Know Your Supply Route: Could Your Supply Chain Be Improved?
If you are looking for help on how to improve your supply chain there are a few questions you should be asking. Whether you are a small business, B2B, or a large company supplying multiple large retailers there is always room for improvement.
Is your technology up to date?
Are you still using spreadsheets? There is a better way and supply chain management software is both simple to use and affordable. Do your homework and research software that is designed specifically for your company. Learn to manage your information using supply chain analytics. The relevant information needs to be easily accessible. The supply chain starts at the warehouse, goes through the retailer, and ultimately ends with the delight of the customer.
Don’t be fooled into thinking that your only responsibility is warehouse to retailer. Your success begins with the manufacturing of the products and ends with the satisfaction of the customer.
How involved are your employees?
Make sure your employees see and understand how their work impacts the customer. Train management to empower the employees and discover their skill sets. Make sure that the employees, from bottom up, understand the goals of your organization clearly. Provide opportunities for improvement and fostering individual skills. The more the employee feels connected and a part of the bigger picture, the better his/her productivity. Grow your people and your business will follow.
Are you monitoring the performance of supply chain partners?
Make sure you are constantly monitoring your suppliers. You need to have a system in place to monitor, improve, and replace suppliers when necessary. Don’t let it catch you unaware. Preparation is half the key to success.
Deniability as to where the products come from, how they are produced, and where they are headed can derail a company. Physically visit each aspect of your supply chain to understand the workers, the working conditions, and the product overall. Make your supply chain ‘clean’ and keep it that way.
Today fair trade and ethical products are on the rise. Whether you are ready to take the plunge into fair trade or not it is important to understand every step of your supply chain in order to know it is working to its maximal potential. Monitoring whether or not your supply chain participates in fair trade positions you to respond appropriately if and when you are attacked for sweat shops or praised for ethical practices.
The conditions in the workshops that supply your warehouse will create or break you in the public’s eye, they will also impact the quality of the product and the satisfaction of the customer. The casting of vision to your managers and on down to those working in the workshop are essential in creating ownership. The retailers and how they receive, promote, and talk about your products are key in the marketing and selling. And last of all the customer. Knowing how the customer receives the product is the essential last step in predicting the overall effectiveness of your supply chain. Each of these steps can be monitored using analytics, software, and face to face meetings. Every detail matters!
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