Every single successful entrepreneur will tell you that in this day and age, global operations in their supply chain is a crucial component to their business strategy. Today’s global economy is so rich and diverse that considering suppliers can be a task that will turn overwhelming very quick. Perhaps this happens because most of the focus today goes towards agility, but that doesn’t happen without reason. An agile and low-cost supply chain is something very attractive when things are going well because you can quickly see that efficiency transformed into profits. However, if that is the only factor considered when choosing suppliers, then you could be in for a surprise when it comes time to deal with issues arising from unexpected disruptions.
One of the things that you will see strong supply chains have in common is clear contingencies in place to deal with such disruptions. Companies like Zara, Apple, and Amazon that are giants in the world of supply chain excellence understand the importance of considering agility the main apparent strength, but not relying on it being the only one. They are successful because they understand the need to emphasize in quality and value of their supply chain operations, so when things do not go as planned, they have a way to answer and adapt. Great supply chains are able to detect changes, issues, and opportunities quickly because of their observance of pertinent data; they are also swift to make decisions based on that information and can adapt to the changing environment without losing a beat.
What separates the great companies from the rest when it comes to the advantage they are given by their efficient supply chains? Let’s take a look at what we have here today for you at David Kiger’s Blog.
Understanding your supply chain
First things first. Any change you want to make, any enhancement you believe you need and any modification you feel your supply chain could use; has to be analyzed first from a place of understanding. Every single step from your suppliers all of the way to your retailers and customers must be fully understood by you and your team. An example of this is a carefully created distribution map that shows transportation routes from your suppliers to your assembly lines and plants all the way to your customers. Having production maps that allow you to see the process that your product undergoes from materials to finished goods is another way to understand the true spectrum of your supply chain. Without this understanding, any changes you make just attempt to poke in the dark and hope for a positive outcome.
Focusing on the relationship
The strength of the relationship you have with your partners at all levels of the supply chain can make or break your business in today’s world. It is of great importance to earn your supplier’s trust and to accept that you are in this together and that your relationship is one of mutual benefit in which you need each other to grow. Communicate effectively, listen to their concerns and accommodate their needs so they can do their job better. At the same time know that this loyalty can only provide you with positive consequences when your partners are successful and their business is also your business. Studies have shown that successful supply chains give great importance to collaboration and building strong partnerships with other members of their supply chain process.
Technology should be considered as one of the most powerful allies your supply chain has. Advances in supply chain management have made things possible that before you could only dream of. Being aware of those technological advances and finding a way to embrace them is something that can make all the difference when it comes to the success of your supply chain. Sometimes people are resistant to change because when it comes to technology, they look at the upfront costs that implementation can bring about, but ignore the long-term costs of staying behind. Technological enhancements are investments your supply chain cannot afford to be without. Embrace technology and stay ahead of the pack by making technology work for you.
Being able to quickly modify strategies in order to accommodate changes for the success of the operation is one of the most crucial aspects of a successful supply chain. The world changes quickly and they way we do business is in constant evolution, therefore it is of the utmost important to be able to go along with those changes and to shift gears at moments notice if that is what is required. Alertness, accessibility, decisiveness and flexibility are characteristics shared by agile supply chains and that agility is not something to be expected of their operations exclusively, but also of the way the adapt to chain and reorganize their priorities when the situation calls for it.
* Featured Image courtesy of wistechcolleges at Flickr.com