Efficient delivery of your goods to your customers involves a lot of moving parts, and for optimal management of your supply chain, you must take many factors into account, such as the systems being used, technology and procedures. Because optimal management involves so many different aspects, improving upon your current operation can seem like quite the daunting task. But, if you focus on some core considerations, you can set a strong foundation for improvement.
Create a Strategy and Write It Down
This tip may smack of common sense and seem like it is hardly worth mentioning, but actually, many manufacturers overlook this crucial step. There is great power in devising a plan and putting it to paper. It is easy to focus solely on objectives and financial considerations, while failing to flesh out exactly how they can run their supply chain the most effectively and address those two primary concerns. In short, you need to figure out the best ways to allocate resources to meet your objectives, and assess strengths, weaknesses, threats and opportunities to your current mode of operation. It is also important you remember to regularly review and update your strategy as is called for—this is not something of the ‘set it and forget it’ variety.
Implement the Latest Technology
Businesses who manage their supply chains with peak efficiency and effectiveness are the ones who aggressively pursue the latest technology in this industry. To gain the competitive advantage, you must be using good programs early in the technology cycle—don’t wait or you will get left behind. There are a variety of mobile apps for example, that can aid you in streamlining key operations. You must also regularly review the software you are using to determine if you are utilizing the programs to your fullest advantage, or if you should invest in more technology. There are many companies that provide supply chain solutions highly customized to meet the needs of a variety of businesses, and with some careful research, you can find the perfect one for your business.
Keep Tabs on Supply Chain Partners
In this industry, much of your success hinges on the performance of your supply chain partners. Failure to regularly monitor, evaluate and work to improve your partner’s performance is crucial. Any failures on their part can be very disruptive to your business, and significantly impact revenue.
Keep an Eye on Cash Flow
Properly managing cash flow is crucial to optimizing your supply chain. Unfortunately, this is a frequently neglected activity amongst businesses, and they pay the price for it in ways big and small. This is a necessary component of any strategy you devise. Invest in quality payment technology software. Track conditions and terms of anyone you are dealing with in the chain, whether you are paying them or they are paying you. This can be a tricky prospect for someone who has not been paying close attention, and if you feel you don’t fully understand what is happening with your money, it is important you seek outside help from your CPA or other financial professional who can get you on the right track.