Best practices for improving your supply chain operation

When you're trying to take your company to the next level, there are many things to consider, and within the supply chain many of the issues you may encounter aren't entirely within your control. With that in mind, you may need to do a little more to make sure you have a good handle on the things you can control, and following industry-recommended best practices can help you get your own affairs in order.

The following tips will help you do just that, sooner than later:

1) Find ways to reduce cycle time

Perhaps the biggest issue many logistics companies, manufacturers and so on face is letting inventory pile up on their shelves, and then struggle to find places to put it all, according to LTD Management. For that reason, it's important for managers to continually evaluate cycle times for every item that comes into their facility and identify areas of weakness and strength to make future ordering more efficient.

2) Find better metrics to evaluate performance

One of the most common missteps for warehouses and other logistics businesses is they simply don't know what they don't know. To overcome that obstacle, they have to get a better handle on data tracking, LTD Management advised. The greater the effort your company undertakes to quantify more aspects of your operations, the greater the benefit in terms of actionable data.

Get everyone on payroll on the same page.Get everyone on payroll on the same page.

3) Set up a team to look at everything

When you're trying to assess exactly what it is you need to do as an organization to achieve greater success or boost your bottom line, it's important to hear from a number of voices, according to Supply Chain Quarterly. Putting together a committee that will meet regularly and discuss challenges and solutions as needed will help you maintain a stronger posture as your company grows and changes.

4) Make sure workers understand the 'how' and 'why' of your plans

When your committee puts together an actionable plan to take your operations to the next level, that information needs to be disseminated to your employees quickly and effectively, Supply Chain Quarterly added. However, it's not just that you have to tell people how to do what you need them to, but also why. That gives them an added purpose and direction, and helps them hit their goals more effectively.

5) Retain proper staffing levels as the year progresses

In the supply chain, many companies go through seasonal ups and downs that can mean they either have too many people on hand - or too few, according to Hollingsworth LLC. For that reason, you may need to do more to ensure your staffing levels are always adequate if you want to maximize your bottom line.

6) Boost your relationships with partners

Again, there's only so much you can do under your own roof, and if you take on the above steps you'll be well on your way, but that's certainly not everything, Hollingsworth LLC noted. It is therefore also important to continually improve your relationships with your supply chain partners to ensure one hand always knows what the other is doing, and can move in concert to achieve common goals.

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