Supply chain business can be difficult to get into, and finding success can be much harder. Between the rise of globalization and constantly shifting customer demand, today’s supply chain operations are very different from the past. However, this doesn’t mean that we can’t rely on the experience of those that have come before us to get to where we want to go. In fact, the best supply chain practices are rooted in age-old principles. Below are some of them.
Prepare and do your homework
For new entries, the very first thing you should be doing is researching everything about what you’re getting into—from your chosen industry, to the general good practices. The former is especially important, as the flow of an industry’s supply chain is heavily affected by things like trends, costs, and, most importantly, customer expectation. For example, since the fashion industry has been one of the least sustainable industries in the global market, customers are expecting that supply chains will also do their part to contribute to a greener society.
As for knowing the general good practices, well, there’s a lot to be learned from the words of an industry expert. Vidya Netrakanti, chief operating officer and CEO of Optessa Inc., advises newcomers to keep business and personal finances separate. She even discusses the importance of investing in connections and your employees, especially during a crisis.
Verify your designs and nip problems in the bud
When it comes to manufacturing products, nothing is more important than quality. As such, before you ship them to your clients, you have to ensure that they’re all created perfectly. This is true across all industries, but more so for intricate products such as printed circuit boards (PCBs) and computer hardware. Verifying design verification datasheets with the designers allows you to sort out all the potential problems before you even encounter them. This makes the entire process smoother in the long run.
Focus on your strengths, and use the right tools for the rest
There are plenty of aspects where a supply chain company can excel in. Your strengths can include your purchasing power, for one. This is especially useful for distributors in big industries like food and beverage, as they can afford to buy items in bulk—and perhaps get them at lower prices. Your strength could even lie in negotiation or lower freight costs. Whatever your best assets are, use them well. Then, for all other aspects, outsource them to more capable hands. This will improve not only the efficiency of your operations, but their quality as well.
Be prepared to adapt
As aforementioned, industries can be extremely unpredictable. The technology sector, for example, is one where customer demand is always linear and constant. This means that when one vendor falls short of your expectations, others will be there to pick up the slack. In this situation, what you need is an extremely flexible supply chain, one where multiple entities are capable of turning around items immediately. We have a word for this type of behavior: supply web adaptability. This is the capacity of a company to manage, react, and subsequently change their operations with little to no negative impacts on time, cost, quality, or performance. Always keep in mind your company’s size, market, and goals; learn to pivot them as the economy demands.
The supply chain involves a lot of moving parts, so you always have a plan for every aspect of the operation. Be flexible and utilize your strengths.
Written by Brienne Jerrett
exclusively for letstalksupplychain.com