Whether you're creating a brand-new business from the ground up or looking to streamline one that has existed for decades, an effective supply-chain strategy is absolutely critical to your bottom line. Having a plan and implementing smart solutions can transform a clunky production process into a one that runs like a well-oiled machine, ultimately saving you time, frustration and money.
Create a flexible plan
Managing all the steps and resources that go into bringing a product to life, getting it to market and transporting it to where it needs to be is complex. Develop a step-by-step plan and reference it often to make refinements. A good supply-chain strategy serves as a foundation but can always be updated to improve the process.
Extra inventory, backlogged work orders, products sitting due to lack of transportation – these are all major clogs in a supply chain that can be costly to a business. Supply-chain forecasting should be made a priority so that a business can proactively mitigate issues and keep processes flowing as smoothly as possible.
Research innovative partnerships
Partnering with specialized companies that are experts in certain supply-chain steps can help to eliminate problems while boosting efficiency and cost-effectiveness. One example is 3PL partners like Choptank Transport, which will negotiate freight pricing for truckload, flatbed, LTL and refrigerated shipments, and then manage the entire shipping process for you. Whatever partner you choose, be sure to monitor performance and cost to ensure the partnership is a good fit for your supply-chain needs.
Determine key performance indicators
A good supply-chain strategy will include key performance indicators and benchmarks of success. Determine what these are for your specific business and products. Having metrics and being able to measure processes and outcomes in a timely fashion helps reveal valuable information, including opportunities for improvement. Supply chain software can be helpful for doing this type of analysis.
Once supply-chain processes are established, it's important to regularly review them and look for ways to eliminate waste. Waste could include the excessive disposal of raw materials during manufacturing, or an unnecessary and time-consuming logistical task. Always be on the lookout for weaknesses and areas of improvement within the supply chain. Go beyond managers and involve employees who work on each step to get valuable insight into how processes can advance.