In this Spring Cleaning series of blogs, we’ll offer strategies to help your company “clean house” and provide strategic direction on how to achieve greater end-to-end supply chain visibility, drive operational efficiencies, and increase customer loyalty that will enable growth for years to come.
1. Benchmark Your Business
When was the last time you really took an in-depth look at business and supply chain operation performance? Since you last did an analysis, have sales volume or product mix increased? Have you expanded into new regions? Do you have more partners on board? Chances are that the technology and supply chain tools you started with need to undergo advancements to gain the potential to help you better manage the complexity challenge. To make the right decisions, however, you need to do an honest self-assessment on where the business is today and where you need to scale for future growth.
Benchmarking is an essential tool that drives continuous improvement of business processes, ensuring that your company is also at its top competitive performance. It also enables departments company-wide to communicate effectively with each other to reach common goals. Keeping on track with goals is the top priority for all business leaders and benchmarking is the best way to ensure that you understand every aspect of your business from end to end.
2. Eliminate Manual Processes
Manual processes are integrated into many company’s systems. Because the increased demand of business transactions are speeding up production, for many, manual processes are holding them back from reaching their full, economic potential. Spending time on tactical activities like manually reviewing and inputting data, maintaining spreadsheets, communicating data to trading partners and more can be a huge time suck, not to mention a process ripe for human error.
Adopting technologies that can automate these functions is not as expensive as you may think. A cloud-based technology approach, for example, has the benefit of lower upfront investment because there is no need for expensive software licenses, new hardware or overly-involved deployments.. Cloud solutions can also be implemented faster and with less business disruption because fewer internal IT resources are needed and solutions can complement existing systems, such as an ERP.
Once your company completes initial benchmarking initiatives and identifies key pain points in your supply chain manual processes, it’s time to move ahead and alleviate them. In most cases, however, that is no easy task, especially if you are an emerging company. Trying to fix issues in your supply chain that have been prevalent for months, quarters, or even years cannot happen overnight. There needs to be first steps to that process and we have named a couple for you to consider while you’re refreshing your supply chain this springtime.
3. Be Proactive
Simple process mistakes or delays can be costly to correct and have the potential to destroy a customer relationship. Using hard data to gather comprehensive supply chain visibility and access to real-time information is important for making sure organizations can not just flexibly respond, but also proactively mitigate issues and determine alternative courses of action. Total visibility into your supply chain is key to getting ahead of the market and combating supply chain volatility. The best part is that in today’s market, total visibility into your supply chain is right at your fingertips.
Business Intelligence (BI) tools are not out of reach for emerging companies; they have recently become much more available and affordable to organizations of all sizes. Now, large enterprises are not the only ones that can quickly sort and interpret data from connected systems to maximize automation, collaboration, and analytics, as well as provide timely insights that can increase supply chain nimbleness. Your business not only has everything it needs to continue to be efficient, but it also allows your supply chain to mitigate potential supply chain risk, putting you ahead of the competition.
We’ll dive deeper into additional ways to clean house in our next installment.