Three Tips for Overcoming Common Supply Chain Problems that Cut into Profits

Supply Chain Supply Chain 20/20

The salesperson that expedites an order to overnight airfreight because a customer calls to see why it hasn’t arrived yet, the supplier that isn’t being held accountable for its inability to fulfill an order on time, and the carrier that consistently fails to meet shipment delivery expectations all add costs to their companies’ supply chains.

To make matters worse, these three culprits are all either “on the inside” or acting as valuable outside partners for a firm whose supply chain is leaking revenues. Here are three ways to plug these leaks and ensure that you’re operating in the most cost-effective manner possible:

  1. Cut down on expedited freight shipments. No one really ever gets in trouble for expediting freight, even though it adds up to tremendous costs over time. This is where technology comes into the picture. Imagine a solution that establishes acceptable thresholds for expedited fees. If a requested shipment exceeds that threshold, a superior receives a message on his or her phone to either approve or deny the request.
  2. Hold external partners accountable. Companies don’t operate as silos anymore, and the supply chain as a whole has become increasingly interconnected. That puts pressure on companies to not only ensure that their own processes and procedures are running smoothly, but that their suppliers are also doing their jobs. Online collaboration portals, for example, not only enable interconnectivity between buyers and suppliers, but it also provides visibility over upcoming orders and potential delays.
  3. Question why things didn’t turn out as expected. When you rate your carriers, you probably look closely at key performance indicators (KPIs) like on-time delivery and total transportation costs, but the rest of the measures probably fall by the wayside. By using technology to centralize and more deeply analyze data, you can actually peel back the onion and figure out why an order didn’t arrive on time (i.e., a truck couldn’t pick up the freight as scheduled because the supplier didn’t have the shipment ready).

Tactical changes may work for fixing little problems across the supply chain, but for the best possible impact shippers really need to look more closely at how people are doing things and what can be done to make the process more efficient. Using technology to achieve complete supply chain visibility is a key component of this mission.


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