Rapidly evolving technology has helped to improve the supply chain a lot in the past decade and will likely continue to do so for some time to come. With that in mind, it's important to understand that effectively managing the supply chain is hardly a "set it and forget it" proposition; in fact, companies need to continually evaluate their own positions within it to ensure they remain nimble and adaptive.
Indeed, businesses at every step of the supply chain are now utilizing the latest and greatest tech to make sure they remain dynamic and engaged, according to industry strategy expert Yasaman Kazemi, writing for Forbes. With demand for shipping on the rise - thanks to the convenience of e-commerce - more is being done to streamline delivery processes so that orders can be filled and completed within two days or less in many situations. Some believe that we may just be a few years away from automated delivery becoming the norm for larger industry participants.
It starts with procurement
At just about every step of the supply chain, a company needs supplies from another business, and procuring them as efficiently as possible helps ensure everything runs smoothly from there, according to Supply Chain Management Review. The problem for many companies is that they might recognize issues with their procurement processes but not always know how best to address them without negatively impacting other aspects of the business, such as costs or efficiency.
With that in mind, a thorough review of every process from procurement to getting materials back out the door may be necessary to make sure there is no disruption when working to address any part of a company's operations, the report said. Once reviews are completed and processes are formalized for a modern supply chain, it becomes vital to uphold those standards even as new reviews are conducted on a regular basis.
Another reason for common inconsistencies and operational hiccups is that many companies continue to use a mix of analog and digital tracking within their operations, according to Supply Chain Brain. Even companies that then take the analog data and put it into digital systems may lose something in the translation, whether it's accurate information or simply efficiency. As such, industry executives continue to urge adoption of all-digital processes to ensure even the slightest speed bumps get smoothed over, and the entire supply chain gains efficiency and momentum.
The more decision-makers can do to identify and address their companies' inefficiencies, the better off their bottom lines will be. Simply put, even an issue that costs businesses a few minutes here and there may see hundreds of lost man hours build up over the course of a year.