a simplistic way, where the data can be accessed easily when you need it. The most efficient way to do this would be an online reporting system which can easily be monitored and updated.
This inventory should include how much of a product you have, your expected usage and any purchase information (such as when next needed to purchase).
You should also have a clear system in place regarding what to do if any inventory items are damaged or unusable. Having this system formed in advance means you can prevent delays and deal with any damage quickly.
Having a working inventory also requires adequate staff training to ensure that employees working with inventory materials understand how to update logs and keep track of what has been used.
James Daniels is a freelance writer, business enthusiast, a bit of a tech buff, and an overall geek. He is also an avid reader, who can while away hours reading and knowing about the latest gadgets and tech, whilst offering views and opinions on these topics.