You may not have made your personal New Year’s Resolutions yet, but it’s time to give serious thought to resolutions for your supply chain. What do you want to accomplish in 2016? How do you see your role developing? Here are some ideas to get you started:
- Claim a seat at the table. The supply chain is usually on the receiving end of a business’s strategy: “Here’s what we’re going to do—figure out how to make it work.” But that’s old school. When you think about how greatly supply chain costs affect profitability, it doesn’t make sense. Businesses are starting to realize this, and are including the supply chain in strategic planning initiatives so that they’ll have full visibility into inventory management issues that could affect success and profitability.
- Don’t neglect sustainability. Not only is incorporating sustainability into your 2016 supply chain planning good for the environment, but it’s also good for your business. Today’s consumers—especially Millennials—care enough about a company’s environmental footprint to make that part of their purchasing decision. In fact, one Nielsen survey revealed that 55% of global online customers would be willing to pay more to buy from a company that’s made a commitment to environmental and social issues. Sustainability isn’t just the right thing to do; it’s a competitive advantage.
- Use technology to boost productivity. Far too often, there is a lot of time wasted in a warehouse environment—going from aisle to aisle trying to find a particular product, walking across the facility because the product isn’t stored anywhere near the place where it’s going to be packed up for shipment, and etc. A robust inventory management system can eliminate some of those extra steps and shine a bright light on others. With an inventory management system, you’ll know exactly where everything is, from the time it leaves the supplier until the time it reaches the final customer. And that means no more wasted time trying to find something. The right inventory management system can also help you set up your facility to minimize the amount of space any given product has to be moved (or the number of times it has to be handled).
- Use technology to help customers help themselves. How much time do your customer service representatives spend telling customers when their purchases will arrive? With the right inventory management system, the answer could be almost zero. The system would automatically send each customer an email confirmation that contains tracking information. The customer would then need to do no more than click a link to find out where their purchase is and when it will arrive.
- Use technology to enhance traceability. Customers aren’t the only ones who want to know where products are. Suppliers, and even government agencies, sometimes want to know, too. Recalls are a good example. Instead of issuing a mass recall of a product that contains unlabeled peanuts, for example, you could recall only the specific items affected, saving time and money—not to mention reducing customer inconvenience. Electronics are another example of a product that you must be able to trace every step of the way.
- Count your pennies. When you have to rely on manual inventory management, it can be hard to know how much money you have. Cycle counts, shipments, payments, and orders often cross paths, and it soon becomes impossible to keep up with everything. With an inventory management system that integrates into your accounting software, you’ll always know where you stand.
What gets tracked gets done. Make sure you setup solid New Year’s Resolutions for your supply chain as well as your business to make 2016 your smoothest year yet.
If it’s been a few years since you’ve looked at inventory management systems, you might be in for a pleasant surprise. Systems like QStock Inventory can automate a lot of the minutia, letting you focus on strategic matters like cost control, productivity, and customer satisfaction. Give us a call today to learn more about how we can help you make 2016 the year you take your supply chain to the next level.