A robust supply chain is critical for any business that would like to operate on a global scale. Such a supply chain eliminates the chances of supply disruption, which can cost your business a lot of money or even damage its reputation. Although it might seem that many of the factors that affect supply chains might be out of your control, there are several things you can do to ensure your supply chain is performing at its best. Below, we will look at how you can build a robust supply chain that has a low risk of getting disrupted, thereby saving you both time and money.
Source for a Supplier or Manufacturer
The first step in getting your supply chain up and running is sourcing the right supplier or manufacturer. When doing this, it is important to do proper research before committing to any supplier or manufacturer. The most important thing to check here is if they are an international company. Since you may have different branches of your global business, you want a company with a large enough presence that they can supply almost anywhere. Being an international business makes them a great candidate in this regard.
Second, check what their maximum orders and maximum output capacity are. Their maximum order number will help you know if they can supply enough products for the number of customers you have. Their maximum output, on the other hand, will help you know if they have the capacity to keep up if you have a sudden spike in demand.
Lastly, ask about their lead times and delivery. While it is true that improvements in international transport have reduced lead time, it is still a good idea to ask so you have a clear idea, depending on the supplier or manufacturer you are considering.
Start With Good Data
Data is a critical part of building a robust supply system, especially a global one. If your numbers are incorrect, you might end up with a large inventory that you cannot move. The most important tool in your arsenal will be your forecasting tool. This tool will help you create accurate demand forecasts by ensuring you have the right data and that you have a clear understanding of where demand will be highest.
Additionally, you can work with your suppliers to come up with your forecasts. Suppliers who have been in the businesses for a long time understand trends and how demand fluctuates. By working with them, you can avoid issues such as under-delivering or overstocking. Eliminating the chances of under-delivery ensures you avoid premium charges for rush orders while eliminating overstocking will help you save on warehousing and inventory management costs.
Use Integrated Software Solutions
The collection and dissemination of data can get complicated quickly if you do not have the right systems in place to make these processes as efficiently as possible. An integrated software system allows for a much more efficient, streamlined, and robust supply chain.
Any system that you consider should make it easy to collect, integrate, disseminate, and analyze data. Additionally, it should also make it easy to distribute the analyzed data to all stakeholders so that everyone can make informed decisions that are backed by data.
An integrated software solution reduces the pressure that would otherwise be put on your employees, helps eliminate errors in the collection and dissemination of data and information, and helps you utilize your resources better.
Use Innovations to Your Advantage
There are lots of innovations you can use to manage your supply chain better. Some of these are technological innovations such as artificial intelligence, the internet of things, software, or even drones. Any of these innovations should tie into your existing systems seamlessly so there are disruptions. In some cases, the innovations are just improvements upon ideas that already exist. Click here to learn how two companies came up with innovations that make supply chain management easier by improving upon technology that already exists.
Build Strong Relationships
The relationships between your business and everyone in your supply chain will decide its success. A strong supply chain depends on the transparency of all stakeholders, with all relationships built with mutual benefit in mind.
When building these relationships, it is important to be upfront about what you expect. This is why it is so important to negotiate terms upfront. For example, you can have arrangements about how payments are going to be handled or what happens if they are unable to deliver products you have already partially paid for.
Diversify Your Supply Chain
Establishing a supply chain for a global business is complicated because of all the moving parts involved. When sourcing suppliers, it is always a good idea to establish a good relationship with several suppliers. This affords you several advantages.
First, it helps ensure there is continuity if any of your suppliers are unable to deliver when you need them to. Second, it puts you in a position to negotiate better deals. Having several suppliers to pit against each other might also give you perks like priority deliveries or discounts on bulk purchases.
Suppliers and other stakeholders cannot deliver what you need if you do not let them know what you want from them clearly. You need to develop a system for clearly communicating your needs and expectations and let our suppliers know how to respond to your needs. Also, try to provide a clear expectation of what you need so that you do not leave room for any misunderstandings and mistakes. Providing clear details can help the supplier serve you better.
Balance Flexibility, Resiliency, and Cost Effectiveness
Healthy supply chains are able to balance resiliency and flexibility with the cost of setting up the supply chain. Flexibility means that your business has lots of suppliers to choose from, which guarantees the best prices. Resiliency means the ability to stay on and recover from issues and challenges that would be disastrous to your supply chain.
Building a supply chain that is both flexible and resilient will cost more and you may only be able to justify that cost when your supply chain is challenged and its flexibility and resiliency save it.
Building a robust supply chain for a global business is complicated especially because of all the moving parts and different stakeholders involved. However, if you have the right data, source reputable suppliers, and have a plan in place for unforeseen circumstances, your supply chain should be robust enough to withstand anything.