Nothing comes from nowhere, and your business’s products don’t just appear out of thin air. Every component or ingredient of your goods and products is provided by a supplier. And to get these essential items to your manufacturing facility or stores, you need a supply chain.
However, the current health crisis has proven detrimental to most supply chains, especially those that travel across multiple borders, whether these are state lines or national borders. Without a continuous and reliable supply chain, businesses can’t provide their customers with goods. This in turn can lead to drastic shortages, particularly in far-flung areas.
Therefore, it’s vital for businesses of all sizes to improve the strength and resilience of their supply chains. Learn the basics of what supply chains are and how you can make your own business’s supply chain more effective.
The Basics of Supply Chains
A supply chain can be described as the network of companies and suppliers that transfer goods and components to your business. It can also extend from your business to your customers. For example, if you run a fence construction company, your supply chain can involve a reliable steel supplier, a hardware store, and a trucking company. Together, they form a network that enables you to provide your services.
Supply chain management is a vital tool in keeping this network running. The more components and suppliers you have, the more complicated this task gets. Just like a real chain, the more links there are, the more chances that one of them can snap and ruin the chain.
Strengthening Your Supply Chain
A strong supply chain is simple and versatile. These traits provide it with the versatility and durability needed to successfully provide your business with the components it needs during a crisis. Here are some methods you can improve your supply chain and enhance its efficiency.
- Focus on Logistics
Logistics is a component of your supply chain that deals with controlling the movement of expected goods and storing them along their route to their destination. A lot of businesses often neglect their logistics and focus on more front-facing concerns instead, such as customer service. However, without an effective and strong logistics department, your business will find it impossible to continue operating efficiently.
Pay attention to your business’s logistics and ensure they get all the resources they need to perform their duties effectively. Adequate storage facilities and appropriate transportation arrangements both fall under the purview of logistics.
- Go Domestic
The pandemic has necessitated stricter protocols regarding both state and national borders to reduce the chances of transmission. Naturally, the more borders your supply chain has to travel through, the more delays you should expect. If one of your suppliers is in another country, it may be difficult if not impossible to get what you need should it close its borders due to a resurgence of cases.
Look for domestic suppliers instead. Not only can this cut down on transportation costs, it can also be easier to procure your components and materials. The less travel time involved, the faster and more often you’ll get your deliveries.
- Consolidate Sources
The more suppliers you have to rely on for your materials, the more complicated your supply chain is. This also means it’ll be easier for restrictions and quarantine procedures to block your goods from traveling. You should simplify your supply chain by reducing the number of your suppliers. You can make arrangements with suppliers to provide you with more of your essential material, thus cutting down on shipping costs and other associated prices.
- Use Reliable Tracking
A major part of an efficient supply chain is knowing when your goods and products are due to arrive. But to do so you need to employ reliable methods of tracking your supplies. Use protocols that will alert you when your goods reach certain checkpoints of your supply chain. This level of anticipation lets you plan your manufacturing schedule, arrange for delivery dates, and make reliable promises to your customers. Staying up to date on the position of your material will also allow you to make arrangements in case they can’t make it in time.
- Reduce Wastage
The less dependent you are on new supplies, the less often you have to rely on your supply chain. Try to make use of all available material while you can to reduce wastage. Aside from reducing your dependence on your supply chain, it can also decrease transportation costs and the environmental effects of the supply chain.
Your business doesn’t exist in a vacuum and must rely on other companies to survive. Ensuring the processes and lines that connect your business remains as smooth possible is essential in guaranteeing your profitability.