Supply chains are complex ecosystems of people, tools, and strategies that are getting increasingly difficult to manage efficiently. With so many stakeholders involved in the process, only a comprehensive supply chain management plan can help you improve business results in the long run. It’s not a feat you can achieve with only one major tool or technique, but rather a gradual procedure that requires a lot of time and a number of smaller steps. Unfortunately, it looks like almost 50% of SMBs either don’t track inventory or use a manual method. You must be more responsible than that and do whatever it takes to maximize the productivity of your ecosystem. We want to help you with that, so keep reading to learn the 10 most effective tips for optimizing your supply chain.
- Improve inventory management
It all begins with inventory management, so it should be the first item on your optimization list. How you do it depends mostly on the peculiarities of your business, but the most popular tactics include the following:
- Prioritize products based on the ABC methodology
- Build contingencies for pipeline inventory
- Conduct periodical analyses of your inventory management system
2. Solidify internal procedures
Supply chain managers cannot afford random operations. On the contrary, you need to come up with a set of clearly-defined rules in order to solidify internal procedures.
Jake Gardner, an essay writer in charge of business-related topics, claims that each organization needs a step-by-step manual: “That way, your employees won’t need to make decisions. They will act based on your instructions and hence become more productive very soon.”
3. Strengthen collaboration with external partners
The main reason why supply chain management is difficult is that no one can really behave independently here. You have to collaborate with lots of external partners, so we strongly encourage you to strengthen relationships and share information transparently. If suppliers and retailers keep sending you the right data in a timely manner, rest assured you are going to improve your supply chain.
4. Use an automation platform
This one goes without saying, but we need to remind you that automation platforms have become the essence of the logistics industry. After all, this is why 50% of companies believe that technological advancements have a strong impact on the supply chain, logistics, and transportation operations.
5. Enable real-time tracking
This tip goes hand in hand with the previous one as it will be much easier to enable real-time tracking with a reliable automation platform at your disposal.
It’s a critical optimization technique because things change extremely quickly in supply management, so you must count on timely insights if you want to react properly. It will not only help you to work faster but also to reduce budget-waste and increase customer satisfaction rates.
6. Improve the returns management
The way you handle returns is one of the most significant indicators of your team’s professional efficiency. This is exactly why you should improve returns management by pinpointing common product return patterns. That way, you can eliminate shortcomings and minimize customer churn in the long run.
7. Outsource non-core operations
The supply chain is so complex that it often makes even the best managers dazed and confused. With so many stakeholders involved, sometimes it’s simply impossible to control every aspect of your operations internally.
If you are struggling to handle it all single-handedly, we encourage you to concentrate on your core duties and outsource non-core operations. Although it may seem like a costly decision at first, it will actually save you a lot of time and money on the go.
It’s just like a student looking for online assignment help – sometimes it’s much smarter to outsource the job because the final result will be a lot better.
8. Find a way to diversify risks
Risk diversification is another important aspect of supply chain management. You should never rely on one supplier exclusively because you’ll become dependent and lose the negotiation power. But if you find multiple suppliers, you can behave more flexibly and ask for price reductions more frequently.
9. Diversify portfolio
Diversification extends well beyond business partnerships as you should also think about the way to modify your portfolio. You don’t want the whole business to depend on a handful of products, so you better think about expanding your offer and growing the customer base.
10. Keep an eye on industry trends
Supply chains are evolving, which means that the things you do today may not be relevant next year. In such circumstances, our final suggestion is to keep an eye on industry trends and constantly search for fresh business alternatives.