Five tips to make managing a supply chain easier

Retail / eCom | Sectors   |   
Published March 22, 2017   |   

There are a few things that matter quite as much in the business world as efficiency. Whether it be in relation to employee productivity, vendor relationships or otherwise, an efficient business is a successful business. This couldn’t be truer when it comes to supply chain management. With so many variables to consider, managing a supply chain can be a true challenge.

Fortunately, there are a handful of ways to make supply chain management less of a hassle and more of a streamlined process—here are a few indispensable tips to get you started.

Forget the spreadsheets

Plenty of factors can ruin a supply chain, but human error is the one to really watch out for. Despite many technological advancements over the years, plenty of organizations still use spreadsheets for supply chain management, when in reality, Salesforce order management is a far better approach. Supply chain management takes the guesswork and human error largely out of the equation, which means enhanced efficiency and less potential for costly mistakes to occur. If you’re still using spreadsheets to manage your supply chain, there’s never been a better time than now to make the switch.

Integrate your suppliers

While making the switch to cloud-based supply chain management software is certainly a strong step forward for your organization, it’s only part of the process of improving efficiency. Working with suppliers can sometimes come along with logistical headaches, especially if you aren’t getting a face-to-face with them on a regular basis. Integrating your suppliers into the cloud-based software suite you use for managing your supply chain is an extremely beneficial step to take, and it shouldn’t be inherently challenging if you go with the right vendor. Forget those constant calls and emails back and forth—integration makes this problem a thing of the past.

Look towards market analysis

One of the most common misconceptions about managing a supply chain comes down to where it begins and where it ends. If you think supply chains simply start at the warehouse and end when the product is delivered to retail, you’re missing a big part of the picture—sales. Taking a close look at how inventory performs and what factors affect sales is an extremely important element of improving the supply chain, as it gives you all the information you need to ramp-up or slows down with certain products. Skip the market analysis step, and you’ll only end up seeing a small portion of the picture.

Train your internal personnel

Today’s supply chain management software tends to be extremely easy to use, and updates improve user experience on a constant basis. Nevertheless, it’s not a good idea to simply assume that your employees know exactly how to use a new software suite, which is where interval training comes into play. By spending a short period of time showing your personnel the basics of supply chain management software, you’ll be saving yourself a great deal of time and money in the long run.

Avoid the perils of duplicate data

Nothing gets in the way of accurate supply chain management like duplicate data. Though largely avoidable, it still tends to pop up from time to time, leading to inaccurate reporting and general headaches that can have detrimental effects on the supply chain. Tablets and smartphones have made it easier than ever to deal with duplicate data on the fly, and encouraging employees to keep a close eye on this aspect of SCM can be highly beneficial.

Managing a supply chain can surely be a frustrating process, but it doesn’t have to lead to a meltdown. Integrate the above tips, and you’ll no doubt sleep easier at night.