Six Ways To Increase Efficiency In The Global Supply Chain
In a fast-paced global economy, it’s important to keep your supply chain running as efficiently as possible. Working efficiently not only saves time and money, but it also helps you avoid shipping mistakes and minimize waste.
At Unilog, we help our clients develop efficient supply chain strategies to navigate the global market. As a 4PL provider, we offer end-to-end supply chain optimization. With our Logivice software program, we monitor your orders, your available inventory, and your current shipments to give you total control of your supply chain.
If you struggle to consistently send out on-time shipments, there are steps you can take to make your operations more efficient. Here are six ways to improve your organization’s efficiency and succeed in the global supply chain.
1. Improve your visibility.
In order to run your supply chain more efficiently, you’ll need full control over all your operations. With full supply chain visibility, you’ll be able to track all of your products and shipments at all times. This requires the different parts of your supply chain to work together to prevent confusion.
Many organizations inadvertently keep their supply chain data siloed so that only some key stakeholders have access to it. This is where supply chain management software comes in handy. Programs like Logivice allow all of your key supply chain stakeholders to login and monitor orders as they move through different steps in the process.
Breaking down your data silos prevents your team from double shipping or order processing. Supply chain visibility also helps you prevent delayed or incorrect orders. The software program can identify potential problems as soon as they arise, giving your team time to course correct. Visibility also gives you helpful data that you can use to optimize your inventory management and your shipping strategy to get things done faster.
2. Choose reliable suppliers.
Your suppliers are crucial to keeping your operations running smoothly. To work as efficiently as possible, you’ll need a network of suppliers you trust. When selecting suppliers to work with, don’t just consider the quality of the product. You’ll also want to consider how well they communicate with your team as well as their ability to make on-time deliveries. Don’t be afraid to look for new suppliers if your current ones aren’t meeting your needs.
Diversifying your supply chain is particularly important right now as the current geopolitical environment has been very unsteady. Recently, COVID-19 regulations in Asia and conflict in eastern Europe have disrupted supply chains around the world. To protect your organization from supply chain disruptions, it’s best to work with multiple suppliers from different parts of the world. This reduces the chances of delayed shipments in the event of a global emergency.
3. Implement demand planning.
Supply and demand doesn’t stay at the same rate throughout the year – it changes over time as a result of consumer purchasing patterns. Using a demand planning strategy can help you stay prepared for busy seasons without over-stocking during slow periods.
To plan ahead for demand, start by looking at order data from previous years to determine consumer shopping patterns during the year. Then, consider if there are any unique factors in the upcoming months that could change your demand levels. For example, many health products were in higher demand during COVID-19 surges than they would be otherwise.
You’ll also need to consider factors that affect your suppliers. For example, weather events like hurricanes or floods can limit supply chain production in certain parts of the world. If your suppliers are in an area that is prone to extreme weather, stock up to prevent shortages in the event of an emergency. It’s also important to consider holidays in other countries – for example, the winter holiday season in China is later than the winter holiday season in north America.
4. Use automation.
Using AI technology in your supply chain can save your entire organization time and money. Automation can take repetitive tasks off your plate, giving your team more time to tackle complex problems. Additionally, automation can help prevent order processing and shipping mistakes to keep your customers happy.
There are a variety of ways that you can apply automation to your supply chain. For example, AI systems can handle things like demand management, order processing, and even planning optimal shipping routes. Some organizations have even implemented automated manufacturing systems.
Pairing automation with IoT technology gives you even more control and visibility over your supply chain. IoT devices use sensors to track where items are in your warehouses or along your shipping routes.
5. Develop a returns system.
Many organizations neglect their returns processing while focusing heavily on other aspects of the supply chain. However, you’ll need a returns system in place in order for your business to truly function efficiently. Even if you don’t process returns often, it’s important to define your returns procedure so you can avoid wasting product when they do happen.
6. Re-evaluate and adjust your system as needed.
Your supply chain strategy shouldn’t stay stagnant – it should change over time as your company grows and trends change. To keep your supply chain working efficiently, you’ll need to be consistently re-evaluating your performance and looking for ways to improve.
Using analytics is one of the most efficient ways to do this. Implementing supply chain visibility software will give you access to a large volume of supply chain data. You can use this data to determine where supply chain hiccups are happening and identify what steps should be adjusted.
If you want to make your supply chain more efficient but aren’t sure where to start, consider working with a 4PL company like Unilog. We handle all aspects of your supply chain and will help you select suppliers, warehouses, and shipping partners that best fit your needs. Using the latest supply chain technology, we develop a comprehensive strategy to make your entire process more efficient. Contact us today to learn more about our global supply chain solutions.