In regards to any business that deals with supply versus consumer demand, it is critical that supply consistently meets, if not exceeds the demand. Customer demand is a great thing. It translates to a consumer presence that wants what it is your company is offering. Assuming that your business pricing model is sufficient to turn a profit, this literally can mean your company has the potential to stay in the black.
It’s no secret that every business, well that is any for-profit business, wants to make large profit margins. This helps to satisfy investors and employees of the company if nothing else. After all, without profit, how could a business offer its valuable employees raises or invest in new offerings? In order, though to help bolster these profits, the business in question must have an efficient supply chain. An efficient supply chain attempts to meet consumer demand at the lowest cost possible.
What Does an Efficient Supply Chain Consist of?
There are many facets to a supply chain. These facets include the people and organizations that are involved with supplying a service or product to its consumers, as well as the information, actions, and resources that are a part of this whole process. Like any other chain in existence, it’s only as strong as its weakest link. For example, let’s assume we have a business that supplies brake pads to automotive manufacturers and consumers. This company may have excellent workers in its manufacturing plants and a great logistics system in place with plenty of trucks operated by excellent drivers to deliver its brake pads, and that’s excellent. However, if the materials used to produce its brake pads are supplied by another company that utilizes poor logistics and is therefore always behind schedule in delivering its materials to the brake manufacturing company’s warehouses, then we have here an example of a supply chain that requires an efficiency boost. Yalantis.com has an excellent article online about important technical aspects to bear in mind, when preparing a third-party logistics company that is about to enter a business-to-consumer market.
Main Tips to Ensure Efficient Supply Chain Management:
If a business aims to be efficient concerning its supply chain, which any business ought to strive after, there are ways to help ensure this becomes reality. For starters, a company should only work with suppliers for resources it needs that are dependable. This is a must. Consider the preceding example in which the brake shoe manufacturer dealt with a not-so-dependable supplier for materials it depends on to manufacture its brake pads. This brake shoe manufacturer’s greatest liability and largest bottleneck in its supply chain, literally crippling efficiency, would be the other company, which it depends on for materials, that has problems in its efficiency with proper logistics management. Since the brake pad manufacturing business depends on the second company for resources, the second company’s lack of efficiency thereby becomes the first company’s lack of efficiency. So the rule here is simple: use dependable suppliers. Let the suppliers your company depends on, have a proven track record of timeliness and consistency of quality and price points that your company can lean on, moving forward.
Of course, having dependable suppliers is great, but no business is fully automated just yet with a robotic salesforce, vehicles that drive themselves, robots to stock inventory, and so on. Every business, yes, even modern-day ones, still depends on a human workforce. Each person, at every position within an organization, ought to know their job, backward and forwards. For this reason, only hire workers who are talented, with verifiable skills, or at least provide more-than-sufficient job training for workers to get accustomed quickly and effectively to their job roles. Even with a skilled workforce, the demands of one company’s specific environment can differ from a textbook’s version of this role. So ensure to provide continuous, on-the-job training for workers, for all employees to stay current on the different aspects of the tasks they need to complete as personnel for the company.
Human employees, ones that are great at their job, are an indispensable asset to any organization. Consider investing funds for these individual representatives to apply towards advanced schooling or to pad their paychecks further. A person who feels valued as an employee and is compensated well for their job role is a lot less likely to seek employment elsewhere than a person who feels unnecessary or not wanted. Money that is put towards personnel in such a fashion, the right ones, is never wasted but will prove a valuable investment, over time.
Technological Innovations Help Maintain an Efficient Supply Chain.
Returns are another area to focus on when trying to build a strong foundation for an efficient supply chain. Sure every business wishes that every sale was final and that returns were a non-factor, altogether. This is simply and quite obviously, never the case. It’s a good idea to effectively track all returned items. This can easily be done by leveraging new technologies, such as by utilizing RFID chips, as one example. These retain more information than barcodes and RFID scanners are much quicker at scanning inventories than barcode scanners are.
The previous point is a really good one regarding leveraging new technologies. Innovations and technologies can help maintain an efficient supply chain. SWM, or smart warehouse management, just as the name implies, involves efficiently managing an organization’s warehouse. One of the ways this can be done has already been mentioned: implementing RFID chips. That’s not the only way, though. AGV, or automated guided vehicles, are more and more being deployed throughout warehouses to perform basic tasks like transporting inventory from one area to another. By utilizing an AGV for these tasks as opposed to human personnel, accuracy can often be increased, as fatigue is a non-factor with an AGV.
It’s vital to note too that while employing and investing in great personnel, utilizing smart warehousing management, enforcing a superb logistics scheme, and staying on top of and leveraging new technologies are all safe bets when aiming for an efficient supply chain, that a company needs to constantly research, analyze, and develop new ways to not only retain but also enhance its efficiency in this regards. As the great Will Rogers, once said, “Even if you’re on the right track, you’ll get run over, if you just sit there.”