8 effective ways to increase the velocity of your supply chain
In today’s economy, supply chain management is more critical than ever. The COVID-19 pandemic and others overalll Events have wreaked havoc on businesses around the world.
Businesses and consumers alike have had to deal with price hikes and a slowdown in production, but there are ways to alleviate the problems despite the problems.
These eight ways can help increase the speed of supply chain management.
1. Assess Supplier Viability
When companies encounter supply chain issues, their suppliers are often among the main reasons. A company looking to improve the speed of its supply chain must start with its suppliers. A main part of the relationship is communication, so managers need to assess the type of responses they receive from suppliers. Does the provider respond quickly and make speed a priority? Are they wasting time with misunderstandings?
Another essential element of their viability is their reliability. Suppliers need to be consistent with things like purchase orders because a few delays here and there can quickly lead to backlogs for the entire supply chain. Finally, managers must consider the speed of their suppliers. Today, speed is worth its weight in gold. Suppliers need to be consistent in fulfilling orders quickly, or dissatisfied project managers might start looking elsewhere.
One industry where speed is of the utmost importance is in custom display manufacturers. These signs are an integral part of the marketing of many retailers around the world. Many companies choose to use national suppliers for displays, as international shipping can be a hassle. The retail world is changing rapidly, so speed is a priority for custom signage businesses.
2. Assess current strategies
After assessing the viability of suppliers, supply chain managers should assess the strategies they are currently using and how they can improve. The most efficient supply chains today are reliable, cost effective and lean. Optimizing all three simultaneously can be tricky, but hitting the right notes can actually increase velocity.
Managers can start by comparing their supply chain strategy to the type of business they run. Different methods will work for different types of businesses. For example, online retailers could use dropshipping so they don’t have to maintain inventory. Other companies may turn to agile or lean supply chains depending on the needs of their industry.
3. Keep Tracking Weaknesses
Changing the supply chain strategy or optimizing the current one is an effective way to increase velocity. However, this is not something that managers should only do once. Often one business solves one problem, but another opens up on the line. Companies need to be constantly vigilant about their supply chain strategy and keep improving to maintain an efficient model.
One way to track weaknesses is through data and algorithms. Analytics has become an essential part of supply chain management because it gives managers data-backed feedback on what is happening with their operations and suppliers. This information is especially important in retail, as customer demands can change quickly and businesses must adapt just as quickly.
4. Collaborate with employees
A company can develop the best strategy for its supply chain management, but it is only as effective as the employees who implement the processes. Managers need to train their employees in best practices from day one and continue to retrain as strategies evolve and replace old ones.
Another way to improve supply chain velocity is to leverage the experience of permanent employees. They’ve been around long enough to know what works and what doesn’t. Managers should therefore seek them out for feedback on what needs improvement and what supply chain strategies are not as effective as previously thought.
One idea that may seem unconventional for supply chain management is to work with the information technology (IT) department. Typically, managers consult with IT departments when implementing new software for the business or when problems arise with technology. IT specialists can be helpful in assessing where managers can change the supply chain. They can increase the efficiency of supply chain management and protect businesses from cyber issues.
5. Consider automation
Humans can detect and fix problems, but can they do it faster than a computer? Businesses that choose automation see positive results. Automated technology is an effective way to increase supply chain speed. These machines reduce the need for humans because they can reduce errorsspeed up production, save money and improve workplace safety.
Automation can be a worthwhile investment for businesses, but one of the hurdles is that these machines can be expensive. Some organizations — like small businesses — can’t afford robots and other advanced equipment, so they rely on third-party logistics partners to help. Companies that can afford automation can streamline processes and make better use of their staff. Automation can free humans from time-consuming tasks so managers can assign their employees to big projects.
6. Use the Internet of Things
The Internet of Things (IoT) has become a valuable asset for supply chain managers around the world. IoT gadgets can optimize processes and give feedback. They are great tools for increasing visibility in the supply chain, another major concern for supply chain management today.
Some of the largest companies in the world have leveraged the IoT for their supply chain management. For example, Amazon uses it to identify products in the warehouse and scan QR codes. This strategy has resulted in lower operational costs and more efficient employees.
7. Use telematics
Fleet management has become an essential part of improving the speed of the supply chain. In turn, the rise of telematics over the past few decades has become critical for fleet owners to take better care of their vehicles and increase their profits.
Telematics has become particularly useful in times of driver shortages. This technology can help optimize routes for truckers and ensure their deliveries arrive on time. Route optimization saves fleet owners time and money. Additionally, telematics can help keep drivers safe by tracking speeds and detecting vehicle problems before they injure the driver and damage supplies.
8. Adopt green initiatives
Sustainability has become a more pressing concern for consumers and businesses. The effects of climate change have got people thinking about how to become more environmentally friendly and reduce their carbon footprint. There are ways for logistics professionals to improve their sustainability while keeping their supply chain lean and efficient.
In the short term, companies could find ways to reduce their packaging. Using less material leads to lower costs and reduced environmental impact. Redesigning the supply chain to make processes more efficient can reduce energy consumption and required labor. Going green also sets up supply chains for the future – sustainable practices prolong the lives of businesses and make them more attractive to consumers and suppliers.
Increasing supply chain speed in the modern age
Supply chain management has become a hot topic in recent years. The pandemic and other global events have prompted companies to rethink their supply chain and incorporate best practices. These eight tactics are ways for managers to increase the speed of their supply chain and put them in place for long-term success.