Managing An Ever-Changing Supply Chain Reality
Today’s supply chain landscape is rapidly evolving, making it more difficult than ever for organizations to keep up. Many people think of the supply chain as something completely controlled by the manufacturer. In reality, no one party is in total control of the supply chain – it is an ever-changing cast of characters all trying to juggle a complex dynamic.
At Unilog, we think of the supply chain like a video game. When gamers dive into their favorite titles on the Xbox or PlayStation, their reality is constantly shifting as they take on a new identity, encounter new characters within the game, and navigate new environments in order to meet their goals.
While the settings and challenges in a video game are ever-changing, the end goal is always clear. This is also true in the supply chain – while there are new challenges constantly emerging, all parties involved are always working together in service of the same end goal. That goal is to get products from the manufacturer all the way to the end customer in the most efficient way possible and keep customers satisfied.
If you’re playing a video game with your friends, there might be one winner, but the true value is in taking time to relax and spend time with people you care about. Everyone plays their best and ideally will feel good about the game they played and their role in it.
So who is the winner in the supply chain? Just like a video game, the most important thing is that everyone plays their best. At Unilog, we know that everybody wins when products are in the right place at the right time.
Understanding today’s supply chain landscape is one thing, but actually navigating it is a different challenge. There’s a lot we can learn from video games when it comes to managing your supply chain – here are some tips to keep in mind as you navigate this complex supply chain reality.
Track Your Goals
Most video games have clear goals or tasks that players need to complete in order to progress. For example, you might need to complete a series of mini-quests in order to advanced to the next level.
The supply chain is no different. The manufacturer, warehouses, and shipping partners all work together to achieve the overarching goal of getting the product to the end customer. However, each entity will also need to set their own smaller goals to keep the supply chain on track.
So what do those smaller goals look like for your organization, and how do you work toward them? This will depend on your product, customer base, and existing supply chain. For example, you might set a goal of improving your production output or speeding up your delivery times. In order to stay on top of those goals, you’ll need a way to track them.
Implementing modern technology like IoT and machine learning programs is often the most efficient way to track your progress. For example, at Unilog, we use our Logivice software to help our clients track all of their products and shipments across the world. They can easily identify or even prevent late deliveries and monitor other statistics. Having so much data at your fingertips makes it easy to keep working toward your goals.
Find The Right Partners
Winning a video game often requires you to develop a detailed strategy and collect resources from a variety of different places throughout the game. In real life, your organization will need to find the right partners to “win” your supply chain challenges.
Specifically, it’s very important to build a network of reliable suppliers and manufacturers to handle whatever supply chain challenges come your way. Diversifying your manufacturer base is key because it ensures that production doesn’t stop, even if there are material shortages, labor shortages, or other issues specific to a single manufacturer.
While playing a video game, you’re likely looking for the easiest, most efficient way to reach your goals. Diversifying your supply chain can also help you make your supply chain more efficient. Working with manufacturers in different parts of the world gives you the opportunity to set up more efficient shipping routes and potentially reach a wider range of customers.
Improve Your Communication
To succeed in a multiplayer game, you’ll need to communicate consistently with your partners. Failing to communicate often results in confusion and makes it difficult to achieve your goals. Communication between supply chain partners is just as important. Communicating clearly about shipments and expectations helps you prevent delays before they happen.
Total supply chain transparency for all parties involved is key. This is where comprehensive supply chain software comes in handy. With Logivice, all of your supply chain stakeholders can view your shipments digitally, which makes it easy to check in and avoid confusion. Facilitate an environment of proactive communication to stay on top of your shipments.
Get Expert Help Where You Need It
If you’re struggling to beat a video game, it’s okay to look up tutorials or cheat codes online – after all, the game is supposed to be fun. When it comes to your supply chain, don’t be afraid to seek help if you’re struggling to meet your goals on your own.
In today’s increasingly global economy, it’s become very tricky to manage a complex supply chain with manufacturers all over the world. 4PL companies like Unilog handle every aspect of your supply chain for you, from finding the right suppliers all the way to shipping and delivery partners. By managing the entire supply chain from end to end, we are able to streamline the process and make it as efficient as possible.
If you’re not sure how to stay on top of a challenging supply chain, consider partnering with Unilog. With a 4Pl, you’ll maximize your supply chain performance and free up your staff to focus on other tasks. Contact us today to learn more about our supply chain services.