If you’re running a retail or wholesale business, you know that one of the most important facets of your entire operation is your supply chain. This is what gets your business operative from the first point of the process until your products reach the hands of your customers. So it follows that as you aim to improve the operative aspect of your business, your supply chain shouldn’t be left behind. Otherwise, improper supply chain management can lead to a host of other problems that are interconnected with each other.
A supply chain is aptly defined as a network of interconnected parties within and outside of the business that are involved in the distribution, production, and handling of products. When done correctly and efficiently, the management of your business’ supply chain can significantly contribute to your business becoming efficient and profitable.
Below are the different entrepreneurial strategies you can apply so you can improve your supply chain.
1. Implement An Automated Inventory Control System
Technology is right at the forefront of businesses today, and if you want your business to be efficient and stay competitive, it’s a must to use technology to your advantage. There are many technologies that can impact your supply chain. One of the best is the use of an automated inventory control system. This is of utmost importance, given that your inventory is as much an asset like a piece of production equipment in your supply chain.
An automated inventory control system pertains to the standards and processes surrounding a supply chain. Here are examples:
- Purchasing of raw materials and ingredients,
- Shipping the supplies and finished products to be sold for retail,
- Receiving the items to be displayed on the shelves of retail businesses,
- Storing the items in the right condition.
All these four processes relate to keeping a stable inventory system in place. This ultimately means achieving efficiency from the beginning of the supply chain right until the end.
Standardization is crucial to the success of your supply chain. This means across different locations and departments, the processes, techniques, and standards within the supply chain are uniform and the same. When standardization is achieved, it’s easier for the entire team in general to collaborate with each other to get things done.
Accordingly, these are the other benefits achieved because of standardization:
- Efficiency by saving time and money,
- Reduced likelihood of miscommunication,
- More teamwork across different departments.
If you don’t have standardized processes yet in your supply chain, here’s a guide on how you can come up with a standardized supply chain management plan:
- Audit your company. Assess your current company standards so you can have information on where they currently stand. In this process, you need to be able to answer concerns like who your suppliers and stakeholders are in every process of your supply chain, how many entities there are, and how frequently you communicate with them.
- Assess your current quality assurance requirements. This is important so every employee would be on the same page when it comes to the standards you have to apply. This would ensure you only have the best quality of raw ingredients and supplies. When the quality assurance requirements are clear, your suppliers would be made aware of the different processes the goods go through before your team considers them satisfactory.
- Detail a specific timeline of delivery in every step. When you standardize your supply chain management process, this means you should also have a specific timeline for the delivery at every step of the supply chain. This has to go hand in hand with a breakdown of the quantities of the supplies and goods you need.
3. Identify Who Your Customers Are
This third step is an important recurring process you need to do regularly as an entrepreneur, and it applies even if you’ve already created a market study before you even launched your business. Customer behaviors and financial abilities can differ from one season to the next, like today, as evidenced by the changes currently going on in the world.
For instance, you may have loyal clients now, but six months later, these constant customers may no longer be able to afford your products. So in your pursuit of a better supply chain management system, you can identify specific segments where advertising and marketing are needed.
4. Decide On What Supply Chain Model Fits Your Business
There are different supply chain models you can apply for your business, and each of them has its respective pros and cons. No two businesses are alike, and so it means no two supply chain models are equally best for different enterprises. It’s up to your team to ensure your chosen supply chain model is exactly what’s most appropriate for your business. When a mismatch ensues, your overall business efficiency and productivity are also affected.
Whatever your chosen supply chain model is, it should fit into these two categories:
- Oriented to responsiveness, which means your supply chain management has the following features:
- Custom configured.
- Oriented to efficiency, which necessarily entails having these features:
- Continuous flow of products,
There are multiple entrepreneurial strategies you can apply to improve your business’ supply chain management. Given the significant impact your supply chain has on your operations, profitability, and success, it follows this is something not to be taken lightly. If you’ve noticed your supply chain hasn’t exactly been in its top shape, it’s worth going through the extra steps to ensure it’s in a better state. Take it one change at a time, and see for yourself the differences it can bring to your supply chain.