With businesses flourishing at an unprecedented rate across industries and domains economically, many of them are either conducting or planning geographic expansion as well to cater to broader audiences and diverse climates. This brings the need for resilient supply chain management into the picture. Besides, the COVID-19 pandemic has also brought to the fore a much-needed revamp in supply chain logistics in terms of sustainability, quantity and quality.
That being said, there are major gaps in the industry that have been long ignored for quite some time now. Supply chain management is an inevitable priority for businesses all over the world, and most of their divisions and departments vying for optimum delivery. It is also one of the chief factors behind customer satisfaction, demand professional knowledge, and extensive insights for a robust setup.
But before diving right into the nuisances and steps for efficient supply chain management, businesses and professionals must acquaint themselves with a few basics, as below.
What is a Supply Chain?
A supply chain is essentially the medium of transmission of products from businesses to consumers, involving various stakeholders and components such as staff, resources, data and activities. Spanning various verticals of raw material production and transport, production, packaging, shipping, warehousing, delivery, and retail, along with end-delivery to customers, supply chains are an integral part of most B2C and B2B industries as we know them, and are key to establishing and implementing a sound business strategy.
Supply chain management involves planning and designing the components and functioning of supply chains in accordance to factors of demand, sourcing, processes, quality, outputs, productivity, coordination, scheduling, costs and support. The idea is to establish a robust network of operations involving diverse business departments of HR, IT, Sales, Marketing, Quality Assurance, Finance, Product Design, and more.
Why should Companies spend time Understanding their Supply Chain?
Mapping out the components, functions and metrics of a supply chain in detail is one of the most critical steps for business analysis and strategic planning. This is because supply chains outline not just the business’ specific market and customers, but also its product quality and identity. Supply chains may also act as deciding grounds when it comes to business expansion.
The unique aspect of supply chain is that each of its stages covers an all-new industry – design, manufacturing, logistics, marketing, and so on. Detailed insights from each of these industries involved in the supply chain can prove to be the backbone for addressing the most compelling challenges or reforming the business approach with the customer’s evolving needs.
In short, it is crucial for companies to spend some time understanding their supply chain if they wish to sustain themselves in the long run.
Goals of Supply Chain Management
If supply chain management is a new arena for you, it might be difficult to go on and establish what to expect from all the efforts you put into a resilient framework design for supply chains. Here are some goals and objectives one can outline beforehand:
- Collaboration: As already stated, supply chain management rests on the pillars of collaborative working across hierarchies to maximize resource productivity and establish standards. Such collaboration will omit duplication of efforts and minimize inventory levels.
- Minimization of Expenses: With the above-mentioned collaboration, another chief goal is to minimize costs down the chain, making each stage more cost-effective and reducing waste.
- Exceeding Expectations of Customers: Customers will remember you and be loyal to you if you give them something extra, something over and above their expectations. Designing this “something extra” in your supply chain, either through fast deliveries or attractive packaging or hassle-free support services will make you stand out of the competitive crowd as well.
- Technological Prowess: Customers have become more tech-savvy, and would expect the same from you when it comes to product delivery. Integrating technology into your supply chain management stages will also make the process much smoother, cost-effective and hassle-free for you.
Advantages of Robust Supply Chain Management
So much talk about the “what” and “how” of supply chain management; it is time to discuss the “why”. Efficient supply chain management comes with a long list of advantages to the business and its specific departments, including:
- Establishing a more solid relationship with customers based on trust and quality.
- Creating efficient delivery mechanisms that are timely, cost-effective and sustainable.
- Lots of room for improvisation of business functions aligned to the original intent, vision and goals.
- Minimizing costs, both direct and indirect, bringing in greater benefits for companies in the long run.
- Establishing a clean and more advanced inventory management
- Helping address the challenges of continually evolving customer needs with technological advancement, globalization and economic upheaval.
- Reducing waste and establishing an overall efficient supply chain process throughout.
Supply chain management essentially covers every aspect of your business, involving as many resources as possible. This is why it is incredibly important to hand over your supply chain management process to experienced specialists alone, who can take care of all your company’s needs through their sophisticated capabilities, such as planning, sourcing, manufacturing, fulfilment, logistics, transportation, retail, eCommerce, last-mile delivery, and even communication, content generation, marketing, SEO, social media and PR.
The need of the hour is a one-stop solution that will cater to all your supply chain management needs and more, with the promise of transparency and security down the line. A clear market position and specific insights can help establish a long-lasting relationship with the customer.
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