A big part of operating in today's supply chain is being able to trust the many different companies you rely on to send and receive products on a daily basis. Just as important, a big part of that trust is being able to communicate effectively with those partners going forward, so no one is ever left in the dark about what's going on.

However, the effort to improve communications throughout the supply chain often starts internally, according to The Packer. Typically, businesses of many different sizes simply don't have enough insight into what their employees are doing on a day-to-day basis and may therefore find themselves not being on the same page if they're not tracking as much as they can internally, from employee movements to inventory and beyond.

"Many of our customers struggle to keep everyone on the same page in the yard, the office and at the docks, which holds back productivity," Tim Kubly, business development manager at the employee tracking tech firm Dok-Vu told the site. "But fundamental change in communication processes can also be challenging."

Take a look at in-house communications first.Take a look at in-house communications first.
When managers have a better idea of what's going on in their own facilities, they may also get more actionable information that leads to better communication, the report said. That effort, in turn, could result in better understanding where your internal communication falls short.

Taking the next step
Once you have a better idea of your internal communication needs, you can begin sharing the key details with your supply chain partners, while simultaneously asking them to do the same for you, according to the Oxford College of Procurement & Supply. It's critical, however, to know whose information is important to receive, and whose doesn't necessarily need to be prioritized. When you identify the most important stakeholders and get them more involved, you're far more likely to find success in bolstering your supply chain.

There's no reason constructive feedback can't flow from all sides to make sure companies are doing their best to provide transparency and security at each step of the supply chain, the report said. The more you can do to get your ducks in a row, the better off you will be when it comes to helping your partners do the same.

Codify it
Perhaps the best way to go about these efforts is by making sure to put a communications plan in writing so all involved know what's expected of them, whether they're the head of one of your partner companies or an in-house entry-level employee, according to River Logic. These are issues that can all be updated and amended as time goes on and the needs of your organization (or those of your partners) evolve. But having something to refer back to as needed will help ensure your wires don't get crossed.

Just like any other chain, a supply chain is only as strong as its weakest link, and you certainly don't want that link to be under your roof. Getting your own operations in order before turning your attentions elsewhere is a must.
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