5 Supply Chain Best Practices

Curated for your enjoyment. You’re welcome.

superhero

I know you want to be the best at what you do—that’s why you clicked the link to this blog post. You want to be the best supply chain manager there ever was. You want (comic) books to be written about you, telling stories of how you slayed countless POs. The master of KPIs; the ruler of mitigation.  We’ll call you ‘Super SCM’ (because I’m convinced the next superhero will be named with an acronym). So to get you to legendary status, let’s go over the top 5 supply chain best practices. Then we can get started on that costume of yours.

1. ESTABLISH ALLIANCES WITH KEY SUPPLIERS. 

Ever heard of supplier relationship management? That’s when companies work closely with suppliers long after a deal has been signed. It’s a practice done by some of the best companies (in other words, all the cool kids are doing it). In essence, it’s a two-way communication that requires the buyer and seller to jointly manage the relationship, resulting in a more effective one. And it only requires 3 steps: create a platform for solving problems, develop goals for improvement on both ends, and make sure that performance measurement objectives are attained. Done and done.

2. IMPLEMENT COLLABORATIVE STRATEGIC SOURCING.  

Go one step further than the competition: get people outside of the purchasing department actively involved in the decision-making process. Collect feedback and information concerning their objectives and strategies that include functional areas—like finance/accounting, engineering, operations, maintenance, safety, and quality assurance. The result? Availability of supplies, lower total costs, a streamlined process, and increased responsiveness to customers’ changing needs. Boom.

3. TECHNOLOGY SHOULD WORK FOR YOU. 

It’s 2014. If technology isn’t doing most of the heavy lifting—you’re doing it wrong. Here’s a tip: review the processes that need improvement, and only select the technologies that best solve your problems. Don’t just blindly choose and hope for the best. Just because you have an ERP system in place, doesn’t mean your retrieving the type of data you need for making proper strategy and business decisions. Make it a priority to truly understand the system you’re using, and know that it’s supposed to help you better manage your supply chain, not complicate things further. If you’re only getting the data you need by performing various work-arounds, it’s not the system for you.

4. LEARN TO MINIMIZE RISK. 

I’m not sure if anyone told you, but we’re no longer living in the 90s (actually, I just told you in the last paragraph). A “resilient” supply chain is an outdated one. You’re not still frosting your hair tips and rocking out to Hootie & the Blowfish, are you? Didn’t think so. It’s 15 years later and the kind of supply chain you need is a predictive one. If you’re not anticipating risks and mitigating them before they become an issue, you’re wasting time, money, and precious resources. When you’re shopping for SCM systems, make sure they’re from this century.

5. GO GREEN.

If you don’t care about your company’s carbon footprint, you’re making a big mistake. Both buyers and consumers now take into account the environmental impact when they choose suppliers. And if you’re not careful, a negative company evaluation report assessing green practices may damage your brand. Plus, being environmentally aware is a cost saving practice. Smaller packages mean more quantities moved, less gas used, and faster shipping times. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

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