Five ways to up your supply chain management game

Supply chains are a complex ecosystem comprising people, processes, technologies & information connecting the producer & buyer through a complex network of entities and resources. For the supply chain to function smoothly, these elements need to work in tandem to ensure efficiency. The COVID-19 pandemic, however, brought about unprecedented disruption resulting in chaos and disorder in the value chain; hence, challenging businesses to devise innovative and unique strategies to survive in the post-pandemic world.

As the demand for products surge, companies are looking to recalibrate their operations and streamline their supply chains to improve efficiency and create a resilient supply chain management system that can withstand any future crisis. Constant improvisation is key to building a system that will withstand the test of time and COVID-like disruptions. An efficient supply chain management system can be a game-changer, especially for e-commerce and logistics platforms. Drawing on these, here are five ways to up your supply chain management game.

Standardisation and transparency

For any supply chain management system, it is of utmost importance to standardize processes. Using enterprise resource planning, warehouse management systems, transportation management systems, and ticketing systems to increase visibility, control, and scale are the foundations for standardisation. Additionally, adopting a data-driven approach for creating transparency and traceability will drive ownership, better objectives and key result and KPI’s for performance management. Ensuring standardization of processes with transparency & visibility will allow more efficient management of the supply chain.

Dynamic inventory management

Inventory management is one area where brands, especially emerging ones, tend to falter. Dynamic inventory management will enable brands to bolster their supply chain management. Efficient implementation of smart & data driven SNOPs (Sales and Operations Planning) will help reduce wastage. Companies can also use just in time or vendor managed inventory with high-quality control to optimize the value chain.

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Technology has indisputably revolutionized the way business’ function. The pandemic has only further accelerated the adoption of technology, making automation integral to facilitating competent and well-organized supply chains. Companies should invest in automation such as robotic processes, artificial intelligence, automated sorters with put & pick to light, using RFIDs & connected devices, drone deliveries. Automating your supply chain management is perhaps the best investment you can make to optimize while ensuring it is cost-efficient and future proof.

Value chain management

Organized value chain management is the key to optimizing business operations whilst maximizing revenues. To strengthen supply chain management, value chain investment is necessary. It would also bode well to have deeper integration with service providers in the value chain which will enable companies to be proactive. Companies can also co-own parts of the value chain to exercise more control over it and streamline it according to their requirements.

Agile supply chain

In a world that is plagued by uncertainty and disruption, agility is of the essence. To that end, companies need to prioritize adaptability and scalability. As mentioned earlier, thriving in the current scenario requires organizations to realign their operations and supply chains. Agility in design, systems, processes, and people is paramount. Rapid testing and adoption of new technologies & tools such as drones, blockchains, internet of things etc., will help companies to build a supply chain for the future. Moreover, going electric and becoming carbon neutral in your supply chain initiatives will ensure that you are creating a better tomorrow.

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Given the current volatility in internal operations and evolving consumer behavior fueled by external factors, i.e., the pandemic, organizations must establish their supply chain management plans and vision clearly in a way that is in sync with the current global scenario. Investments must be made to bolster infrastructure for supply chains to ensure seamless customer experience and smooth business operations. The pandemic has opened up several opportunities for businesses to rethink their strategies and working towards a strong supply chain management system will pave the way for a better tomorrow.

The writer is Senior Vice President – Supply Chain, Shiprocket.



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