An efficient supply chain is critical to achieving order accuracy and customer satisfaction. Companies must take the initiative to improve the training of supply chain employees and periodically review their relationships with key vendors and shipping agents. Additionally, they should consider automating their inventory management processes to conserve costs and human resources. Below are six supply chain planning strategies designed to help maximize a company’s overall performance.
Enhance Training Programs for Supply Chain Employees
Well-trained employees are the foundation of an efficient supply chain. In order for employees and supply chains to operate most effectively, all employees should understand how their individual jobs are critical to the overall functioning of a company. Training programs should be detailed and thorough and should encompass the following points:
- An overview of the fields of distribution and logistics
- The order picking and packing process
- Inventory management strategies
- Shipping and transportation operations
- MRP & DRP concepts
- Communication skills to use during vendor and customer interactions
- The importance of accuracy and meeting deadlines
Whenever possible, supply chain employees should be recognized for mastering key elements of the training process. By providing recognition and incentives, employees remain engaged in the process of mastering the fundamentals of supply chain activities.
Automate the Inventory Management Process
One of the most effective ways to improve supply chain functioning is to invest in a proven inventory management system. An automated inventory management system increases efficiency through auto-populating inventory fields with default codes for product attributes when appropriate. By automating inventory procedures, companies can save valuable time and money by eliminating the need to manually enter all inventory data. Automated inventory management systems are particularly useful for the apparel industries and others that have an endless number of types of product attributes such as size or pattern.
Consider a New Quality Management System to Monitor Workers
A shortcoming of many manufacturing and production companies is the absence of a quality management system that monitors supply chain employees. While there is usually no shortage of quality management systems that track sales performance, many businesses do not employ any formal type of quality management system to monitor shift workers. A quality management system permits company strategists to identify supply chain inefficiencies, top supply chain employees and effective training strategies. The introduction of a quality management system to monitor supply chain employees will help keep employees engaged and focused on accuracy.
Monitor Vendor Performance
Purchasing managers and operating officers should regularly evaluate the performance of their vendors and suppliers. Two key performance indicators to monitor are timeliness and order accuracy. A vendor’s repeated errors or failure to adhere to shipping promise dates affects the functionality of a company’s entire supply chain and can be detrimental to customer satisfaction. A long pattern of performance failures should prompt a company to explore the use of another supplier.
Keep Shipping Costs Competitive by Regularly Comparing Rates
One of the best ways to control costs for your company and your clients is to keep shipping and handling charges to a minimum. As a key member of the supply chain team, a company’s shipping manager should regularly compare shipping quotes from key shippers and freight forwarders. While ensuring a speedy and safe delivery should always be the primary concern for a company, it is also important to keep prices competitive by periodically exploring the rates of new shipping providers.
Choose an Industry Leader to Facilitate Your Supply Chain Planning
By enlisting the support of an experienced supply chain automation specialist, your company will be another step closer to maximizing profits. With nearly three decades of experience in offering software solutions to companies in the manufacturing and distribution arenas, MaxQ Technologies, Inc. (MaxQ) has established itself as a trusted leader in supply chain planning solutions. Please contact us to learn how we can help your business optimize its supply chain performance. We look forward to hearing from you.