3 Steps to Developing a Successful Supply Chain Strategy
By Allegiance Staffing
August 17, 2021
If you feel like your current supply chain strategy isn’t up to snuff, it probably just needs a little TLC. In fact, it’s a good idea for supply chain managers to revisit their strategy at least once a year to ensure that things like re-staffing and industry changes are considered and accounted for.
How to Update Your Supply Chain
The main three steps to developing a successful strategy are assessing the current state of things, planning out what needs to be changed, and then moving forward with implementing your plan. Keep reading for more details on each stage to ensure you’re covering all of the important bases!
- Take your business plan into consideration. Within your business plan, you should have a map of sorts that details how products are shipped and tracked from point A to point B. This is the part that needs to be considered during strategy development. While supply chain management and strategy are two separate things, they are both tied together and should be considered during the assessment and planning stages.
- Analyze your current supply chain management strategy. Take a look at what is currently being done, what is working, what’s no longer needed, and what gaps need to be filled.
- Determine your customer requirements. If your supply chain is going to be successful, customer satisfaction is key. Take a look at where your demand is highest and how fulfillment is being addressed. Specific areas to examine are delivery frequency, windows, inventory levels, fulfillment lead times, return policies, damages during transportation, packaging requirements for quality shipment, product labeling, and any special delivery services you provide.
- Assess internal capabilities. Once you assess your demands and what’s currently missing in your fulfillment process, take a look at what you’re able to fix immediately and what is holding you back from effectively implementing changes. This often means hiring or removing staff, changing staff responsibilities, investing in new tools and machinery, etc.
- Research current supply chain trends. If you haven’t already, find some resources that provide you with updated supply chain trends, like newsletters and podcasts. A couple of examples are sdcexec.com and the SupplyChainBrain podcast. (Our blog tends to have some pretty good info too!)
- Competitive analysis. When making changes to level up your game, it’s always wise to take a look at the competition. Things to look at are performance data, processes, technology, and networking capabilities.
- Map out supply, demand, and operational risks. This step is one that gets left out a lot though it poses a huge threat to the efficiency of a supply chain strategy. We learned that in 2020, as many supply chains struggled to deal with a crisis they hadn’t efficiently planned for.
- Receive feedback from employees. Make sure to poll your employees on their perspective on how things are currently being run and what improvements they’d like to see. Their insights are extremely valuable and will help you develop an implementation plan that the staff will receive well.
- Document new supply chain capabilities. When developing your plan, a good strategy should consider at least the next three years. Of course, you may need to pivot and change as your environment does, but this is an efficient way to plan for the foreseeable future.
- Set goals. At this point in the process, you should be clear on what needs to change. To help you and your team achieve these changes, list out a set of key goals and results for everyone to work toward and how they will keep track of wins and setbacks. Some examples of goals would be to maintain on-time delivery performance, improve supplier on-time delivery, and reduce lead time by 50%.
- Create a report that’s easy to look at. If you have a really organized and well-designed report, you will have an easier time delivering it to the team and getting them on board.
- Present your plan. Include how you plan to implement the new strategy into the staff’s daily processes and the essential roles they will need to play for the plan to be a success.
- Roll out your plan. Make sure resources are created for your team, so they have easy access and goals front-of-mind at all times. Incentivize supervisors to stay on top of these things by providing opportunities for bonuses or other types of rewards.
- Evaluate results. Don’t forget to keep an eye on your results and make adjustments as needed to ensure all of that time spent on assessment and planning doesn’t go to waste!
How We Help
Staff is the lifeblood of every company. Without the commitment and strength of your staff, you will not be able to successfully implement your new supply chain strategy, no matter how solid it is. With over 20 years of experience staffing the supply chain, Allegiance Staffing can help you get your team where it needs to be.