In the modern logistics industry, it's absolutely vital that companies have a clear picture of what's going on with their supply chains. Of course, anyone who's actually involved in supply chain management knows this is easier said than done, but there are certainly in-house steps you can take to ensure your efforts go as far as possible.

The following suggestions will help you get your own house in order, so that you can be more collaborative with suppliers and other partners going forward:

1) Keep your strategy up to date

There are certainly some things in the supply chain that are timeless, but in many other cases, even the strategies that were effective as recently as five years ago may need to be reviewed, according to Mindover Software. Simply put, it's important to review your supply chain processes regularly to identify if there are any areas where you're not getting as much out of your efforts as you used to, and course correct as needed.

Is your supply chain setting you up for success?Is your supply chain setting you up for success?

2) Develop your employees' skills

You should never find yourself in a situation where your team is unprepared to tackle a newly rising challenge, and that means you have to invest in skills training for the modern supply chain, Mindover Software said. This shouldn't be a training-on-demand effort, either; such sessions should happen on a regular basis to either teach new skills or hone existing ones.

3) Consistently look for suppliers that help you grow

Much like your in-house processes from last year might not suit you this year, the same is true of the suppliers you work with continually, according to the Business Development Bank of Canada. A company that was a great partner in the past may not be able to meet your firm's needs as you grow and change as an organization, and you should always be willing to find different options.

4) Stay in touch

As your needs change, you would be wise to let your long-trusted partners know what's happening, and be in regular communication with them so you're always on the same page, the BDC advised. With better comms efforts between you, the odds that an unforeseen issue will crop up are greatly reduced.

5) Regularly review tech needs

The modern supply chain is built on data, and if you don't have the technology on hand to fully produce and interpret all that information, you're leaving opportunity on the table, according to Inbound Logistics. You should take a holistic look at areas where you might be falling behind your own needs, and deploy investments strategically within your operations to meet your new situation.

6) Look at how you handle returns

Unfortunately, no company is perfect when it comes to shipping and receiving, and if you haven't reviewed how you deal with shipments that are returned to you, now is the time, Inbound Logistics noted. This can be a highly complicated process, but with the right changes, you may be a little more strategic and efficient with these issues.

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