Your business is nothing without your supply chain. This is what ensures the correct production, storage and distribution of your products. It keeps suppliers connected to your business and your business connected to its customers.
However, many business owners have and are currently facing major challenges – such as bad weather and rapid inflation – that are hampering supply chain efficiency. When your supply chain isn’t running smoothly, it can negatively impact your entire business, from production to finance to customer satisfaction.
Fortunately, you can work to overcome these challenges and improve the efficiency of your supply chain by focusing on digital and warehouse best practices. Here’s how to get started.
Collect data and check the performance of your supply chain
First, you need to know the current state of your supply chain before you can improve its efficiency. Take the time to collect data on your current supply chain and take a look at it how you manage it. Once you have this information, you can check how effective and efficient it is.
Do your best to answer the following questions:
- What are your current processes?
- How is your team’s workflow?
- What works and what doesn’t work in production, storage and distribution?
- What is your relationship with suppliers and other third parties you work with?
- Are there current events affecting the efficiency of your supply chain?
It is also important to analyze and increase the efficiency of your warehouses, as this directly affects your supply chain and its success. To improving warehouse efficiency, collect information about your storage practices and how you use space. Then determine what reasonable modifications to make to improve your warehouse’s efficiency. This, in turn, can help you identify other areas or solutions to increase supply chain efficiency.
Adjust the use of technology
Changing the way you use technology can help streamline your processes and workflows, making them another integral part of supply chain efficiency. Whether you’re using automation tools, artificial intelligence, robotics, IoT devices, an all-in-one warehouse management system, or a combination of different types of technology, the first step is to check what works and what doesn’t.
Then determine what tools need to be replaced, removed, or added based on how they affect your supply chain’s efficiency. Evaluate one tool at a time to make sure it’s doing what it’s supposed to and you’re not overwhelming your team with training.
You also need to live by digital best practices to standardize the use of technical tools for supply chain efficiency across your team. Document guidelines for using technology to improve your supply chain and warehouse workflow. Make sure everyone understands these guidelines and has access to them so they can get the information they need when they need it.
The more technology you use, the more customer and company data you collect and store—and the more vulnerable you become to cyberattacks. You must use all of your available resources to protect this information and avoid data breaches that could disrupt your workflow. As cyber attacks can range from phishing attempts for serious malware, you need to use both digital tools and cybersecurity best practices to protect your sensitive information.
Keep organization and accessibility at the fore
Moving through warehouses and distribution centers takes a significant amount of time. If warehouses are not well organized, employees will spend more time searching for items or walking around the warehouse, leaving less time to attend to their other responsibilities.
It is essential to reduce the time employees spend running around the warehouse to focus their attention on tasks that really need them. Keeping organization and accessibility at the forefront of your warehouse operations will help.
Everything in your warehouse should have a designated place and be easily accessible. All labels and signs must be visible and easy to understand. And each employee must understand their roles and responsibilities to ensure a well-oiled warehouse that runs smoothly and helps improve the efficiency of your supply chain.
Your supply chain is the heart of your business. Continue to treat it as such, focusing on digital and warehouse best practices and doing the above to improve efficiency.