6 Tips for Streamlining the Supply Chain

Supply chain efficiency is important to help an organization with reducing costs and improving the speed of time to market. It’s clear to see that right now, increasing globalization, technological advances and increasing customer expectations have made it more important than ever before to streamline the supply chain. Streamlining and analyzing the supply chain is just one way that companies can have a quicker response when it comes to the fast pace of business today, along with improving operational efficiency across the board. Here are some simple yet effective tips that can result in more profitability, efficiency, and flexibility for operations.

Review and Optimize

It is essential to have a high-level supply chain assessment and review in place to document the current state of the business and make it easier to identify ways to streamline the supply chain operations. The sooner this evaluation is carried out, the better, since it will become the baseline for any further ROI analysis of future supply chain investments. Optimized processes make it easier for manufacturers to offer shorter lead times to customers and reduce inventory costs. It enables stock to be available just in time and eliminates unnecessary costs for handling and storage by allowing companies to maintain optimal stock levels. Processes can be automated to reduce human error and gaps in the process, and a streamlined production or manufacturing line can be put in place.

Utilize Existing Systems

While many in-house systems that have been developed over the years can be complex, inflexible, and in some cases difficult or even impossible to integrate with more modern systems, they do still contain a range of useful and important data that can be put to use in planning, analysis and other purposes. The introduction of smart devices and newer technologies has begun to drive the need and opportunity for a mobile supply chains. When the right combination of tools is used, organizations can use their legacy systems to mobilize the information that they need while using a newer, more streamlined mobile front-end paired with automated processes across other systems.

Integrate the Supply Chain

Companies need to integrate information from various sources in order to maximize efficiency. Each transaction will typically go through several systems including the ERP, CRM, resource planning systems for manufacturing, and financial systems. In some cases, the information also needs to be shared on systems that are operated by suppliers, customers, and partners. An integration platform is an ideal choice as data integration that is done through processes such as manual updates, file uploads, spreadsheet uploads or batch updates can be very error-prone and time-consuming.

Remove Duplicate Data

Reducing cost and efforts throughout the entire supply chain process is the main goal when it comes to improving operational efficiency. Manual entry of duplicate data into various systems will not only waste time, but it can also have a very negative impact on morale. Along with this, when the same data is entered into and stored in more than one place, this can make it much more prone to inaccuracy. Using automation to eliminate duplicate data entry processes allows a company to save time and improve the accuracy of systems. Along with this, by removing any unnecessary data entry tasks, employees such as customer service representatives will have more time to focus on doing what they do best: interacting with the customers. Data entry can now easily be done directly in the field thanks to the rise of smartphone and tablets in the workplace, which can ultimately improve customer service and speed up the flow of information.

Understand the Bigger Picture

When the supply chain is more streamlined, this helps companies look further than tactical fulfilment or orders, gaining a better understanding of what customers need and want when it comes to customized services and products. This raised awareness can be very useful for businesses when it comes to seeing the bigger picture, increasing profits through differentiating what they offer. Streamlining and analyzing the supply chain is a learning process that not only impacts how companies can make improvements to product deliveries right now, but also when it comes to how customer services and support can be improved in the future.

Continuous Improvement

Finally, establishing a stable and more streamlined supply chain is not the end of the road. Continuing to monitor and evaluate the supply chain management process for improvement is key to continuously getting better results. Companies should constantly be looking for new ways to innovate and improve, in order to reap significant cost benefits, deliver the highest standards of customer service, and increase speed to market.

When it comes to supply chain management, a robust process is key. It will not only help an organization run more efficiently but will also have a big impact on customer service and satisfaction.

News Reporter