Every company that creates a product and sells this to a customer, has a supply chain to optimize. Since the supply chain involves almost the entire business, from purchasing to customer fulfillment, it is a great opportunity for most companies to significantly reduce their cost and improve their performance.
This blog post offers some crucial guidelines to improve your supply chain performance. Why? Because a well-designed supply chain can
- significantly improve your margins;
- support expansion into new markets;
- enhance the customer’s experience;
- and reduce operating costs.
1. Gather accurate data along your supply chain
In order to enhance your supply chain, you need accurate data to base your decisions upon. With accurate data at hand, you can control and monitor your supply chain operations in a more efficient and proactive way. In order to do this, understanding the various sources of data and how they impact the supply chain is key.
There are various types of supply chain management software that can help you gather accurate and complete data. Think of order processing tools, lean management tools, solutions for warehouse management, and transportation and logistics tools. By gathering data with these solutions you will have a specific idea of what your needs are and how you can lower costs. Besides this, you can also check whether subcontractors in the supply chain meet their KPI’s and contractual obligations.
2. Ensure your inventory is always on point
Inventory management is often a hidden cost and one of the most crucial parts of the supply chain. Regular, systematic cycle counts can be a solution to manage your inventory. The problem here is that it’s not automated. You need manpower and risk human error.
Automating your inventory will eliminate human error. A possible solution to streamline your inventory is asset tracking technology. It will allow you to identify different types of assets on either a small or large scale. On a small scale, it will give you insights into the assets on a manufacturing site for example. On a larger scale, you can track across a whole country where assets are. Furthermore, the inventory data can be used in your reporting.
3. Streamline your demand planning
Demand planning is another important area of the supply chain that deserves a thorough examination. A more detailed demand planning increases the likelihood that you’ll have enough goods to fulfill your demand. And you avoid purchasing too many goods.
Having a picture in mind of the expected demand, allows you to create a production plan based on that demand and the length of your products’ various lead times. Robust demand planning and lead time management can help you minimize the amount of money you might be spending on logistics fees. It is thus an ideal way to decrease costs.
4. Always be on top of your orders
Now more than ever the consumer buyer experience is shaping the expectations for B2B services. With reliable data on where an asset is and how it moves, you can easily communicate to customers when they can expect an order to arrive. Furthermore, you have a clear view of when an order will be fulfilled.
Communicating timely and optimizing order fulfillment will help you increase your order accuracy, and thus customer satisfaction. Let us look at the components of order fulfillment that can be improved. Firstly, you can search for ways to load your transportation means faster. Secondly, you can optimize your delivery routes. Optimizing your delivery routes can be achieved with insights on your asset rotation and retention. For example, our customer ABInBev, the largest brewer worldwide, uses Sensolus to monitor their supply chain KPI’s, such as trailer rotation.
5. Access to real-time data for decision making
Just like inventory management is often a hidden cost, the ability to make better decisions is oftentimes overlooked as one of the areas that can be improved in the supply chain. Decision making is based on the data you have access to. So how well-informed you are, will positively impact the decisions you’ll make.
Just like asset tracking technology can help you monitor assets, it also gives you access to real-time data. Real-time data that is reliable, up-to-date and allows you to make decisions on the fly. In case any emergencies occur, you can react fast and recover quickly from delivery, communication, or subcontractor mistakes.
So, now you have a better view on what you can improve with supply chain optimization, but how exactly can you improve your supply chain in the first place? In our opinion, it comes down to having a good solution in place that will help you take control of your supply chain process. A solution that gathers all your insights.
Feel free to get in touch with us so we can share our expertise in optimizing your supply chain with asset tracking technology.