How to develop a successful supply chain

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Supply chains are as broad a topic as they are vital. The correct practices to develop a successful supply chain make a huge difference in efficiency and the bottom line. Creating a solid strategy to get great results is not easy, though.

Luckily, there are a few steps one can take to smooth out their supply chain. We at Transparent International NYC thought it would be useful for you to know about these steps, so read on for some insight.

Planning a successful supply chain

It only makes sense that planning is crucial to develop a successful supply chain. And the first point of order is deciding on an operations strategy. More precisely, you need to outline the manufacturing of your product.

Product manufacture

Now, as a company, you have a few options in this regard. When it comes to who should be doing the actual manufacturing, you have a few routes you can take. You can:

  • Manufacture parts in an international production facility and tap into a foreign market
  • Buy your parts from a domestic supplier
  • Domestically manufacture the product parts
  • Buy the parts outright from a foreign supplier

All of these have their own perks in certain situations. For example, buying components or making them somewhere else makes moving companies overseas a little less expensive due to fewer assets in need of transport. Naturally, you should opt for one that best suits your operations.

Various drilling tools - develop a successful supply chain
Manufacturing is one of the first things you need to sort in your supply chain strategy

You should also consider how to make whatever you’re producing. You can make to stock or to order (i.e., to store or send to customers directly), for one. There’s also the option to engineer order or configure to order, which involves creating to customer specs and only partially making a product only to complete it later respectively.

Other considerations

Beyond the manufacturing part, you also need to take into account all the factories and warehouses you will be using. You’ll need to map out their network, put a production cap on them, and define the operation flow between all facilities. Managing the global supply chain will be an important part of your plans, too.

Throughout the planning stage, you have to make sure that the supply chain fits well with your business strategies. And if that wasn’t enough, systems for communication, measuring performance, and data collection need to be in place, as well. It’s a lot to take in, but all of it is pivotal.

Getting staff and suppliers on board

Once your plan is more or less in place, you need to pitch it to your suppliers and your staff.

For the former, you may have to be a tad more delicate. Small and mid-market companies will have a harder time getting their way with suppliers. As such, you have to clearly delineate the value that your strategy brings to all parties involved. If you’re a big player, though, this will be easier.

No matter the power you have, try to maintain an equal relationship with the suppliers. An uneven power dynamic between the two of you will lead to a shaky relationship. This can quickly turn sour if the supply chain happens to break for some reason. If the supplier feels exploited or unappreciated, they will likely do a poor job when it matters the most.

A pen and a paper with "I Agree" written next to a checkbox
If your staff and suppliers are not okay with your strategy, there will be serious problems

Developing a supply chain with help from the staff

As far as the internal staff goes, their consent is vital if you want to develop a successful supply chain. They will experience the brunt of these sweeping changes, after all. From different workflows to needing relocation via international relocation services, they may be under a lot of disruption.

You’ll have to talk to every team affected by your new strategy and get their opinions. Work out what these changes imply for how they function at the moment and whether these changes are good.

Pay special attention to front-end employees as they will likely feel the impact the most. Not only that, but their positions are also the ones that quickly find problems in the supply chain. Issues on their end mean bad practices on your end.

Keep scheduling realistic to develop a successful supply chain

Scope, resources, and schedule – these are the three top factors any manager oversees.  Without a proper schedule in place, your supply chain will crumble in short notice. It’s the heartbeat that keeps industries like those of door-to-door international movers punctual and precise.

One of the most common mistakes schedule-wise is management being too impatient. They may expect results or an ROI too quickly, which drives them to rush strategy rollout. That obviously risks the supply chain moving on without all the systems being ready for it. And, of course, this would seriously dampen the ROI potential that you could have been enjoying otherwise.

The best way to work around these problems lies in implementing the new supply chain in gradual phases. This should give employees enough room to adjust to the transition. You can set a deadline for everyone to get used to one phase and then introduce the next.

An open scheduling notebook
Scheduling is the linchpin holding the entire supply chain together

How to develop a successful supply chain: wrapup

The factors that go into keeping a supply chain healthy are as daunting as a balancing act between two skyscrapers. Plenty of things can go wrong – and many of them will, given enough time. And that is why we place so much emphasis on the importance of having a sound strategy in place.

Keep in mind that the above tips are not the only ones out there. There is simply too much to go over for the purposes of a single article. However, the above points are a great general guideline on how to develop a successful supply chain. They address the most common fumbles in supply chain management. So use this advice well and good luck.


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