The success of a business is closely linked to the success of its supply chain, a crucial process that begins with the purchase of raw materials and ends with the delivery of a finished product.
Supply chains can vary widely in terms of size and level of complexity. For a product like coffee, for example, the supply chain may include stages such as production, processing, transport and distribution.
Businesses must be able to deliver their goods and services as efficiently as possible to meet the demands of demanding customers and their changing needs in this new digital age.
This is why improving your supply chain can lead to big savings. For example, the aircraft manufacturer Boeing recently signed a contract with Mitsubishi Heavy Industries to reduce the production costs of the wings of its 787 Dreamliner by “focusing on improving its production system and its supply chain through more rational production, automation and management of ancillary activities”.
According to a survey conducted by Deloitte in 2014, 79% of companies with particularly efficient supply chains have higher-than-average revenue growth.
After all, the ability of companies to differentiate themselves from their competitors depends on the capabilities of their supply chains. They are the ones who determine how the company plans, sources, then manufactures and delivers its goods. But they also determine the cost and quality of a product, as well as its ability to adapt to customer and market needs.
With digital technology, the global market is constantly growing, which has the effect of intensifying competition. In a report released by GT Nexus in 2016, 40% of operating executives claimed that a supply chain malfunction had impacted their business in the previous 12 months.
Business leaders are always looking for new ways to stay ahead of their competitors and maintain this lead, but they also have to face the challenges of an ever-changing market. For example :
Customers today are more comfortable with digital tools, and they have higher expectations in terms of product availability and lead time between order and delivery.
A globalized market means more competition around the world.
And in many industries, regulations are getting stricter.
Technologies like sensors and data analytics are democratizing, allowing companies to anticipate customer demand and distribute their products more efficiently.
Efficient management of the logistics chain
To deal with these issues, business leaders and managers need an effective supply chain management strategy, which allows them to control the flow of goods and services within the company.
With this in mind, we spoke with Dr Muddassir Ahmed, a supply chain expert who has written extensively on the subject. According to him, a good supply chain management strategy must be structured around four main pillars, which can enable companies to take charge of their supply chain while meeting customer needs and increasing their profits.
If you are a business owner, you shouldn’t need a deep technical knowledge to understand what is happening at all levels and in every area of the business. To make informed decisions and have a strategic vision of the supply chain, you should be able to count on experts specifically recruited to carry out precise analytical tasks.
According to Dr. Muddassir Ahmed, “If you work on your supply chain management strategy with a business analyst, you can spend more time defining the roles and responsibilities of everyone within the company, ensuring the implementation. Their development plans and make informed decisions that will increase your profits. “
What you need to do: Share the responsibility! Call on experts to make informed decisions at all levels and in all areas of the business.
In addition to expert analysis, companies need the technology to plan, forecast and process inventory as well as financial information related to the supply chain. As a business owner, you will need to determine which business software is best for your needs.
For example, a small business may initially be satisfied with spreadsheets to manage its accounting information and forecasting and tracking inventory. But as it evolves, it will face significant business challenges and, with such basic tools, will not be able to take the necessary actions (such as assessing how much inventory is needed or anticipating future growth.).
According to Nick Castilian, vice president and director of the Aberdeen Group research teams: “If you have too much of a product and it doesn’t sell, it comes at a cost to the business. And conversely, if you have a product in insufficient quantity, you lose sales. “
If your business has grown and you have trouble managing your supply chain, you should ask the following questions to all the teams:
– What system or solution we need to run the business?
– Can we make accurate predictions about our supply chain and future growth?
– What are our current and future business needs?
– What are our main operational challenges?
Faced with these challenges, some will opt for Ecodocs software dedicated to accounting, while large structures will generally migrate to an ERP or business management solutions.
What you should do: Ask people in your company questions. Identify needs and requirements: this will help you find suitable systems that will allow you to work more efficiently.
Having the right technology is not enough to manage your supply chain. As a business owner, you need to make plans to analyze how your business works and provide training for all of the systems mentioned above. You also need to constantly stay abreast of customer demands and market developments.
With the help of technology and your analyst, you have the keys to examining your company’s financial information and inventory data. Here are some of the important questions you will need to ask:
– What are the costs of your processes and what is their normal duration?
– How long does it take to send the products to customers?
– Overall, what is the productivity of your teams?
“Watch the way things are going in the business and validate your hunches with real numbers, ” suggests Nick. “ The good idea might be to prioritize certain specific parts of the business that you want to develop. “
If you find that the processes hinder performance and efficiency of your supply chain, make sure that your staff receive adequate training.
What you need to do: Study your business processes. Make sure your people are working efficiently and your supply chain is functioning as it should.
If your supply chain management strategy works, you will likely see increased customer satisfaction rates and lower supply chain costs; your people will more easily use your key systems and processes and your profits will be maximized across the company.
But this is not a quick fix. As a business owner, you will quickly find that you spend most of your days looking for ways to achieve your core business goals. You will need to learn to accept the possibility of failure and learn from your mistakes.
The key to successful job execution and achievement of business goals is making informed supply chain decisions, based on accurate data. Inaccurate data can lead to assumptions that are simply wrong.
According to Nick, “If the decisions you make for your supply chain are based on inaccurate information, such as product costs or customer needs, these decisions may have the effect of reducing the company’s profits rather than to increase them. Make decisions based on reliable data and regularly analyze the results. »
What to do: Make informed decisions for your supply chain based on accurate data, and regularly analyze the results of those decisions.
The future of the supply chain
New technologies are changing the way companies manage their supply chains. The Internet of Things, for example, can allow business leaders to see and understand in real time what is happening in their factories.Supply chains are a big part of the cost in many businesses. An effective logistics strategy enables companies to seize opportunities to local SEO optimization new markets and helps them stay the course in times of economic uncertainty, financial volatility, the vagaries of globalization and relentless change.