4 Supply Chain Management Tips for Small and Medium Businesses

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Develop your technical edge

Stock management and control are increasingly reliant on technology, to the extent that without tech-based solutions, most businesses wouldn’t be able to meet the expectations of their highly demanding customers. 

Companies that aim to increase and maintain a competitive advantage must take a forward-looking view and invest in a new generation of tech that enables them to develop sophisticated stock and inventory control methodologies. 

Investing in your supply chain can enable rapid growth with brief payback periods and high net returns with a forward-looking view. For example, businesses that adopted RFIDs within their supply chains at an early stage have been able to track goods flow from production lines to end customers. 

The insights generated from such a detailed level of tracking allow managers to identify problem areas and remediate them before minor issues become widespread problems for the business.

Develop a robust supply chain team 

Effective supply chain management is highly reliant on cross-business/team execution. It is critical for a business to ensure that each function and team in their supply chain operates cohesively and avoids the traditional siloed approach. 

Business units should work closely, even when spread across geographies or offices. Without such cohesiveness, information gaps and black boxes lead to errors, inconsistent procedures, and a high risk of supply chain failures. 

Establishment of supplier alliances 

Through building strong partnerships with your suppliers, you can enable your business to optimize your costs, improve supply chain efficiency, and increase reliability. 

More importantly, all partners can benefit equally through building such partnerships; however, defining mutually beneficial objectives is the key to successful relationships.

It’s also essential to look for partners with similar values and principles instead of focusing on pricing and supply dynamics. Such regulations can focus on environmental impact, social and corporate responsibility, and potential reputational damage through labor law violations.

Removing friction from the supply chain 

Supply chains can be complex and involve several touchpoints between warehouses, distribution centers, and the final customers. Through a thorough review of all touchpoints across the supply chain, business managers can improve their stock control practices, reduce friction in the movement of goods, and create significant cost savings.

Touchpoints and increased friction also mean delays for end customers and higher costs for producers. While most touchpoints are critical, reviewing warehouse location, distribution routes, and retail locations can reduce friction-causing touchpoints. 

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