8 Proven Ways to Optimize Your Supply Chain

Every distributor, retailer, and manufacturing plant is part of a complex logistics web. After all, goods must move from one destination to another. You are one step ahead of the rest and closer to success when you can place your inventory in ideal conditions and deliver goods at lower operational costs, all while achieving the highest margins. However, supply chain management can be tricky, given all the moving parts you need to harmonize. Let’s explore some of the proven ways to optimize your supply chain for better results.

Assess who calls the shots

Without good leadership, your company may lack the expertise to make realistic decisions that are timely and will benefit everyone. You may also find that procurement and fulfillment compete with other priorities at the executive level. Therefore, it would be wise to ensure you have knowledgeable and passionate leaders at the forefront who have a vested interest in the supply chain to take it to greater heights.

Consider who you are doing business with

The clients don’t care about all the stakeholders involved in the supply chain process. How your suppliers, delivery companies, and distributors perform will all reflect back to you. Therefore, you can’t afford to take any chances. It would be wise to hold everyone in the supply chain accountable for their actions and performance if you want to optimize your supply chain. The best way to deal with a partner who can no longer fulfill their end of the bargain is to cut them loose.

Plan ahead and assess your performance

Supply chains are what keep the world economy moving. Giants in the supply chain industry climbed the ranks by investing in supply chain improvement and optimization. However, such a feat comes from something other than dilly-dallying and hoping for the best. You should make long-term plans that help you see the entire picture and implement metrics to help you measure your successes and shortcomings. Examples of KPIs that can help you measure performance include per-unit freight cost, cash-to-cash cycle time, fulfillment accuracy, and customer order cycle time,

Consider the transportation and delivery routes

Poor delivery route choices and transportation modes come with hidden fuel and labor costs and a negative environmental impact. You might also experience delays in shipping, causing your clients to be dissatisfied. Effective routing optimization techniques like consolidating freight and bypassing distribution centers could make a massive difference in your supply chain. You could also employ carriers who know the exact region you are shipping your items to avoid wasting time in transit.

Outsource to a customs brokerage firm

It takes a lot of hard work, effort, labor, and coordination to streamline a supply chain and ensure all the moving parts work harmoniously. Outsourcing to import and export brokerage specialists can lessen the load off your shoulders and allow you to focus on administrative tasks. A good customs brokerage firm can help you manage your port-to-plant activities, ensure your goods get released faster at customs, and reconcile your reports at the time of import. They can also help you save on import duties.

Keep your house in order

Your packages cannot arrive at their destination if your warehouse is messy. You might end up sending the wrong cargo or shipping a product that was already damaged due to poor handling and storage. Staying organized reduces overproduction and wastage from product damage. You could also use the FIFO principle and invest in employee training to ensure they are always doing the right thing.

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Reevaluate your packaging and pallet choices

Pallets, product skids, and packaging cartons keep your cargo safe and in one piece during shipping. Therefore, rethink your packaging material if you want to optimize your supply chain. For instance, shifting from wooden to plastic pallets guarantees you will complete more cycles without worrying about splinters damaging the cargo. Choosing larger packaging cartons ensures you will ship more freight in one truckload.

Ensure your return process is user friendly

Unfortunately, the return rate for online orders is three times that of physical stores. However, you can use these statistics to your advantage. Once you make it easier for a client to initiate a return and offer free return shipping, more clients will be willing to make an additional purchase in the future. You could also use no-hassle packaging that the client can easily reseal and send back to you.

Final remarks

Supply chain optimization could increase your revenue and take your company to greater heights. You also stand a chance to gain a competitive edge over your rivals and become renowned in the industry. Tap into these practical tips to reap the benefits of a streamlined supply chain.

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