As a retail business, having a smooth-running supply chain is essential to your overall operations and future growth.
Without proper supply chain management, even the greatest, most helpful product in the world won’t sell well because it can’t get into the hands of the customers.
For many business owners, their struggles with supply chain management comes simply from misunderstanding the process. Many decisions are made regarding the supply chain of a company without knowing there’s a better way, and these decisions can cause major problems for the business.
Here are 4 things companies frequently get wrong about supply chain management:
Collecting, compiling, and analyzing data takes time and brain power. But, if your business fails to collect important data on your supply chain, you could easily be bleeding money unnecessarily.
Some common metrics that need to be collected and regularly analyzed include:
- Cost per order processed
- Cost per order handled
- Fill rates
- Fulfillment times
- Cost per unit delivered
- Average order value
Comparing these metrics can show you where your processes are inefficient or too expensive, allowing you to make important changes to positively impact your business.
Additionally, this data can be used to help you set goals for your business, and gives you a way to measure your progress toward those goals.
If, for example, you would like to increase the average order value by 10 percent, you’re only going to know what that increase should be if you’ve got data collected showing you what your average order value is now.
Failing to Future Plan
As a business owner, it’s very easy to get caught up in the day-to-day running of your business.
But, to paraphrase the old axiom, if you fail to plan, you’re just planning to fail.
Not taking the time to plan ahead and anticipate potential problems, such as disruptions in your supply chain due to strikes, bad weather, or a carrier going out of business, could spell disaster for your business in the long run. Taking some time to figure out a Plan B and even a Plan C for if something goes wrong and then never needing those plans is much better than getting into the middle of a supply chain disruption and having no plan for righting the wrong.
You also need to plan your supply chain for the business you want in the future instead of simply focusing on the business you have now.
Picking, packing, and shipping all your own products may work well for you when your order volume is small, but it’s not going to serve your business for very long if you’re successful. Instead, putting into place some outsourcing or expansion measures in your supply chain while your business is still small can better prepare you for an increase in business and better protect your supply chain overall than scrambling to find solutions might.
For many small and medium-sized businesses, supply chain management often falls on the options that are the quickest to put into place and that are least expensive.
However, these are not often the most efficient or effective processes, including:
- Paper-based workflows
- Putting technology implementation before actual process
- Failing to learn from best practices
- Maintaining processes and steps that add little or no value for customers
Rather than going with what’s easiest or cheapest, it’s important to carefully evaluate whether that process you’re putting into place will really be efficient and effective. And, as long as you’re gathering and analyzing data along the way, you’ll also be able to tell whether or not the processes you currently have in place are efficient, making it easier to swap out parts of your supply chain management process that are no longer serving you.
Over time, it’s very easy for the supply chain for any business to get a little “messy.” This could come from working with too many partners, or paring the process down too far so that one little issue can cause the whole thing to fall apart.
Take a careful look at your supply chain. Do you have a lot of vendors providing overlapping services? Are you paying for something you don’t really need?
If you find that there are too many cooks in the kitchen, so to speak, weed out any that you don’t need so that you’ve got an efficient, effective process across the board.
However, just be careful to not pare down your supply chain too far that, if one partner falls through, your whole chain falls apart.
It’s a careful balance between having a supply chain that’s too lean and one that’s right on target. Regularly evaluate the partners you’re working with to make sure you can strike that balance between too many and not enough for a well-running, effective supply chain.
Fulfillment Company on the East Coast
If you’re looking to outsource part or all of your supply chain management, look no further than Cannon Hill Logistics. We have more than 30 years of experience helping businesses succeed, and our convenient location on the East Coast means your products get where they need to go faster. Call today for a quote!