A supply chain is a network of individuals, businesses, organizations, resources, activities and technology involved in the creation and sale of a product from inception through to delivery to end users. Supply chain management is the oversight of all resources that go into the supply chain process.
Within supply chains there are many challenges that emerge. These challenges vary from organization to organization but there are some common opportunities that many different industries may experience. With some adjustments and focus, many of the common challenges can become manageable aspects of the supply chain.
Here are some common supply chain challenges that arise within a manufacturing and distribution environment:
Talent Acquisition and Retention
Finding the right employees to perform needed tasks to achieve the results your company needs is not easy. There are many struggles that businesses encounter when it comes to finding and then retaining the right employees.
A solid recruiting plan and recruiters to execute the plan can be a helpful way to keep the pipeline full when it comes to talent acquisition. Another way to impact recruiting is by improving and maintaining a positive employee morale with existing staff. Happy employees tell people about where they work. This can lead to a fuller pipeline organically.
Managing inventory in a productive and profitable way can be a challenge. In today’s fast-paced environments, having a system to help manage vast inventories can help an organization go from overwhelmed to organized. But whether an operation is small, mid-sized or massive, the need for effectively managing inventory is a mission-critical one.
An automated inventory handling system can be a huge asset to an organization with vast inventory storage and organization needs. Although these types of systems are a significant investment, having a system will help with costs, efficiency and speed in the long run.
Managing Big Data
There is so much data to be collected and as much data as possible should be collected. The problem becomes what is important, and how are decisions made from this data.
Making decisions on which data is needed for analysis is important. By drilling down to the information that is needed, valuable time will be saved. It is also important to decide when metrics are needed and when they aren’t. Information is important and a great thing to have but too much information can create paralysis without a solid plan.
The Last Mile
Companies pay millions of dollars a year to deliver packages. Although this is the cost of doing business, it can be difficult to be at the mercy of major carriers when it comes to costs transferred to customers.
A potential solution is offering shipping incentives (free shipping with qualifiers) to customers. These incentives should increase sales and drive overall volume. By increasing volume, the high cost of shipping is offset while still allowing customers to get products that they need.
The best way to solve potential issues in your operation’s supply chain is to identify weak links in the chain and work on new systems to strengthen those weak links. For every problem there is a solution. Seeking solutions that increase customer satisfaction while adding to the bottom line will keep your operation running successfully for years to come.