It might seem like a given that your supply chain management should support your business goals. However, many companies don’t really have a clear picture of how well their supply chain operations line up with their corporate strategies. It’s important to wipe away old misconceptions and to start viewing the supply chain as an important component of your overall strategy for success.
Research shows that companies with integrated supply chain management strategies are more efficient and provide better customer satisfaction than those who are not. Conversely, those companies with disorganized supply chains historically post far lower earnings and unimpressive inventory turnover numbers.
Set Clear Goals
Everyone in your company should be aligned in working toward common and well-understood goals. Instead of broad objectives and overused corporate jargon, carve out some solid objectives for what you want your business to achieve going forward. Create a timeline for achieving short-term goals and make sure those short-term goals support your long-term strategy plan. Make sure to craft employee incentives to align with the goals you set. Set your metrics, and make sure all departments are not working against them due to conflicting incentive plans.
Prioritize Your Supply Chain Objectives.
Once you have outlined your goals and mapped out a path to get there, it’s time to take an in-depth look at what areas of your supply chain support these goals. How will activity at any step along the way affect this new goal-oriented strategy? Consult department heads and employees to find weak points where those goals would not be best supported. Once you have figured out where improvements are needed, you can devise protocols and plans to keep everyone working together to strengthen those areas.
Structure Your Supply Chain Accordingly
Once you’ve evaluated your objectives and focused in on your goals, you can structure your supply chain accordingly. A one-size-fits-all approach to overhauling your supply chain makes no sense when there is such a diversity of needs across different industries — and even within the same industries. Your network, physical locations, suppliers, contracts, inventory, methods of organization and inventory keeping — all of it should be set up in order to function in an optimal way that will contribute most to your success in reaching your corporate objectives.
Assess and Adjust Regularly
Even after you have implemented your new management plan, it’s important to take periodic assessments of your entire process. Look at how closely your supply chain operations are aligning with your big-picture goals, and where it’s still off base. Looking at how things are working on a regular basis without letting too much time elapse between audits gives you the chance to catch things that aren’t working before they become a major problem. While your commitment to your goals should be solid, you should always remain flexible in adapting new solutions to help you achieve them.
Given the ever-evolving and complex nature of today’s shipping and receiving operations, it often makes sense to collaborate with a capable third-party supply chain managed labor partner. The right partner can help with everything from freight hauling to warehouse staffing. When seeking managed labor help, be upfront and honest with any service you consider hiring, especially about any weak points or issues in your supply chain. State your corporate strategies and goals right away, too. A quality supply chain managed labor partner will be able to develop a customized plan that is engineered to solve your specific problems and achieve your unique goals. Make sure to work with a service that keeps you in the loop as an active partner in optimizing your supply chain.