Posted On April 1, 2016
You probably didn’t go into business to manage a supply chain. You went into business to create value for others, to create products and services other people use, and to create jobs and economic opportunity for you and the people on your team.In order to accomplish those things you need to be able to invest your financial and human resources in innovation and staying ahead of your competition—which requires a more efficient approach to managing your supply chain. Here are three things you can do today to make your supply chain more efficient:
1. Look at what competitive carriers can offer. Logistics managers often work with a preferred carrier for an extended period of time. There is usually a good reason for that enduring relationship. The preferred carrier may have been the most cost effective choice at the time, or the carrier may have been willing to work with your company when you were just getting your foot in the door.
And hopefully in the intervening years the carrier has went out of their way to earn your ongoing business, or else they wouldn’t continue to be your preferred carrier. However, spending more money than you need to—or more money than your competitors—to work with a carrier means there is less money to invest in the parts of your business that create value. As a result working with a preferred carrier at an excessive cost might eventually come at the expense of your business being the preferred choice of your customers. Take a look at what other carriers in the marketplace offer.
If nothing else, it may compel your current carrier to provide market competitive services and rates.
2. Make supply chain management a core part of your strategic plan. Steve Jobs gets all the credit for turning Apple around in the late 1990’s. But while Jobs’ design and product innovations drove the turnaround, current CEO Tim Cook’s aggressive management of Apple’s supply chain was essential to the company’s recovery—and one of the main reasons why Cook was deemed a worthy successor to one of the most innovative executives ever.
Steve Jobs wasn’t just innovative when it came to designing beautiful phones. He also understood that designing products was just the beginning—a company also needs to make and move its products in the most efficient way possible. Follow the lead of one of the most valuable companies in history. Making your supply chain a strategic, executive-level focus ensures you have some of your company’s best minds thinking about how you move your products and goods around the world in a global economy and delivers a message to your logistics team that their efforts are an important part of the company’s overall performance.
3. Optimize your shipments using the right supply chain technology. Sometimes parcel moves, air freight, or LTL (less-than-truckload) shipments can’t be avoided. Each choice has a unique cost. Evaluating all of these options is time consuming, but so is making uninformed decisions. You need to get your goods and services somewhere right now, and your customers do not want to wait.
It can be difficult make informed decisions without the aid of accurate data, and the right technology on the front end. Your supply chain technology should provide the opportunity to better optimize shipments—and the ability to analyze all of your available shipping options, including alternative, lower cost options.
Utilizing the right supply chain technology can identify opportunities to improve your company’s logistics performance. The end result will be a more efficient approach to your supply chain, and an ability to focus more of your resources on why you’re really in business:
To make the world a little better place through the products and services your team works so hard to build.