Supply chain management is a critical component of any business that purchases materials for fabrication and sends finished goods to customers. To maintain an effective overall operation, you can’t simply focus on the activities happening in-house. Successful business owners know it takes a strong network that works together from start to finish. If you own a business or are interested in a career in supply chain management, here are some tips on how to optimize your efforts.
Develop Strong Relationships
One of the major keys to a successful supply chain is developing strong relationships with leaders and managers upstream and downstream of your business. Keep in regular contact, establish real-time tracking systems, and develop reliable channels of communication. Create a sense of teamwork among managers, and make sure all businesses in your supply chain know their role in the whole. Clearly communicate the positive financial implications for each supplier and distributor as a result of working together.
Create Failproof Internal Systems
Though you don’t always have control over what happens upstream and downstream of your organization, you can always control what happens internally. Create systems for essential daily operations such as time tracking, payroll, forms submission, emergency protocols, and training. Perform an internal analysis of current processes and determine where bottlenecks exist. Streamline your entire operation by focusing on value-added tasks and eliminating anything that doesn’t align with your business goals.
Consider the Big Picture
As you’re digging into the individual tasks necessary to run your business, you also need to look at the big picture. Washington State suggests taking a step back from the details and assessing the overall direction of your business. Big-picture thinking leaves room for innovation, ideas, and expansion. Make sure your daily operations follow your company’s mission and find ways to measure progress and impacts. Don’t be afraid to pitch big ideas and strategize at a high level, especially in the face of changing technologies and market demands. Keep your thinking fresh and avoid stagnation.
Quality control and continuous improvement aren’t just for businesses operations – they’re for leaders, too. If you never went to college or if it’s been a while since you opened a textbook, consider brushing up your skills by earning an advanced business degree. A formal education program helps you develop core competencies needed to manage, operate, and grow your supply chain. Click the following link to learn more about an mba in supply chain management and how it can benefit your business.
Be Open to Change
To keep up with business trends and respond well in times of crisis, you need to be adaptable. You want your supply chain to be strong, but you don’t want it to be brittle. When designing effective systems and developing relationships with other managers, be sure to incorporate contingency plans and other options to accommodate shifts in the market.
Overall, nurture a supply chain that works, but don’t get stuck in habitual ways of thinking. Be adaptable, think about the big picture, and focus on developing solid relationships with your business network.