Supply chain management is the efficient collaborative networks of different companies fulfilling each other’s needs. The maintenance of supply chain efficiency is complex, and if efficiently cracked, it will give your business new heights crushing the competition. But we saw the entire logistics and supply chain of almost all Indian (and global) industries completely disrupted as wheels were not moving on the road for two years.
Recuperating from the disaster, eCommerce businesses and product-based companies are adapting cutting-edge technologies and automating the logistics system to achieve supply chain resilience. While supply chain management is complex, it is also the most rewarding thing. Most industries and businesses (like quick commerce or food and groceries delivery) are possible because of an efficient supply chain.
To understand the ways to improve supply chain management, let’s understand what a supply chain is and what are the four stages of the supply chain.
What Is Supply Chain Management?
Supply chain management uses technology, resources, and expertise to bring seamlessness in goods and services and optimize the networks to reduce operating costs and maximize profits. In the current, highly competitive economic environment, it is necessary to improve the supply chain and bring supply chain resiliency to your system so that your business can blow off great low-cost results.
Supply Chain Efficiency
Let’s understand how efficiency in the supply chain can be game-changing with the case study of Amul cooperative.
During the covid-19, when the economy of the country shut down, one of the most affected industries was the dairy industry. While other companies were struggling to keep up their supply chain, Amul, on the other hand, increased its profits by 698 crores during the harsh period, setting the benchmark in understanding consumer behavior and crisis management, and supply chain management.
There is a paradigm shift in consumer behavior whenever a crisis occurs. For example, during the pandemic, although hotels, cafes, and restaurants were shut down, the household consumption of groceries, milk, and dairy products skyrocketed. This gave rise to the homemade food trend, and people started consuming packaged milk rather than losing milk due to health consciousness.
Foreseen the opportunity, Amul kept its supply chain functioning at full capacity while other companies were shutting their operations. Because of this move, the Amul plants were operating at 115% capacity. As a result, during the peak of the lockdown, the demand for Amul products was so high that all their plants were running beyond their full capacity, and they even had to hire other companies’ vacant plants.
This begs the question of how Amul managed its supply chain so efficiently. The answer lies in the digitalization of the hefty supply chain. IBM has developed a full-fledged digital supply chain monitoring system under their strategic partnership of transforming the I.T. landscape. With this digital system, Amul’s management could track and analyze every small operation in the supply chain. Through this, the management team can track which plants are fully functioning, how many trucks are efficiently engaged, and in which areas.
This end-to-end digital system was game-changing for Amul in that it accurately oversaw the entire supply chain operations and conveniently diverted risk and threats into opportunity.
This is how, by leveraging foresight of consumer behavior through a spirited supply chain management system, incentivizing the front-line workforce, and using digital transformation, a company can not just minimize its losses but skyrocket its revenue by significant numbers.
9 Ways To Improve Supply Chain Management
As you’ve read in the case of Amul, digital transformation can be a game changer for any business. A strong digital supply chain management system solves the complexity of the supply chain and brings end-to-end transparency to the processes. There is multiple software in the market for ERP, inventory management, and shipment tracking, which can be integrated with eCommerce websites and mobile apps.
Develop a good relationship with suppliers
Building a good relationship with suppliers (manufacturer and wholesaler) have not one but multiple benefits. You can negotiate to lower the cost, ask for discounts, and have a trusted and reliable supplier to ensure the quality of the product, avoid shortage of supply, and track the movement of raw material being processed into finished goods.
Foster your relationship with reliable and trusted suppliers who deliver quality products without conflicts, and frequently communicate with the suppliers to grow your relationship.
When your supply chain is thick and complex, delegating the process to different experts is the optimal solution. A supply needs continuous monitoring and improvement, so it is hard to do every business-related task in-house, and doing so will affect the quality also. Outsourcing critical processes like logistics and warehouse management to third-party service providers will be beneficial for your organization.
According to your business model, you can redistribute the work. The third-party suppliers will then be responsible for providing top-notch quality, which you may not achieve through in-house operations.
Inventory management is one of the supply chain’s most calculative and critical parts. You need to find an optimal balance of the inventory in your warehouse and need to maintain that balance to avoid catastrophe. If the product goes out of stock, it will hamper the supply leading to unsatisfied customers, and if you overstock your warehouses, it may lead to the wastage of products. Therefore, finding that harmony is necessary.
Improve distribution strategy and network
A robust distribution strategy is the operational blueprint of a resilient supply chain. It affects everything in a supply chain, from planning raw material supply to last-mile delivery of products to customers is linked with a distribution strategy. While formulating a distribution strategy, keep a close watch on supply networks, logistics flexibility, production facilities, warehouses, and all of the above customers.
Implant smart warehouses
Smart warehouses enabled with cutting-edge technology are currently the buzz in the supply chain. eCommerce businesses leverage the efficiency of modern warehouses to manage inventory storage, track inventory in real-time, bring automation into product fulfillment, and boost the productivity of the overall process.
The warehouse management system enables fast delivery to the end customers and reduces shipment costs. For instance, NimbusPost’s smart warehouses enable same-day delivery, reduce delivery time by 50%, and help businesses keep their inventory near customers.
Use a warehouse management system
The warehouse management system invigilates the day-to-day working of the warehouse. Having a strong WMS is necessary to automate the fulfillment process. From keeping the stocks from the suppliers to fulfilling them for last-mile customer delivery, the warehouse management system records and optimizes everything in real time.
Set supply chain benchmarks
By setting a certain benchmark or standard in supply chain management gives everyone a goal to aim at. Although it is healthy to maintain efficiency in every supply chain process, without any goal, there is no motive to achieve and no path to follow.
Optimize the supply chain regularly
There are always certain chances in businesses that your supply chain or business will get hit by unexpected shocks. As a result, the strategy that is working today may not work tomorrow. That’s why continuous innovation and iteration are required to shield a business’s supply chain and logistics
In many companies, the improvement of supply chain management largely depends on insight from logistics experts and controllers. Because logistics keeps the supply chain intact and puts everything into an efficient process. If you get overwhelmed by the complexity of logistics and warehouse fulfillment, it is advisable to get help from a trusted logistic aggregator like NimbusPost, which keeps everything in check.