An optimised supply chain is a very valuable asset to any business. Optimisation means that the situation or resource is used in the most effective way, so how does this translate into a supply chain, and what can you do to ensure yours is working seamlessly?
With every supply chain consisting of multiple elements, steps and stakeholders, effective management means that you need to be able to optimise each part of the process, not only to save costs, but increase efficiency and build in resilience to protect your brand reputation.
At CFG, our team has years of experience in delivering efficient and effective solutions that help businesses achieve their supply chain objectives.
Below, Diane Toft, Head of Customer Service and Stock Control shares some easy steps that will help with the process.
Ensure that your supply chain is integrated with every part of the business. Remember although it’s the final stage of getting the product to market, and there have been a lot of people before you that have worked hard with the same end goal in mind.
Don’t be afraid of change. Be aware of what works well and what may no longer be as effective. It doesn’t mean you made a bad decision; it simply means that you are aware of fluid market conditions and have the skill set to make the change to optimise the process.
Place an emphasis on quality. Quality of work produced in all aspects of the business, quality of inbound and outbound processes. If goods must be returned later, or your business experiences returns, or mistakes are made, additional costs will be incurred, and efficiencies diluted.
Communicate collaboratively. All team members, and third parties, must be clear as to what the objectives are, time scales that need to be adhered to and the agreed processes.
Ensure data is collected and that the information collected has a clear purpose in the analytical reporting of the business. Being aware of what is going on can identify ways where further optimisation can take place, but only if the right data is being collated and utilised in the right way. End-to-end visibility can be a great asset to your business and also help those that are integrated into your supply chain.
Ask questions of your suppliers. Make sure they have the right contingency plans to ensure their supply chain to you is not compromised. Are they legally compliant? Do they have any geo-political or global issues that could affect supply? Do you indeed have a back-up plan should supply fail to you, or you become unable to supply? Are there any other opportunities to support them such as transport or additional capacity?
View your contracts as partnerships. Everyone has a goal to succeed; helping each other and working collaboratively will enhance service level agreements, communication and ultimately, success for everyone.
Integrate IT and tracking wherever possible. It’s a huge time saving bonus if you know when your inbound products have been despatched and where they are and that you receive despatch notes, invoices etc. in a timely manner. Similarly, you need to know how your outbound products are doing. Are they still in the warehouse? What do stock levels look like? Whether it’s an in-house warehouse facility or a 3PL provider, it’s important that this information is available.
Perhaps the key to success is tackling one element at a time. If you don’t have the data available to make measured, informed decisions that would be a good place to start – putting in the reporting and analytics so you understand your business in more detail.
And, for outbound supply chains, choosing to use an independent 3PL provider can optimise that part of your business with very little investment on your part. By entrusting this to the hands of a 3PL partner that has experience, expertise and the processes and systems already in place, you’ll free up more time to be able to do what you do best, which is run your business.
Putting some, or all, of these tips in place will undoubtedly help towards the end goal of a fully optimised supply chain.
As Tom Peters said, “Almost all quality improvement comes via simplification of design, manufacturing, layout, processes and procedures.”
Carlton Forest 3PL works with customers to ensure the 3PL part of the supply chain is fully optimised through IT integration, open lines of communication, data reporting, real time information and working in partnership.
Want to discuss ideas to optimise your supply chain?
Our expert team helps organisations to cut their supply chain costs and increase efficiency every day. So make sure you get in touch and let's share some ideas to help you cut your costs, reach out to us via email on hello@carltonforest3PL.com or call us on 01909 540000 - we will be happy to help.