Integrated Supply Chain Management: 4 Tips for Streamlining Your Supply Chain

When it comes to serving your customers well, you’re only as good as your supply chain management. When poorly conceived and just as poorly managed, the whole organization will suffer from the drag this creates. It’ll show in customer satisfaction scores and canceled orders too. So, here are four tips for streamlining your supply chain.

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1. Optimize the Supply Chain for Greater Efficiencies

It’s critically important to optimize processes and procedures to get better results. Using integrated supply chain management is important because there are plenty of legacy systems, old CRMs, and more that may perform a part of the process, but create a mixed picture.

What’s needed is a cloud-based solution that offers integrated supply chain management at the highest level. A solution that manages inventory and orders organizes the warehouse. It keeps a handle on distribution, and any point-of-sale reviews that are needed too. It creates a complete picture for management staff and other personnel. Also, being cloud-based rather than a software installation, these solutions will be accessible from any web browser on a PC, Mac, tablet, or smartphone browser.

2. Reduce the Number of Suppliers

While supplier diversification does have its benefits, there’s also something to be said for reducing the number of balls being juggled in the air. That’s certainly true when the supplier count is proving different to manage because it has grown over the years. Centralizing the supplier list by focusing on a handful and choosing ones that cover several bases will reduce the complexity of ordering and supplier management. Once back under control, it may be possible later to expand for greater diversification without getting into trouble.

3. Remove Duplication and Overlap with Data

Using a cloud-based solution for the management of the supply chain should enable the business to pare back the legacy software being used. Many of the older software packages haven’t leaped to the cloud or can only do one part of what’s needed. It’s time to do something about that.

Data collection and other services will often overlap at least to some degree with a greater number of software solutions. This is wasteful, and requires staff to be trained up for multiple systems, and to keep up with any changes too. Greater efficiencies can be found by cutting down on the solutions being used throughout the business, especially in the ordering and warehouse areas.

4. Embrace Continuous Improvement

Use continuous improvement as a model to follow. This avoids having anyone on your staff who become stuck in the mud and unwilling to move with the times.

Each incremental improvement can make a substantial difference over the months and years that follow. Even if it cuts out a wasted 15 seconds at the warehouse ‘picking’ stage, that accumulates quickly. Similarly, improvements in any aspect of the management of the supply chain provide meaningful gains.

See the bigger picture with the supply chain. Get everything heavily integrated to remove bottlenecks and redundancies in the existing processes. Reduce complexity and excessive risk mitigation when it creates problems every day as a result.