Supply chain management is a fundamental component to success but also something that is very easy to get wrong. Whether you’re finding relationships difficult, or costs too high, issues with supply chain management can create what may seem like insurmountable problems. In fact, sometimes all it takes is a little tweak to managing your partnerships to make them more positive and profitable for everyone involved.
Define your goals – and match these with your suppliers
Organisations always work better in tandem when there are clear common goals. Your suppliers are much more likely to be willing to go the extra mile to find creative solutions and new strategies if they feel like they also get something from the collaboration. For example, if one of your goals for 2018 is to be greener and more sustainable in production, working with suppliers who share that goal will result in more positive and innovative outcomes. If you’re plodding on with suppliers who just don’t see the benefit in doing anything more than paying lip service to such an objective then the fact that your organisations are looking in different directions could well slow the relationship down.
Invest in data sharing technology
There are lots of examples that show data sharing has provided significant cost savings down the supply chain. Using cloud technology to provide access to supply chain and inventory data in real time to your suppliers can provide opportunities to identify efficiencies and help to develop more effective business strategies that do more for both organisations. Real time data sharing also enables partnerships to be more responsive and to enable planning that is more focused and accurate. If your current relationships lack impact then sharing data could make a difference.
Consider reducing the number of suppliers you work with
The fewer supply chain relationships that you have, the more time and effort can be put into each one. Streamlining suppliers can be enormously beneficial to overall supply chain management, especially if you’ve been working with the same businesses for some time and haven’t really been happy with the results. So, take the time to look at your current supply chain and to analyse each component partner within it. Where is there the potential for better collaboration and improved relationships if you streamline the partners that you have?
Take suppliers’ goals into account
The best and most productive relationships in a supply chain are those that drive both parties towards shared goals, as well as individual objectives. Do you know what your supply chain partners are looking to achieve and is the partnership beneficial for everyone involved? If there is currently an imbalance then look into ways to correct this. The natural instinct might be to only ensure your own interests are covered. However, if you can engineer a win-win situation for both parties you’re guaranteed to see better results.
At UCS we have 20 years of experience in the courier and logistics solutions industries – we are flexible, affordable and understand the benefits of a truly collaborative partnership.