Everyone is looking for ways to improve their business, but too often the focus is put on internal changes to discover how existing partners can help bring about success. However, looking outside of your current operations is often the key to growth. Third-party logistics providers (3PL services) provide value-added services in logistics to help companies that manufacture or sell products find big wins. Logistics service providers are more than glorified warehouses—they provide a variety of features that can give your supply chain a competitive edge. If you want to add value to your supply chain, here are some of the features you can enjoy when working with a 3PL provider.
Industry Experience & Connections
3PL providers with years of experience have connections and resources to allow for the most efficient supply chain processes. They can leverage relationships and have a knowledge of industry trends and volume discounts. This results in lower overhead costs and a wider range of service options to help you manage your costs when your service needs change.
Reduce Labour Costs
When you outsource your order fulfillment, you can reduce labour costs on your end. You won’t need to staff a warehouse and hire workers to handle different tasks. Depending on the size of your operation, you may save a serious amount of capital. Instead of paying individual warehouse staff, your 3PL provider will take care of managing your warehouse and distribution processes with their own trained employees. By staying lean this way, you can focus on the core parts of your business, while your provider takes care of the rest.
Accurate & On-Time Fulfillment
The seamless flow of goods is necessary for successful production lines and the satisfaction of customers and online shoppers. 3PL providers can help shippers meet these requirements by making sure shipments are accurate and timely. With robust technology, 3PL providers can have a detailed view of everything that goes on within the supply chain. Visibility helps drivers follow the best routes to deliver products and helps warehouse staff move inventory along to enable faster shipping.
Reverse Logistics Assistance
Especially in e-commerce business, a solid reverse logistics solution is a must-have if you want to reduce waste and increase revenue. One of the supply chain value-added services a 3PL provider can offer is a reverse logistics solution. You will be able to salvage raw materials and recycle or reuse returned products. The core goal of this services is to give the original producer cost-savings by making the most of products and materials and allowing them to run a more environmentally-friendly supply chain with less waste.
Transparency and Integration in Warehouse & Distribution
Conversational transparency is one of the most important factors that affects unity and understanding in warehousing and distribution. Some IT systems allow consumers to view their product’s movement from shipping to delivery to arrival, which also helps manage expectations and improve customer service. Seeing the movement of your goods and products can impact your sustainability goals and boost your competitive edge by reducing the waste of revenue. Transparency features within the organization can include stock level notifications, order updates, shipping times, returns processing information, and more.
Transportation & Delivery Support
By leaning on the expertise and experience of a 3PL provider, you will be able to negotiate the lowest rates for picking, packing, and shipping methods. As a result, you can reduce the costs for shipping product orders to customers. You will notice that your conversion rates increase, and the rate of shopping cart abandonment will decrease.
Outsourcing logistics will save your company valuable time and money. 3PL providers can eliminate your need to have multiple warehouse spaces, technology, transportation, and staff, as they will have the necessary tools to execute the logistics process. They can save you from making costly mistakes and allow you to grow your global network with higher return on investment and lower risk. You won’t need to worry about paperwork, billing, staffing, training, and optimization to get your goods to your customers—they will handle all of it and keep you up to date.
E-commerce has created more global business opportunities for retailers and companies that manufacture products. It has provided access to global customers and expanded revenue streams. However, it can lead to the need of more staff and time dedicated to understanding complex legal compliance needs and trade requirements. 3PL providers can help companies understand these changes and provide the tools to help you meet expectations.
Find the Right Third-Party Logistics Service Provider in Toronto
Working with a 3PL provider can help you deal with challenges that come along the way in terms of costs, logistics, customer satisfaction, and changing expectations from suppliers and consumers. With their experience and connections, they can find you quick and effective solutions to problems like these that may hinder your success. They will also bring you many advantages such as supply chain management software and technology that increases visibility and communication between you and everyone in your business network.
If you are looking for the right company to partner with, Lean Supply Solutions is the answer. We rise to the challenge of meeting our clients’ needs through our services which include product fulfillment, warehousing and distribution, e-commerce fulfillment, warehouse pick and pack, order fulfillment, and more. To learn more about outsourcing to our 3PL logistics in Toronto, or to ask any questions, contact us today.
- Published in Blog
As technology develops, quality management systems (QMS) also change. It’s important to evolve and adapt to newer technologies and systems to meet customer demands more efficiently and stay ahead of the competition. Companies need to find ways to reduce manufacturing and production rework and repairs to save money and achieve higher quality. Reducing manufacturing scrap requires proper planning and implementing certain strategies to enhance value in your supply chain. Here are some ways you can achieve quality scrap management.
What Is Manufacturing Rework?
Manufacturing rework is defined as the process of correcting defective, failed, or non-conforming items after inspection. This process includes responsibilities like disassembly, repair, replacement, reassembly, and more.
Causes and Cost of Rework in Manufacturing
The main causes of defective or problematic products include machine malfunction or human error, design change not communicated, improperly implemented design change, and product damaged in transit or during use. When this happens, the manufacturer or supplier will need to sort, rework, wash, and repackage the product. The document that reports products for rework will list the necessary tools and process to complete the rework. Reworks aren’t always complicated either. They can be as simple as replenishing the paint that was scraped off a product during shipping and improving the shipping process to prevent further products from being damaged.
How to Reduce Rework & Scrap
Being proactive is the best way to problem solve, as it predicts potential issues before they happen. The goal is to find the root cause of any potential issue and resolve it as simply and early as possible. Consider solutions such as:
- Acquiring new equipment and fixtures
- Improving employee training
- Software upgrades or additions
- Greater attention during design phase
- More emphasis on pre-production processes
- Additional packaging/handling procedures
Make a Plan for Scrap Materials
It is always ideal to repair or alter a product, but sometimes you have to throw products away. If this is the case, you should try to reduce the amount of waste as much as possible. Ask yourself: Can you avoid dumping fees? Can the product or parts of it be refurbished or repurposed? Are the parts recyclable? As much as you try to avoid it, rework is sometimes inevitable, but it should not use all of your time and energy.
Maintain Compliance Standards
QMS can help you understand what you need to do to evolve and keep up with the compliance standards. Most industries have mandatory requirements from government agencies, and all companies have customer requirements they must abide by. For most, the manufacturer needs to show detailed compliance records on a timely, accurate, and consistent basis. This process is highly time-consuming for companies who still use paper-systems and spreadsheets. The risk of errors is also higher with these systems. By implementing QMS, you will be more efficient at understanding the compliance requirements and standards, and better able to ensure accuracy, shared responsibility, compliance, and quality.
Applications or software that track data entered by workers work as a one-stop shop for all information, and reduces errors made during the manufacturing process. Companies that rely on manual paperwork need to upgrade their systems to automated QMS tracking software to be more efficient in today’s high-tech environment. This will help reduce a multi-step cross-verification process, and simplify data management.
Increase Quality Output
QMS offers features like real-time data analysis, which allows for faster problem solving. They ensure that process monitoring occurs and provides tools for corrective actions. Some QMS programs take it a step further and implement advanced product quality planning (APQP) to help create products and processes designed for successful results.
Reducing defects and wasted products will reduce your costs as well. The less products you need to spend time on reworking or scrapping, the more profit you will make from selling quality items to your customers.
Paper files must be backed up digitally, but with the incredible features and improvements in technology, paper documentation doesn’t cut it. If you haven’t already invested in digital software and filing systems, now is the time. Managing your drawings, bills of materials, and operating procedures manually wastes time and leaves you at the risk of falling behind. Using digitized files will make tracking revisions easier and ensure your staff are referencing the most current information.
Communication throughout Supply Chain
Changes can cause serious disruptions to your production process if they are not handled properly. They can affect the flow of production, required training, scheduling, total cost, and more. You can avoid this issue by making design changes after a production run, rather than in the middle. This will also make tracking product revision easier for you, your supplier, and your customers.
Identify & Correct Issues/Quality Control
To minimize costs associated with rework, you need to establish continuous improvement. By adopting a philosophy of ensuring your management of products is working its best, you can begin transforming your operations. Lean manufacturing practices will help you reduce waste and improve the quality of your products.
Our Approach to Rework & Scrap Management
Product rework and scrap management is something no company wants, but needs. These processes are fundamental to a good supply chain, and the use of QMS can help you provide consistent, quality products. Product rework helps companies deal with errors and problems more efficiently, while saving time and money. Managing these responsibilities on your own may be too much to handle, so working with a third-party logistics provider is a wise choice.
Lean Supply Solutions rises to the challenge of meeting our clients’ needs through our services which include product fulfillment, retail distribution, manufacturing logistics, supply chain management (SCM), transportation and delivery, repackaging and packaging, product rework and repair, and more! Let us help you reduce product rework and scrapping, so you can get the most value out of your time. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you.
- Published in Blog
As your company grows, you may realize challenges arising regarding your customer demographics, locations, updated manufacturing methods, new technology, and more. Meeting these challenges, and continuing to provide the best service possible to your customers is only possible if you are able to adapt to these changes. While running your business from your home office seems like the affordable option, a growing business needs the ability to expand while still delivering the same efficiency and quality service. This is where third-party logistics service providers come in. 3PL fulfillment, distribution, and warehousing services in Toronto will help you stay afloat as your sales, customer base, and demands grow. What exactly are 3PL providers and what do they offer? Here’s what you need to know.
What Is a 3PL Service Provider?
3PL service providers offer a variety of services and processes that help businesses reduce costs, improve efficiency and expand capabilities. These providers are flexible and scalable to help you accommodate the needs of your business. You can opt for a short-term partnership with these providers for peak seasons or choose a long-term solution to meet your goals for growth and expansion. Here’s what 3PL providers can do for you.
Our 3PL Services
If you, like many small to medium-sized businesses, do not have the resources or manpower to manage your e-commerce operations in your home office, a 3PL provider can empower you with affordable, professional services like online ordering, delivery services, warehousing, and more.
Warehousing & Distribution
Understanding how to utilize technology to boost efficiency is something 3PL providers excel at. It’s their job to help you implement technology to make it easier for customers to order your products online, track product movement, and more. A 3PL provider with effective warehouse management systems (WMS) can help you improve the sorting, picking, packing, and storing processes in the warehouse to simplify your work load.
Supply Chain Management
The active management of activities in the supply chain to increase customer value and excel against competitors is known as supply chain management (SCM). This service is provided by 3PL companies to help businesses develop and run their supply chain efficiently and effectively. From product development, sourcing, production, and logistics, to various and necessary information systems, a 3PL provider can manage and coordinate your activities.
Inventory management involves certain processes and systems that manage the supply chain, demand forecasting, inventory, and reverse logistics. Tools involved in inventory management systems (IMS) include safety stock, economic ordering quantity, cost of goods, customer-managed inventory, inventory turnover, vendor-managed inventory, and more. Each industry requires a unique level of IMS, which is why some 3PL providers utilize lean practices to help you use only what you need in terms of plant rental, standing inventory, shipping costs, etc.
Transportation & Delivery Services
Transportation is one of the most important areas in your supply chain and having the right partner can make all the difference. Choosing a 3PL provider who has warehouses near your customers will save you money in transportation, and allow you to deliver orders faster. They can also ensure consistent and safe delivery of your products.
Packaging & Repackaging Services
To meet the unique needs of your business, a 3PL provider will be flexible with its packaging and repackaging services. Packaging is more than just putting something in a box. It requires proper documentation, tracking, and sorting to name a few. From handling and record-keeping to weighing and pricing, your 3PL provider’s procedures should help you get the most of your packaging and repackaging at an affordable cost. Regarding repackaging specifically, this value-added service is designed to help you problem-solve when a change or reconfiguration needs to be made to a product.
It is important that your 3PL provider implement continuous improvement (CI) to improve your products, services, and processes. By doing this, they can help you make incremental improvements over time, or help you make breakthrough improvements that immediately take effect.
Benefits of Working with a 3PL Provider
There are many advantages to working with a 3PL provider. Here are some of the biggest improvements to your business with this partnership:
- Cost savings: With their vast network of resources around the area, they can provide you with the manpower, efficiency, and convenience to help you save money.
- Flexibility: Your business is constantly changing, and a 3PL provider with flexibility can help you accommodate those changes as they come.
- Efficiency: 3PL providers can make your business run better than ever. With lower cost per unit shipping, faster transportation, reduced delivery times, and more, you can focus on your core specialties like product development, sales, marketing, and customer service.
- Customer experience: You can achieve faster, more reliable delivery times, improve tracking and visibility to your customers, reduce the risk of damaged or incorrect product packaging, and much more. These benefits improve your quality of service and as a result, make your customers happier.
- International reach: The end goal for most companies is to expand further, so when you want to reach customers in a different country, you’ll need a partner that can meet international regulations, customs clearance, and communication expectations. A 3PL provider can help you enter new markets with their established and extensive networks.
How a Third-Party Logistics Company Can Help Your Business
A 3PL provider can help you thrive in challenging situations such as costs, logistics complexity, and the ever-changing customer demands. They can help you deal with these challenges before they hinder your success and they can bring you many additional benefits with their robust software and technology. If you are looking for the right company to partner with, Lean Supply Solutions is the answer. We rise to the challenge of meeting our clients’ needs through our services which include product fulfillment, warehousing and distribution, e-commerce fulfillment, warehouse pick and pack, order fulfillment, and more. To learn more about outsourcing to our 3PL logistics in Toronto, or to ask any questions, contact us today.
- Published in Blog
It’s no surprise that the use of warehouse automation has been growing at a rapid pace. This is because of the continued growth of e-commerce and the challenges faced by organizations to keep up with the demands of an ever-changing global marketplace. E-commerce has had a huge impact on the logistics industry and consumers seek greater value, choice, and convenience when they order products online. As customer expectations rise, organizations need to keep up with their demands to succeed. Bringing logistics automation into the picture enables organizations to meet these expectations. Here’s what you need to know about the benefits of automated sorting systems, and why you should include it as part of your logistics services.
Reduces Labour Cost
In the warehousing industry, there are typically a variety of similar tasks that need to be performed hundreds and thousands of times each day. By using automated sorters to replace some of these tasks, the labour hours necessary for operations can be reduced. This advantage is especially effective in today’s competitive labour market, where availability of workers is becoming a greater issue each year. The demands placed on operations are growing too quickly for warehouse workers to keep up, and there is a greater expectation for warehouses to do more in less time as time goes on. Automated sorters can handle time-consuming tasks that have a high risk of error, to help businesses keep up with the growing demands.
Complete Organizational Control
Automation allows businesses to control all the variables that affect their operations, and give them better control over possible future scenarios. Information control deals with knowing the exact number of orders filled per day, how many should have been filled, and how many were supplied on the same date in the past. If the results are disappointing, the organization will gain insights and notifications to demand an improvement.
Automated sorters help achieve over two times higher process efficiency without needing to expand storage space or workforce. The highest potential for these systems is seen in the picking process. The sorter uses a pick-by-light system where the list of products is replaced by a digital display of signal diodes. It suggests the actions that should be performed, and minimizes the risk of errors. Specifically, in regard to the picking process, speed is improved through the sorters. It enables order picking in parts to prepare a concrete batch that is quickly sent to the receiver.
When humans are in charge of the sorting process, errors can happen. Hand sorting can introduce errors and problems that can be avoided with the use of automated sorting systems. Issues like misrouted packages, or incorrect order picking can affect delivery times and customer satisfaction which are vital to your success as a business. By replacing manual labour with automated technology, you can get twice as much work done and reduce virtually all the risks of human error. These systems are capable of classifying over 300 boxes per minute with a single unit, and larger amounts with multiple units. When it comes to serving customers that demand high order quantities, these products can be delivered without error.
Improves Workplace Safety
People make mistakes, but this goes beyond damaging products or getting an order wrong. Safety in the workplace can mean the difference between a safe environment and a dangerous one. When workers get tired or distracted, accidents can happen, and these can cost the companies money and reputation. Broken products cannot be sold, and damaged equipment needs to be replaced. The worst accidents can lead to reportable injuries or even death! When employees are trying to keep up with high operational demands, these risks increase even more. By inviting automated systems into your operations, you can remove human error and many associated risks to save money and improve workplace safety. Automated sorting systems can handle hazardous substances, work in extreme temperatures, move heavy products, and operate in a controlled, organized manner even at top speeds.
Automation allows for better traceability, so customers can keep track of where their packages are. Data can be collected to give customers a timeline for when they can expect their order to arrive, all from one location. Without the risks of human error, automation decreases the requests about missing packages.
How Lean Supply Solutions Can Help You
As e-commerce develops and becomes more convenient for consumers, they have the ability to choose the delivery process for their orders. They make these choices based on affordability, reliability, and trackability. In order for these features to be affordable, businesses need to consider how efficiently they can manage their product movement. To be reliable, you need data. To be trackable, you need to share the data with your supply chain partners. This leaves businesses with the challenge of improving their operations to be better than their competitors.
Without the right support, your business can fall behind, and your consumers will be unsatisfied. To get the most from features like automated sorting, you will need a third-party logistics partner that has the right technology available to you.
Lean Supply Solutions provides supply chain management using automation and robust technology, and we make ourselves aware of the rising trends to help our clients succeed. We commit to being aware of our clients’ operational challenges and help them get the most out of their processes. We can offer consistent, accurate, and quality results by striving to ensure that the right products are provided to the right customers at the right time, while saving you money, and we can help you track and understand your metrics better. To learn more about our logistics company, or to ask any questions, contact us today.
- Published in Blog
October is here and there are just a few more months until the biggest time of year for e-commerce order fulfillment. Most retailers see the biggest spike in sales during the winter holiday season, and that’s why you need to be sure you’re set up to reap the biggest rewards of the year. If your holiday fulfillment strategy is not up to par with your competitors, you may lose incredible amounts of profits to other retailers who are ready. Here are some important tips for how you can get the most out of the holiday season.
Start Planning Now
If you’ve noticed any problems with your holiday planning last year, now is the time to fix issues or make any changes. Look at your historic data to make precise predictions about how this new holiday season will turn out. You should consider the following when making plans for the upcoming holiday season:
- Holiday sales projects and forecasts
- Number of expected peak periods
- Inventory tracking and timeliness
- Technology available to improve processes and speed
- Ability to communicate with your 3PL provider effectively to avoid catastrophes and delays
Update Technology to Accommodate Customers
One of the primary concerns for consumers is whether their orders will arrive on time. API and other similar technology can help you track and understand complex inventory and shipping processes to better manage costs. Cloud-based solutions are also a faster method of sharing and viewing real-time information with partners involved in the supply chain process. With the help of technology, you can help your customers get faster shipping, and a more personalized, visible shopping experience at your store.
Optimize Your Inventory Management
If you are a retailer that needs to order products months ahead of the holiday rush, now is the time to begin placing those orders. It is also wise to examine the best-selling products and ensure you have enough of them on-hand in inventory to accommodate the rush.
One of the advantages of running an e-commerce retail operation is that you can sell your product to anyone, anywhere. However, during the Christmas rush, these long distances can become challenging to manage. It can take over a week for ground packages to be shipped to long distances within the same country. Ahead of the holiday, spend time marketing to the local areas near your warehouses. By investing your money into customers, you can reach within two business days with ground service, you can offer free, two-day shipping ahead of the holidays without missing a timely delivery.
Get Ready for Packaging
Be sure you have enough supply of boxes, bags, packing tape, materials, stuffing, and printer ink ahead of time to prepare for the increase of packing during the holiday. Now may be a wise time to upgrade your tools by ordering tape guns, scales, and packaging dispensers, to help your staff move faster. By working with a scalable 3PL provider, you will be able to keep up with the rush.
Focus on Customer Satisfaction
Since big retailers are offering perks like two-day shipping and free shipping options, you will need to improve your shipping and delivery policies. Customers expect fast, affordable solutions at the click of a button, especially during the holidays. When they are working on tight timelines, you need to be able to provide service that meets their expectations. It can seem daunting for smaller businesses to offer the same speed of delivery, compared to giants like Amazon, but you can leverage with a 3PL provider’s fulfillment centers to get your products to your customers faster.
Strengthen Your Reverse Logistics Process
The holiday season is a time when customers will make more impulsive shopping decisions as they shop for themselves and their friends and family. Especially if you have an e-commerce store, you need to have a robust reverse logistics process in place once the holiday is over. Since most returns are made in the new year, you need to be sure you can provide policies that make returns easier for customers, and that you have strategies to reuse or resell returned products once they are back in your warehouse. Whether you handle returns on your own, or work with a 3PL provider, be sure this process is as straight-forward as possible for your customers. You should also think digitally about this—do you have a process that inputs inventory returns into the system as quickly as possible?
Consider Third-Party Fulfillment Services
The sooner you get in touch with a 3PL partner, the better. Setting up before the holiday rush will help you have the staff you need to handle the increase in orders and make sure you are carefully tracking your operations to provide your customers with the information they need. There are many benefits to working with a 3PL provider, whether you have a large business or run a smaller operation.
Prepare Now to Have a Successful Holiday Season with LSS
If you’re gearing up for a busy holiday season, now is the time to start preparing for the changes. Working with a 3PL provider is the best way for you to achieve scalability and efficiency during such an unpredictable time. If you need to keep up with reverse logistics, inventory management, customer satisfaction, and more, and feel overwhelmed by the many responsibilities ahead, let a 3PL partner take the load off for you.
Lean Supply Solutions is a scalable company that uses Lean Methodology to help its clients. We are aware of the rising trends in the industry and always strive to stay up to date. We commit to awareness of your operational challenges, especially during the busy holidays, and will help you have a successful season. Our 3PL, packaging, and supply chain management services can streamline your processes for better efficiency and speed, and we can help you get the right products to the right customers at the right time. Our services are consistent, accurate, and quality, and we can help you achieve amazing results. If you’re considering upgrading your business by working with our 3PL distribution team, contact us today.
- Published in Blog
Supply chain processes happen around you all the time. If your company makes a product, procures a product, or does both, and wants to sell it to a customer, you will need to end-to-end supply chain optimization. But how do you know if your supply chain needs optimizing? The method is simple. Are you are getting your customers what they want when they want it, and spending as little money as possible accomplishing that goal? If so, you are on the right track. Unfortunately, this is not the case for many businesses. If you cannot clearly answer that question with an affirmative response, you have some work to do. In most cases, you could be spending less and making better use of your resources. But where do you begin? Keep reading to find out the importance of supply chain optimization and how you can improve your process.
What Does Optimization Improve?
Inventory management is one of the most important parts of the supply chain. It informs other parts of your processes, including order fulfillment and production planning. This applies to all the items that you have in your warehouse, from raw materials, to finished goods, to extra parts. With a solid supply chain optimization process, you will be able to maintain control of your inventory management. It will also help you fulfill orders for your customers, as you will know at all times if you have enough goods to fill each order on time.
The delivery of your orders on time and accurately is just as important as producing the goods for them. Supply chain optimization makes order delivery more efficient. This includes finding ways to load your trucks or transportation vehicles faster and choosing the best delivery routes to save on costs and present orders to customers on time. These items also fall under the category of logistics planning.
In addition to inventory control and order fulfillment, accurate demand planning is also an important part of supply chain optimization. By improving demand planning, you can achieve more accurate results, which increases the chances that you’ll have enough goods to meet demand. Additionally, you can avoid producing too many goods that would take up warehouse space. Accurate demand planning also helps you reduce costs. If you have an idea of how much demand you expect to see, you can create a plan based on that demand. If your demand planning is off, you may need to make sacrifices, including extra costs, to reduce lead times to fulfill that extra demand.
It may not be obvious, but customer service is a worthwhile area to improve. Orders that arrive on time make your customers happy, and this is a form of customer service because you’re providing something that they requested and paid for. If you are constantly delivering orders late, optimization can help improve your customer service. A good optimization plan will send you alerts for times when an order may arrive late. This system can also highlight when a customer receives their orders late. With real-time visibility of your delivery processes, you can prepare to offer apologies and discounts to keep your customers happy and loyal.
One of the most overlooked areas that can be improved by supply chain optimization is the ability to make better decisions. The more your processes are optimized, the more well-informed you will be. As a result, you will be able to make decisions that have a more positive impact on your supply chain. Real-time data is one of the many features supply chain optimization can offer you. It allows you to make decisions on the go, especially in cases of emergencies that need your attention. It also ensures that your data is always current and up-to-date, so you are never making decisions based on outdated information. It has the benefit of informing other of any changes you make to your tactical planning, so everyone involved is in the loop.
How to Optimize Your Supply Chain Process
Of the most important components of any business is supply chain management. It involves almost the entire company; deals with suppliers and customers; and creates the product and services that make up the core of the business. This is why supply chain optimization is vital to ensuring you get the most out of your supply chain. Here are some methods of how you can optimize your supply chain process.
The guiding precept for supply chain management is brand strategy. Supply chains are designed to align assets to meet objectives that support the brand strategy. About 80% of transportation costs are predetermined by network design, which is why optimization solutions provide value. There are many types of solutions available including distribution center (DC) network design, and strategic sourcing. These solutions answer important questions for decision-makers such as what suppliers to source from, what their capacity is, and where to make capital investments.
Once you’ve established strategic optimization, it’s time to put it into action. This step involved improving annual sourcing decisions and product flows, which allows buyers to meet constraints while using the lowest total landed cost. Tactical optimization allows buyers to make informed choices that make the best use of resources, costs, and time.
Since supply chains are dynamic, demand will change over time. New items will be introduced to the system, and geographic locations may expand or evolve. It’s important to continue evaluating optimization techniques to be ready for improvement at any time. By adding this discipline to your strategy, you will experience better product flow through the supply chain, and develop a business mentality that makes evidence-based informed decisions.
Being agile and flexible are huge assets as an organization. Optimization techniques allow companies to use analytical optimization models to replicate current product movements and cost structures. You can test scenarios in this step such as, “What if demand grows by 20% in a specific market?” and analyze responses.
Improve Your Supply Chain with Lean Supply Solutions
Now that you know the importance of supply chain optimization, you may be wondering how exactly you can achieve it. A fool-proof plan of action is to begin with a robust supply chain management software, which is one of the many advantages of working with a third-party logistics provider. The 3PL provider can help you manage every step of your operations so you can focus on improving other important areas of your business such as sales and marketing. They can help you respond to unexpected challenges so you can save time and money without slowing down your speed and success rate.
If you’re looking for the right company to partner with, Lean Supply Solutions is the answer. We arise to the challenge of meeting our clients’ needs through our services which include product fulfillment, warehousing and distribution, e-commerce fulfillment, warehouse pick and pack, order fulfillment, and more. To learn more about outsourcing to our 3PL distribution team, or to ask any questions, contact us today.
- Published in Blog
Did you know that only six percent of companies have full supply chain visibility? Although this feature is universally desired, few companies understand what it really is and how they can implement it into their supply chain. Businesses cannot run efficiently without the ability to see what is happening at each stage of the supply chain process, and that’s why visibility has become so important. Here’s what you need to know about end-to-end supply chain visibility and how you can benefit from it.
What Is End-to-End Supply Chain Visibility?
Although the concept of supply chain visibility has been around for a while, the feature has changed significantly in recent years. It is no longer controlled within a warehouse, but involves a network of resources spread out across multiple facilities and organizations in different cities and countries. It is the process of tracking and tracing product orders and physical order shipments from the source of production to their destination. Visibility software monitors logistics activities, transport, and the state of events that take place before and during the delivery process.
For all these moving parts to be managed properly, resources of the chain need to be closely linked to get the most of the process. This is where supply chain visibility solutions come in. The flow of information can be shared among suppliers, partners, and customers, who all play a part in the supply chain, so everyone knows what is happening as soon as it does.
Why You Need Supply Chain Visibility
It’s a Game Changer
Visibility can be a game changer for your business. When shippers choose which company they want to ship their products with, you will be at an advantage if you can provide them with the eyes to see where their product is going. Information provided by supply chain visibility can improve your entire operation and make it possible to scale your business. Complete visibility can help you reduce risks, reduce operations costs, and predict and plan to meet the needs of market changes. It will give you more control, better communication, better ability to respond to demands, and resolve issues proactively.
End-to-end visibility will also benefit you by providing you cost savings, increased reliability and productivity, and will allow you to establish yourself as a reputable business in the market. It also allows you to analyze, anticipate, and respond to unexpected events, and prepare solutions for crises.
Supply chains are growing to reach the global market, but this means processes will become more complex and challenging. It will be difficult to manage your extensive supply chain efficiently and guarantee steady daily operations if you cannot see your processes well. Without proper visibility you will experience a lower service level and notice more unexpected issues and additional costs.
Through smart supply chain intelligence, you will be able to reduce risk and grow your business. End-to-end supply chain visibility can protect you by reducing the chances that errors will occur. Supply chain visibility can help you identify areas with a single point of failure so you can be proactive in finding solutions. It can also provide you with better forecast demand, so you will not run out of a product in peak times. You will also know where your goods might be at risk in transit, and track shipments and transactions at each point.
Real-time data and robust dashboard tools that capture snapshots of parts of your business are just two features that come with supply chain visibility solutions. This data allows you to look across your entire business and see any areas that might get you into trouble. This enables you to shift a workflow to prevent crises, and stay ahead. You can also use these tools to find out if you are receiving too many products in a short amount of time, or if your orders are being rushed.
Improve Customer Relationships
Supply chain visibility also shines in terms of your relationship with your customers. Not only can you prevent problems easier, but you can highlight them very quickly. Monitoring and alert features allow you to adapt quickly, which will make your customers happier. You will be better able to adjust to changes, and update customers on shipment status, product availability, recalls, or any other errors that may occur. This improved communication will go a long way in boosting customer retention.
Benefits of Supply Chain Visibility
In summary, here’s what supply chain visibility can do for you:
- The ability to access vital information instantly
- Enhanced process efficiency in terms of end-to-end business processes
- Customer demands addressed through real-time visibility
- Transparency and the ability to view “blind spots”
- Optimized logistics and transportation efficiency
- Improved responsiveness to customers
- More efficient handling and execution
- Reduced labour and material costs
- Efficient stock management
- Improved business metric monitoring and outcomes
Get Supply Chain Visibility with Lean Supply Solutions
If you want to find out, in real-time, where your goods or freight are as they travel from your suppliers or to your customers around the world, supply chain visibility is vital. There are many benefits of using a single software system to track and monitor your processes, and a third-party logistics provider can help you. These companies have a full inventory of services that can manage your operations from start to finish. The high standards of customers and their increasing demands means you cannot slip in regards to the services you provide. With the help of a 3PL partner, you will be able to meet these demands while boosting efficiency and save on costs.
Lean Supply Solutions can help you if you are looking for a logistics partner with the latest technology in supply chain visibility. We are aware of the rising trends in the industry and always strive to stay up to date. We commit to awareness of our clients’ operational challenges as they arise and help them get the most out of their processes. Our 3PL, packaging, and supply chain management services can streamline your processes for better success, and by striving to ensure that the right products are provided to the right customers at the right time, we can offer consistent, accurate, and quality results. If you’re considering upgrading your business by working with our 3PL distribution team, contact us today.
- Published in Blog
Today’s manufacturing supply chain operations are impacted by efforts to modernize the manufacturing process. These initiatives include automation, integrating cloud-based technologies, incorporating data management tools, and more. Depending on your individual needs as a business, you may need to work with a third-party provider to provide you with these new supply chain management tools and services. Whatever decision you make to scale your business growth, here are some different ways you can optimize your manufacturing process.
Tips for Modernizing the Manufacturing Supply Chain
Focus on Areas that Need Work
There’s no point in spending time improving a process that already works well. Instead of focusing on minor improvements, spend time on innovations that are advanced enough to make a big difference in terms of efficiency and savings. Be prepared for overhauls that will impact your future, instead of inventing solutions that aren’t needed.
Don’t Buy More Than You Need
You may think it’s safer to purchase more materials than you or your customers need, especially if the price is right. However, the cost of storing these extra materials will increase over time. If your customer demand happens to shrink, you will be stuck with inventory you cannot use.
Keep Customer Satisfaction a Priority
As you focus on production rate, don’t forget about customer satisfaction. Speed is very important, but not at the expense of quality. Fast production without a control on quality will impact your customer reputation, branding, inventory flow, and goodwill across the supply chain.
Embrace Flexibility and Ask for Help
Forecasting and budgeting are important, but so is the marketplace. Talk to your vendors and customers about how you can improve or what they appreciate about your business. Monitor your social platforms online as customers write reviews. Read reviews on your products, and check comments on related articles, too. Do what you need to do to get a better understanding of what your customers think of you and how you can do better.
Developing and Optimizing the Supply Chain
Invest in a Cloud ERP
Cloud technologies have been implemented into the supply chain to manage processes better. Cloud enterprise resource planning, or cloud ERPs can make manufacturing operations more efficient, especially when your supply chain works from multiple locations. You can reduce IT and related expenses by outsourcing this element of the supply chain. There are many benefits to incorporating cloud ERPs. It provides increased visibility and standardization, provides real-time supply chain oversight, and makes planning shipments and inventory levels simpler and more accurate.
Focus on Customer Satisfaction
Today’s customers’ decisions are increasingly influenced by the how competitive the price of offers is, the desire for a seamless experience across all channels, an easy returns process, and the ability to receive the product as soon as possible. They also expect real-time visibility into the order cycle and tracking to know where their shipment is at all times until it reaches their door. By offering them multiple purchasing methods and delivery flexibility, you can meet their needs and make your customers happy. To keep your customers shopping from you and trusting you, you will need a supply chain network that is flexible, fast, and profitably responsible.
Improve Inventory Management
By optimizing your supply chain, especially by working with a 3PL provider, you can improve inventory management, fulfillment rates, and product availability. The technology available from these providers allow for more opportunities to collaborate, record and analyze data, and test for optimality in all areas.
Monitoring the Processes
Monitoring your supply chain processes may be too much to handle on your own as your business quickly grows from your focused marketing and sales efforts. In a case like this, a 3PL provider can help you and provide you with full visibility into their services to give you peace of mind and insight. They can provide the technology and software you need to have control over your manufacturing processes. This kind of relationship with your 3PL provider can provide you with the following benefits:
- Improved efficiency in operations by implementing automation
- Increased accuracy by reducing human errors
- Improved quality of products and reduced costs associated with rejects, returns, rework, and defects
- Visibility to understand and control processes before they become expensive problems
- Better use of resources with predictive performance modelling
Get Help Managing Your Manufacturing Process with LSS
There are endless benefits of using either a single software system or a 3PL provider with their full inventory of services to manage all your supply chain operations. More brands have achieved higher operational improvements from working with a 3PL partner than those who haven’t. In fact, the high standards and expectations of customers’ demands means 3PLs need to make a better effort on behalf of businesses like yours to meet their needs. Working with a 3PL partner who provides these solutions can be a time and cost-saving way for you to reap these benefits.
Lean Supply Solutions can help you if you are looking for a 3PL company with the latest technology. We make ourselves aware of the rising trends in the logistics industry and always strive to stay up to date. We commit to being aware of our clients’ operational challenges as they arise and help them get the most out of their supply chain processes. Our 3PL, packaging, and supply chain management can streamline your processes for better success, and by striving to ensure that the right products are provided to the right customers at the right time, we can offer consistent, accurate, and quality results. To learn more about outsourcing to our 3PL distribution team, or to ask any questions, contact us today.
- Published in Blog
Any business that works in logistics knows of the supply chain transformation that technology has caused. Technology provides unparalleled access to information about what makes supply chains run efficiently, and how optimization and automation can give suppliers a competitive edge in their industries. This incredible level of innovation has led to the creation of the digital supply chain, which is managed by automated system and web or cloud-based solutions. This new supply chain gives businesses the advantage of better collaboration with their suppliers, shippers, and other third-party resources for success. Here’s what you need to know about the evolution of digital supply chain management and how you can get started.
What Is a Digital Supply Chain?
A digital supply chain is built upon Internet-enabled capabilities that improve system integration, connectivity, and information management. Unlike the hybrid model, which uses a mix of paper and IT-enabled processes, digital supply chain management is strictly online. The goal of this system is to enable better insights into the supply chain to boost efficiency, do away with waste, and gain better profits. Companies that use the digital method can move resources, assets, people, and inventory where they need to be faster and make transportation proactive and reduce manufacturing risks. The digital supply chain can monitor data such as inventory levels, consumer interactions with products, carrier locations, and equipment in real-time. GPS tracking, radiofrequency identification (RFID), barcodes, smart labels, wireless sensor networks, and location-based data are all parts of this next-generation supply chain solution.
Technologies That Support Digital Supply Chain Transformation
IoT & AI
The Internet of Things (IoT) has changed how companies can ship materials from the factory to the customer. Sensors are used along with a specific software to track shipments and their conditions at any point in time. This technology remedies problems such as delivery time, climate change, supply and demand, and more. As for artificial intelligence (AI), it can increase profits and productivity, streamline processes, and manage supply chains.
Big Data Analytics
Data comes in from every possible source, but big data needs to be analyzed to be understood and communicated. Various models of analytics provide valuable suggestions to vendors and manufacturers about how customers purchase products. The supply chain is therefore streamlined to avoid many supply chain conflicts.
This distributed database holds records of digital data and makes them resistant to tampering. It secures the supply chain process by tracking a product at each point from manufacturing to the customer. As it tracks all the events in the chain, potential roadblocks can be checked and resolved quickly. Blockchain provides purchase process automation, improved customer engagement, streamlined operations, connectivity, security, transparency, auditability, and more.
As manufacturing demands increase around the world, the need for better connection and communication increases. Technology has allowed businesses to connect with others around the world to reach scale and efficiency at a lower cost. Products are now developed for global markets and materials are sourced from global suppliers. This access and flexibility makes the supply chain smoother and works in favour of both the vendor and the consumer.
Smart robotics can eliminate low hanging manual processes in distribution centres such as picking and packing. This technology can enable businesses to automate certain processes individually to reduce the complications that come with company-wide automaton. Individual areas of automation will improve warehouse management and lead to a more productive supply chain.
Seeing and understanding the activities and events of your partners is one of the advantages of the digital supply chain. End-to-end visibility allows for optimization with multiple key partners.
Cloud-based transportation management systems (TMS) allow vendors to connect with the systems of other companies within their transportation network. This allows both parties to see what factors affect the success of their deliveries, costs, and overall performance. This visibility allows companies like yours to create strategies that eliminate or reduce waste (money, resources, time, etc.) and create a system that is efficient.
3D printing is changing the supply chain industry. It works by printing materials or product pieces, layer by layer and combats situations like demand-supply mismatch. Originally, this technology was extremely expensive but the increased accessibility to hardware, software, and raw materials has driven down the cost. Today’s suppliers are now better able to use this technology to maintain their inventory and meet customers’ needs.
Outsource Your Digital Supply Chain Management with 3PL Provider, Lean Supply Solutions
A growing business cannot be properly managed on your own. Most companies who excel with the digital supply chain outsource their processes to a third-party provider while they continue working on sales and marketing. A 3PL provider can help you manage your operations so you can focus on making your business and brand more accessible to your online shoppers. They provide many, if not more, of the advantages above, so you save time and money and speed up your success and revenue. If you’re looking for the right company to partner with, Lean Supply Solutions is the answer. We rise to the challenge of meeting our clients’ needs through our services which include product fulfillment, warehousing and distribution, e-commerce fulfillment, warehouse pick and pack, and order fulfillment. Lean Supply Solutions can offer consistent, accurate, and quality results. To learn more about outsourcing to our 3PL distribution team or to ask any questions, contact us today.
- Published in Blog
Supply chain risk management is more than a helpful addition to your operations—it is essential to your success in events like natural disasters, unpaid bills, transport disruptions, etc. The purpose of risk management is to prevent issues and provide loss mitigation if risk events do occur. Whether you have no risk management system, a poor risk management system, or a limited risk management system, here’s what you need to know about the benefits of this addition and how it will transform your supply chain for the best.
What Is Supply Chain Risk Management?
The need for supply chain management has never been more popular as more companies are handing over their manufacturing processes to external supply networks that operate on a national or global basis. Working with a third-party logistics (3PL) provider can provide you with shorter production cycles, timely strategies, new technologies, and much more. With a growing network of prospects and increased global dependencies, there is a higher risk that if you slip in one area, you could risk losing customers. These risks can include a shortage of raw materials, production plant failures from natural disasters, strikes, or miscommunications within the supply chain. A reputable 3PL partner can help you navigate these risks and properly manage your supply chain to achieve success. Supply chain risk management benefits the supply chain in the following ways:
- Ensures production and deliveries are functioning optimally
- Avoids profit losses by detecting risks early
- Quick ability to respond to unexpected events
- Safeguards the image of your corporation
- Boosts and maintains customer satisfaction
- Provides useful technology that enables live updates
- Meets and exceeds rules and regulations, and safety standards
New Aspects of Supply Chain Risk Management
More businesses are realizing that risk management creates a strategic competitive advantage and promotes an agile supply chain that works better than ever before. With supply chain risk management, you will be able to outperform your competitors and boost market share when a common risk occurs. You will also be able to reduce uncertainty and strengthen relationships and trust with your prospects. Risk management also continuously detects, optimizes, and reduces risk exposure and cost.
Supply Chain Risk Management Benefits
Stimulates Many Supply Chain Best Practices
Risk management is key in eliminating waste and stimulating other best practices within the supply chain. Wasting resources can add risk to the organization and supply chain, so by planning ahead with a good risk management system, materials can be repurposed to avoid waste.
Early Detection of Risk through Fluid Communication
Preventing a crisis can be done through proper communication. Since 3PL providers integrate technology and management software, visibility and communication are enhanced to keep everyone aware of the flow of materials and products.
Ability to Respond to Unexpected Events
Risk management can help you reduce the complexity of a problem and prevent problems altogether. For example, it begins by identifying what risks might prevent you from getting your products to your customers on time, understanding how badly each risk would hurt your operations, and finding quick solutions to manage the situation.
Maintaining Business Operations
Risks vary from business to business but by considering the worst-case scenario for each situation, solutions can be brought to light in the event they should occur. That way, when risks present themselves, you can continue to run your operations smoothly, without going into panic mode. A 3PL can help you with this, as they have systems in place to ensure everything runs smoothly and that you’re aware of potential risks.
Trust Lean Supply Solutions for Supply Chain Risk Management
Maintaining the delivery of essential goods and services and preventing issues before they occur is a lot of work. It takes time and energy to constantly monitor operations to ensure everything is working at optimum potential. As global markets increase and the supply chain becomes more complex, the need for risk management is stronger than ever.
Lean Supply Solutions can help you if you are looking for a 3PL company with the latest technology and risk management solutions. We make ourselves aware of the rising trends in the logistics industry and always strive to stay up to date. We commit to being aware of our clients’ operational challenges as they arise and help them get the most out of their supply chain processes. We also monitor operations 24/7 to seek out risky situations and prevent them from occurring. Our 3PL, packaging, and supply chain management can streamline your processes for better success, and by striving to ensure that the right products are provided to the right customers at the right time, we can offer consistent, accurate, and quality results. To learn more about outsourcing to our 3PL distribution team, or to ask any questions, contact us today!
- Published in Blog