A Guest Post by Lilly Miller
Supply Chain Management (SCM) is all about dealing with the flow of goods and services in a manner that is as efficient as possible. This includes all the steps involved in procuring raw materials through to the finished goods, in a way that is streamlined and provides value to the customer. The value of SCM has been constantly rising, as every business owner will tell you. Experts claim that it establishes strong communication and relationships with suppliers, helping to avoid shipment delays and minimize logistical errors.
The better SCM, the better negotiating power you get. Also, efficient SCM lowers inventory costs and improves the overall planning and efficiency of your operations. All this allows your business to deliver a high level of customer service and deliver dramatic financial success. That’s why staying on top of your SCM is so important. However, this task is not easy. To help you keep things under control and streamline your operations, we recommend you take a look at the following tips.
Review your current supply chain processes
To begin with, you need to start by conducting an in-depth analysis of your business’ current state, which should result in you identifying ways to streamline the supply chain. Next, you need to be ready to react promptly when it comes to reducing costs. Those savings can be passed along to your customers and/or used to increase your profit margin.
Remove duplicate data
In order to save labour hours and time, you need to remove duplicate data entry. This will create a system that is easier to maintain and manage. Using modern technology and gadgets, such as tablets and smartphones, data entry can now be done in the field, which significantly increases the speed of information flows and boosts customer service.
Make the most of existing systems
While there are bound to be in-house systems that you’ve developed over years which can be difficult to integrate with newer systems, you shouldn’t get rid of them altogether. For example, much of the data they collect can be used for the purpose of planning and analysis of a mobile supply chain.
Keep an eye on the future
If you streamline your supply chains, you’ll be able to get a better and clearer picture of future customer needs. The analysis we mentioned in the first tip should be used not only to improve product deliveries today, but also to boost customer service in the future. Also, options such as Trade Finance can be used to accelerate business growth and strengthen relationships with local and international suppliers without the cash flow challenges.
Finding dependable suppliers
When looking for suppliers, you should take into account more factors than just the cost. What is probably much more important is their reliability, because having reliable suppliers allows you to fulfil your responsibility in providing the best quality to your customers. So, take into account reliability, cost, standards of quality, packaging and ethical ways of doing business when selecting suppliers.
Don’t think that once you establish a stable SCM you should stop working on it. On the contrary, you should just see it as the first step in the right direction. Make sure you keep monitoring and evaluating it 24/7. Only in that case can you find ways to improve and innovate, which will ensure you’ll be able to reap more benefits.
Boost returns management
Every great SCM strategy includes an efficient returns management system, since returns deserve the same amount of attention as shipping out stock. Also, an efficient returns management allows you to re-process or re-manufacture efficiently in order to service customers quickly and efficiently. Start by tracking everything. There may be a problem with one pair of trainers, but a dozen faulty pairs in two days should raise a red flag and may indicate a bigger problem. It’s often those little things that can reveal a bigger underlying issue.
You should use modern technology to help you improve your SCM and opt for the best possible software you can find and integrate it with existing systems. Return prevention software uses key data stored within your business to help you with this. Just make sure its API enables tight integration with your merchandising and warehouse management software and never underestimate the value of a robust returns management process. While its main task is to help your business run more efficiently, it also impacts customer perception and trust in the brand and its products. If your customers are satisfied with their product return experience, they’ll be much more likely to purchase from you again in the future and refer you to family members and friends.
Having a solid supply chain system and managing it properly is vital for every business that deals with suppliers and customers. Its efficiency should improve the overall performance of those companies and most of that success will be due to technological advancements. This complex system will continue to develop and only those who stay up to date and embrace the latest changes will have a chance to survive in today’s highly competitive market.