Use these five proven ways to help you manage your supply chain strategies.
As a manager whose business relies on a supply chain, you’ll be all too familiar with unexpected issues that can impact your business’ efficiency and profitability - leaving you to question the effectiveness of your business and supply chain strategies.
A successful supply chain strategy can help you manage the network between your organization and its suppliers to maximize value across all stages of the production cycle.
Here, we cover a supply chain strategy and how you can strengthen your system to improve customer satisfaction, profitability, and overall business growth. It can also put you at an advantage against your competitors.
What is a supply chain strategy?
In simple terms, your supply chain strategy is a roadmap that can help your business get products to customers efficiently and effectively, with as little disruption as possible.
It’s a plan that helps ensure every phase of the supply chain is organized, from sourcing materials to manufacturing and distribution.
Your supply chain strategy should outline key processes, partnerships, and technologies your business will rely on to optimize its supply chain running.
Its goal is to align all of these components to create an efficient and cost-effective supply chain that meets customers’ and business’ needs.
But a supply chain strategy isn’t something you put together once and don’t revisit - it’s an ongoing process that requires improvements, so it’s essential to review it regularly and adjust it according to new trends, technologies, and competition.
Methods to strengthen your supply chain strategy
So, you have your supply chain strategy in place, and things should be running smoothly, but obstacles keep cropping up.
Perhaps you’re not hitting deadlines, manufacturing is taking longer than it used to, or your suppliers are difficult to contact.
That’s where strengthening your strategy can work wonders.
Here, we cover the key methods you can explore to strengthen your supply chain strategy for noticeable results:
1. Improve your contract management
Contract management is an integral part of supply chain performance. If you’re dissatisfied with the results of your supply chain, you could look to improve your contracts.
Begin by evaluating what is and isn’t working with your current contract management process - you may spot roadblocks or potential liability concerns that you weren’t aware of before. Once you’ve identified any issues, you can work to address them.
Another factor to address is your contract templates. Are you currently drafting up a new contract for every new client, supplier, or vendor?
Watch out for inconsistencies that can increase your risk of liability. Instead of writing a new contract each time, why not opt for a contract template?
Not only will this standardize the process and make it more efficient, but it can also help to minimize risks.
Create a jargon-free contract template so you can fill in the blanks each time. This should save you time and make the whole process more efficient.
Finally, make sure to discard any outdated contracts. You’ll likely have several versions of contract drafts created during contract negotiations.
You must ensure the latest versions of all documents are included in your contract material.
2. Better training
While you may have a supply chain strategy, this can only take you so far.
Effective supply chain management is vital for business growth, generating sales, reducing costs, and ensuring customer satisfaction. Investing in staff training can help educate employees on how to improve supply chain performance and introduce them to new ways of working to better your supply chain strategy.
Choose a training course for your employees to enroll in. A reputable supply chain strategy course will cover the critical success factors within supply chain strategy to help improve supply chain management, increase efficiency, and cope with bottleneck situations.
3. Continuously improve processes
We all know that having well-defined processes is the key to success. After all, they describe the preferred method for carrying out a particular task, and how closely they’re followed determines how successful the outcome will be.
That’s why you should look to improve your processes to meet your goals continuously when it comes to your supply chain strategy.
An excellent place to start is to review all existing processes that only produce mediocre results.
From there, you can determine areas that need improvement. Perhaps you could check in with your IT department about potential changes to software that could help streamline your supply chain processes.
The right technology can help make supply chain processes more accessible and organized.
4. Audit the supply chain
Your supply chain is a crucial part of your business’ functionality, so it makes sense that you’d review it from time to time.
A supply chain audit involves examining and critiquing your supply chain process to make sure costs are controlled, and risks are minimized.
Here’s how you should audit your supply chain for the best results:
- Plan ahead
Have a plan you’ll follow before you begin your audit, and make sure this is communicated to all auditors in advance.
- Decide on a criteria
Ensure all auditors have standardized auditing criteria that they compare their findings against to avoid inconsistencies and keep data organized.
- Choose a communication method
Decide how you’ll communicate the auditing results back to the business. There should be a clear way to present your findings, so stakeholders have actionable insights to take away to make changes where needed.
- Plan actions
Once the audit is complete, you’ll want a plan for your next steps. Putting together a plan for these actions will ensure all findings are corrected, and actions have been put into place.
5. Consider diversification
If you’re looking for a way to strengthen your supply chain strategy, you could consider diversifying your supply chain. It can be a great way to minimize risks - particularly profitability.
Today’s climate is unpredictable, and supply chain diversification can help tackle these uncertainties by turning away from single-supplier sourcing and embracing multiple suppliers.
Diversifying your supply base could help your business to avoid production and manufacturing delays, which can help ensure profitability.
For example, you may diversify your manufacturing by transferring a portion of labor from the US to Latin America, which may prove cost-effective and reduce dependence on one factory.
How i-nexus can help you strengthen your supply chain strategy
Is your supply chain strategy in need of some tweaks? Perhaps you’re not meeting your targets, or your team is struggling to collaborate effectively.
Whatever your goals, our strategy execution software can help you strengthen your supply chain strategy for results you’ll be proud of. That way, you can focus on other priorities like planning, executing, and tracking your progress.
Book a demo today and see how i-nexus software can help you strengthen your supply chain strategy with the help of strategy execution management.
Learn more about strategy execution
Take the next steps in your journey by exploring our strategy execution resource hub or any of the below:
- Key to strategy execution eBook: Read how companies like Danaher and HP have mastered strategy execution and what you can learn from them.
- What does it mean to be Business Agile?: Leap into the future of strategic planning and execution with this fascinating insight.
- How AI and Machine-Assisted Learning will help strategy execution: As Artificial Intelligence becomes a mainstay in our lives, read how AI and machine-assisted learning will evolve to support your strategy execution.
About the author
James Milsom is Head of Marketing at i-nexus.
As Head of Marketing, his drive is to raise awareness and understanding of enterprises' challenges in delivering strategic goals amidst changing markets and the obstacles traditional tools and methods present leaders.
If you’d like to talk more about strategy, reach out to James on firstname.lastname@example.org or connect with him on LinkedIn for the latest insights.