Your worst nightmare is running out of stock and goods. Without physical products and materials, it’s impossible to fulfill orders and turn a profit. The supply chain is what keeps the flow of goods and services steady so that your business is never in an awkward position. Of course, the supply chain is only efficient if it’s managed correctly. If you don’t put the right practices in place, it may break down and stunt everything from sales to the brand’s reputation.
The boss has to manage the flow of goods and services across the entire company. While you may not deal with every issue, you are the person your employees call if something goes wrong. Plus, workers make mistakes, or unforeseen circumstances cause problems, it’s your standing in the industry on the line. Dealing with inventory and delivery, coordinating with suppliers and manufacturers, and syncing in-store purchases with online orders is undoubtedly a challenge.
Unfortunately, you can’t quit because the process is too hard. The leader must stand up and be counted, or else the business could go bust. Thankfully, supply chain management techniques will ensure goods and services are readily available while making your life easier.
Here are five every entrepreneur should know, regardless of the size of your company or its reputation.
Choose Suppliers In Line With Your Values
The first step is to pick the right suppliers. Thanks to the internet and advancements in technology, suppliers are more common than ever before. It’s not rare for big businesses to have tens of thousands partners they rely on to maintain their market share. Some sources have the figure in the hundreds of thousands, which presents another problem – sorting out the quality ones from the mediocre and substandard.
An excellent option, apart from checking references and their commercial goals and achievements, is to line up with suppliers that share your values. Not only is it important to you, but it’s an essential element for shoppers, too, as customers won’t accept items unless they tick all the boxes.
Eco-friendly products and services are in the consumers’ sights at the moment. Helping the environment is a major issue, so hiring suppliers that provide paperboard food packaging instead of plastic packaging should prove that you’re a brand people can trust. Plus, going green reduces commercial expenses in the long-term.
When you choose the correct suppliers from the outset, you won’t waste time recruiting new ones.
Create A Supply Chain Team
Bosses have a fantastic tactic when they need help – they delegate to other people. From third-party outsourcers to in-house employees, delegating responsibility isn’t running from the problem. From an outsourcing perspective, it’s an incredibly useful way to plug the gaps in your knowledge while cutting back and maintaining a high level of standard. Regarding your employees, there’s nothing better than rewarding them with more authority to make decisions. The art of delegation is a weapon that you should wield regularly.
A sticking point with the supply chain is that there are hundreds of elements to control. As a result, it’s too much for a single person to manage. Delegating, then, isn’t about trusting one person but a team to avoid people from being overwhelmed. The chances are high that you don’t have a specific group to take care of supply chain management, yet you can create one.
Getting members of each section of the company to collaborate should boost efficiency and productivity. Also, mistakes will be easier to spot and negate.
Of course, the key is to communicate openly. Without clear and concise conversations, issues big and small will fall through the cracks and result in a lack of stock.
And Train Them
Team members with responsibility will understand what they need to do and how to carry out their roles. One of the reasons you trust them is that they have shown over the years that they are capable of hitting high standards without holding your hand. However, the flip side is the people who work under them – the supply chain management staff. Assuming that these workers know what’s expected of them is a massive leap.
A favorite quote of employers is “I didn’t know.” If something goes wrong, they rarely hold up their hands and admit fault. Therefore, it’s vital to limit this excuse by training supply chain staff in the best supply chain management tactics.
Videos and graphics will play a significant role in your training program because this content does contain useful information. However, the average person’s attention span is short, so you must make training as practical as possible. Show them a procedure and get them to try it out as a dry run. The more they physically perform the act, the better it will stick in their minds.
A quality training program should introduce people to everything from the flow of materials to the flow of information and money.
Structure Tech Around Your Workflows
Structuring technology around your workflows sounds straightforward, yet lots of businesses do it the other way around. New gadgets and gizmos are too shiny and exciting to leave in the background, so bosses afford them more control than necessary. The logic is simple – tech is helpful, so it’s not going to make the processes worse. If you believe this to be true, you will experience supply chain management glitches.
Technology is a huge help, yet only when you choose the correct tools and equipment. Otherwise, it’s a waste of money. The trick is to review the effectiveness of the supply chain and highlight areas that require work. That way, you can match a piece of software or hardware with the problem. A prime example is inventory management. Businesses run out of stock and materials because they don’t know how much they have stockpiled. It’s shocking how easy it is to fall into this trap, especially when you have a big factory with plenty of storage.
The good news is that organizations can download apps that provide accurate data relating to stock levels. Top applications do this by keeping tabs on tons of information, from SKU numbers to descriptions and analytics reporting.
The latter is a powerful feature that you will want on your team. Stock reports not only show you when you need to buy more products but offer insights into cost-cutting and forecasting measures.
Involve The Suppliers
Cultivating a relationship with your suppliers is a critical part of the process. Similar to how you interact with your employees and customers, you’ve got to talk with clients regularly. As well as this, you should review and share objectives to ensure that you’re both on the same page. Among other things, this will help you to measure performance and add value.
What you may not see as integral to your relationship is including suppliers in making supply chain decisions. That’s solely down to your and your team, or at least that’s how you see it. But, if you think about it logically, you’ll realize that suppliers have access to data that may transform the supply chain. For instance, they will know what’s selling in stores compared to which items are moving from online shelves.
This basic knowledge allows the business to tweak the supply chain to offer specific customer demographics what they want on the platform of their choosing. The results usually range from more streamlined operations to improved responsiveness.
Managing the supply chain is a massive job that you should not do on your own. With this advice, you don’t have to do it alone. Doesn’t that sound less stressful?