Supply Chain Best Practices You Need to Know
By Allegiance Staffing
November 23, 2021
Suppose you’re looking for ways to increase profitability, maximize efficiency, and improve the overall workflow of your entire organization. In that case, you have something in common with literally every business in the world. But did you know that you can achieve all of this by optimizing your supply chain?
A well-organized supply chain can be the difference between “best in class” and “would not recommend.” That’s why we’ve put together this list of supply chain best practices that can help you transform your company.
1. Communication is Key
The most crucial part of any workflow is the quality of communication throughout the process. If your company has clear, open lines of communication, you’re already ahead of the game. If not, even the best systems won’t save you.
Make sure that you’re encouraging strong, constant communication between departments, between employees and management, and between your company and your vendors and suppliers. Getting everyone talking is a critical first step.
2. Build (and Maintain) Strong Vendor Relationships
Whether we admit it or not, everyone plays favorites. That’s why it’s crucial for you to have strong relationships with your vendors and suppliers. Even something as simple as a pleasant tone in your emails or phone calls can go a long way toward fostering a good connection.
When it’s crunch time, and you need something fast, who do you think will go the extra mile for your company? Hint: it’s the vendor that you’re friendly with. Be a good customer and keep a friendly attitude, and you won’t be treated like just another client.
3. Learn to Forecast
The ability to predict when you’ll need inventory (and when you won’t) is extremely important to your supply chain’s success. Finding yourself with bare shelves is bad enough, but storing extra inventory that you shouldn’t have ordered yet presents its own problems.
A good inventory management software can help you spot trends in your ordering needs that may be difficult to spot otherwise. For example, anticipating a holiday rush or canceling an automatic refill on printer paper can save you money and keep your shelves stocked. Your clients will thank you.
4. Plan for the Worst
We’ve had to learn many hard lessons during the pandemic, and one of them is the importance of contingency planning. If your supply chain can’t take an unexpected change of events without falling apart, you need to start working on your “Plan B.”
While you certainly aren’t expected to have a plan for every disaster that could occur, you should at least have a few contingencies in place. Alternate or supplementary vendors are a good place to start, as is partnering with a staffing agency that can provide you with extra workers on short notice.
5. Keep Your Infrastructure Current
You don’t necessarily need the latest version of inventory management software or GPS tags on your forklifts, but your supply chain must keep up with the times. This is especially true for legacy businesses. Just because it worked for your grandfather doesn’t mean it’s still the way to go.
It pays to keep an eye on current trends in your industry and talk to supply chain professionals about potential upgrades. Of course, you’re not going to find a “magic bullet” that will fix all of your problems, but you won’t get left behind either.
6. Never Stop Training
When you hire a new employee, do you train them only in their position, or do you make sure they know where their job fits into the overall plan? Keeping everyone on your staff well trained in the workings of your supply chain will give you an edge when it comes to spotting problems.
If you think training everyone isn’t so important, ask yourself how well you would do if you lost that one person who knows how everything works. While it’s great to have such a qualified employee, you don’t want everything to come to a halt because they had to take a sick day.
7. Put the Right People in Place
Ultimately, your supply chain is far more than your software, your inventory, and your vendors. Without the right employees, the best plans will still fall apart. You need to staff your company with workers who have the skills, the experience, and the attitude to keep things running smoothly.
No matter how far automation has come, the human element is still a significant draw for why people want to do business. It’s the reason that you see more smiling workers than robots in advertisements. So make sure that you’ve got the right people for your company.
Allegiance Staffing Can Help
Allegiance Staffing specializes in finding candidates with the experience and qualifications you need to keep your supply chain best practices (and, therefore, your business) going strong. You don’t need to take up your time gambling on applicants. Let us send you the best.