Like your business, your supply chain is a vast and complex network. Businesses need to source product from suppliers, who may also source materials and components from their own suppliers, and so on. If one part of this network faces a problem, it makes every part vulnerable. Having a deeper understanding of how supply chains work and how efficiently you can manage potential risks will help you resolve issues quickly. There are steps that you can take to cultivate resilience in your supply chain, which means you can better anticipate, react to, and recover from unexpected problems. If your goal as a business is to emerge stronger as the days go by, you can implement some of these steps to achieve supply chain resilience. Here are some tips to build a resilient supply chain, and how our supply chain services can help you.
Steps to Build a Resilient Supply Chain
Analyze the Risk
Analyzing the risk in your supply chain is your starting point. You need to understand what risks each of your suppliers brings to you, how significant these risks are, and how you can prevent them. By understanding the risks associated with each supplier, you can get proactive to protect your business against it. By analyzing the risk, you will gain an understanding of the maturity of your suppliers, and how capable they are of managing any issues that come up. Then, you can ensure that they have processes to mitigate their own risks as well.
Take the Long-Term View
As you build your supply chain, you should take your time and be proactive. A reactive solution that involves just-in-time procurement and managing cash flow raises the risk of your business facing challenges. It’s common for organizations to forget that incentives to save money can also bring serious risk because they focus on perceived short-term benefits instead of having a long-term view. By having a proactive solution, you can review potential threats and ensure that you are not spending too much for possible risks. From this larger perspective, you can create a better strategy for yourself and your suppliers.
Centralize Your Risk Monitoring
By centralizing your risk monitoring you will save time, resources, and confusion. There are many tools in the market that can help you monitor your supply chain and build a responsible one for various risks. The goal is to keep your data consistent within that framework. You will need to host your own facility data, supplier data, and third-party risk data in one place.
After identifying the risks in your supply chain, you should develop mitigation strategies that are sensible and innovative. Sensible mitigation strategies simply mean you are choosing a strategy that caters to the specific risks in your supply chain. It should be a quick and effective solution that is appropriate and cost-effective. In terms of innovation, you should constantly be updating your strategy with your suppliers to find even better ways to reduce risk. There is no one size fits all solution, which is why you should be targeted in your approach.
Communicate What You’re Doing
Your consumers, partners, suppliers, and investors need to know that you are responsible to the environment and your communities. This requires effective communication of what steps you are taking to mitigate risks head on. Doing this will be good for your brand and create new opportunities to expand. A great tool to illustrate improvements in your performance is analytics.
Evolve Your Approach Through Lessons Learned
Despite being proactive, things may still go wrong. However, it’s how effectively you respond to these hiccups in your supply chain that will keep it operating well. Be sure to take note of any lessons learned about the risks that happened and how you responded to them, so that you can create a database of best practices. These learnings can be applied to your overall supply chain management strategy and can be taught to your employees to improve chances of future success.
Benefits of a Resilient Supply Chain
The first benefit of a resilient supply chain is availability. With quality operating systems, you can access real time inventory data and adapt to global constraints. This gives you and your suppliers peace of mind during unexpected weather-related events and catastrophes. Even if one location gets hit with a blackout, you can still access the latest information on your system elsewhere at the click of a button.
Flexibility and Configuration
Unexpected disasters do occur, and your business needs to be able to respond to these challenges. Using cloud-based software, you can be ready for anything with original configurations from any device, without needing to set up a new system. Resilient supply chain management also allows you to collaborate with your vendors to adjust the flow of products based on changes you make at your facilities or distribution points. This interconnectedness allows you to have full control of how you manage your inventory and respond to challenges.
Total control in your business means knowing and seeing exactly where your inventory is at anytime. By obtaining cloud-based software and working with a third-party logistics provider, you can have a single view of your inventory across your entire network. This visibility gives you more control over your business.
Contact Lean Supply Solutions for Low-Risk Supply Chain Management
With the right supply chain management, storms can come and go without affecting your business. With resilient cloud solutions, quality inventory management, and other beneficial supply chain services, you can prepare for future challenges and be ready with solutions that help you and your suppliers.
A third-party logistics supply chain provider can help you deal with the challenges of a growing business, whether you are a small- or medium-sized organization. With their supply chain services in your hands, you can benefit from their efficiency and talent, as well as many other advantages such as supply chain management software and technology that increase 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 supply management in Toronto and Vancouver, or to ask any questions, contact us today.
Every business works in a unique way; some benefit from contract warehousing, while others seek multi-client (shared) warehousing solutions to fulfill their requirements. Multi-client warehousing allows you to share the space with other customers and offers a flexible, affordable method to store your products. Here’s what you need to know about multi-client warehousing and distribution services, and how it differs from dedicated warehousing.
The Difference between Dedicated and Shared Warehousing
A dedicated warehouse, or a contract warehouse, deals with the management of a warehouse facility occupied by a single tenant. You may own or rent the space, but you will have to pay for all labour, operations, technology implementations, equipment, and value-added services. A shared warehouse is the opposite. Also known as a multi-client or public warehouse, it is where multiple businesses can operate under a single distribution centre. All the tenants can enjoy shared labour, capital equipment expenditures, material handling equipment, and more.
In the first option, you manage all the costs of running your warehouse and deal with the expenses yourself. It usually requires a multi-year commitment that includes labour structure, equipment expenditures, a warehouse management system, and all operational processes. The building lease can be tied to the client or the third-party logistics provider, but a contract agreement must be made.
In the second scenario, you can enjoy the flexibility of shorter contract terms. The third-party logistics provider will own the facility and equip it with everything that you need. The costs are spread out evenly across all the companies that use the facility, and many of these costs become variable and fluctuate with the volume and activity levels of your business depending on the time of year.
Advantages of Multi-Client Warehousing
Compared to dedicated warehousing, shared warehousing offers shorter, more flexible contracts. This makes it more useful for startup companies, as well as those with a smaller client base, seasonal products, or products where demand fluctuates. In any of these situations, shared warehousing is the better option. Shared warehousing allows you access to space that can be reduced or increased to match your personal business demands. Multi-client warehousing provides a solution to rapidly changing distribution needs, without the commitment to a long-term contract. It is also a great option for businesses that require several smaller locations, offering multiple distribution points instead of one large warehouse.
Improved Service and Efficiency
By allowing a third-party warehousing company to help you, you gain improved service and efficiency from logistic experts, access to analytics tools, and tighter control over your inventory. By teaming up, you can maximize space management and reduce costs, allowing you to give better service to your customers. Third-party logistics providers also have adequate staff that are professional, experienced, and knowledgeable to take the worries of storage management off your shoulders.
Cost is one of the biggest challenges for growing businesses. Multi-client warehousing provides a solution by allowing you to share your space with other businesses. By sharing labour and spreading our operational costs among all the customers, you can achieve significant savings. You will only be paying for space that you use, which means there are no large, expensive warehouses being paid for that are standing half empty. Shared warehousing eliminates the need for you to hire your own staff to take care of your warehousing responsibilities such as packing, storing, and distribution. If you require specialized tools, equipment, or additional services, you can share these costs evenly amongst the other customers.
Disadvantages of Multi-Client Warehousing
One of the primary drawbacks of multiple fulfillment locations are the fixed costs. Sharing warehouse space with other companies means that you may have to pay for double the inventory space and handling costs. Although the amount is shared with the different clients, you may be paying for more than you actually need.
Space availability and competition is another disadvantage of multi-client warehousing. You may have your eyes set on a specific distribution centre but may not be able to get the access you want because other companies have sought after it as well.
Another concern is system incompatibility. This may lead to problems with communication between you and the third-party logistics provider, as well as the other clients using the distribution centre.
Partner with Lean Supply Solutions for Multi-Client Warehousing Solutions
Despite some drawbacks, the benefits of shared warehousing for small or seasonal businesses outweigh them. The flexibility and a low level of commitment is exactly what a small or seasonal business requires. Your business could change on a dime, which means that you need to be able to access scalable services and the best level of service to keep your customers coming back. With the right third-party logistics provider, you can reap the benefits of multi-client warehousing services.
Lean Supply Solutions will integrate your supply chain for you, providing the services you need. We will assemble and manage the resources, capabilities, and technologies of your organization with the assistance of external service providers so that you have expertise to manage your resources. Our services include contract logistics, e-commerce fulfillment services, inventory planning and management, supply chain management and optimization, pick-and-pack services, freight and warehousing, reverse logistics management, and more.
When you’re ready to reap the benefits of multi-client warehousing, Lean Supply Solutions is ready to help you. To learn more about warehousing and distribution in Toronto with our 3PL logistics services, or to ask any questions, contact us today.
Working in the retail and distribution industry means paying attention to ensure that your customers have a great experience. You cannot achieve success if people don’t shop at your store. That’s why one of your primary goals should be to leave your customers happy every time they interact with your business, whether it be online, or at your brick and mortar store. When it comes to e-commerce fulfillment services, you need to stay on top of everything. E-commerce is transforming the retail and distribution industry, and here’s what you need to know.
How e-Commerce Is Redefining the Retail and Distribution Industries
Personalized Customer Experience
Personalizing the customer experience has never been more possible than with e-commerce. There is a new class of retail stores that provide experiences that offer higher value than what can be found online. The ability for customers to interact with your products or services through product demos and other special events is extremely valuable. A brick-and-mortar store can support your online store by allowing your customers a more hands-on experience with your products. There are retail companies that sell online and carry no dedicated inventory; however, their customers can go to their physical store to pick up their online orders and make returns if they need to. While they are at the physical store, for instance, a customer can enjoy a complimentary beverage and talk with tailors on site. The personal touch goes a long way!
Analyzing the Data
The customer experience can only be enhanced by analyzing data. The process can be as simple as using cameras and surveys or by using sensor technologies and other more sophisticated methods. Data solutions do not always have to be expensive or complex. For example, a retailer might track the path that customers take once they enter their store. After analyzing the data, they may realize that the reason why some products aren’t selling as well is because there is a table blocking customers from accessing the items. Analyzing this data helps retailers to problem-solve and gives them the tools to train their staff to encourage customers to visit sections that may be less visible.
A recent study discovered that 92% of shoppers prefer stores that connect to mobile experiences. It also found that nearly 75% of customers want a mobile platform to shop for quicker checkout times. By digitizing your physical infrastructure based on customer experience and convenience, you can make the most of mobile technology. Using both platforms will help you be more successful and have a better response from your customers. Your mobile experience should be easy to navigate to help your customers acquire your products as quickly as possible.
Guide to e-Commerce Shipping and Fulfillment
Shipping Rates and Methods
It’s important to consider your shipping rates and methods as you prepare for e-commerce fulfillment. Will you make your customers pay the full cost of shipping or will you offer free or flat rate shipping to make it more manageable for them? The latter options may cost you more without the right connections in the supply chain, but charging the full amount of shipping to your customers could increase the rate of cart abandonment.
Packaging options is another area to consider with e-commerce shipping and fulfillment. You should make sure that the packaging isn’t too heavy, which could raise your shipping costs, but also not too weak, so that your products risk damage. You may want access to a variety of packaging options, so that you can make informed decisions about each kind of product.
Insurance and Tracking
Depending on the kind of products that you are selling, as well as their value, shipping insurance and tracking may be something you require. These features offer a great deal of security, so that you know where your products are along the way. It also provides a resource in case any of your packages get lost or damaged. Some services offer complimentary coverage for up to $200. You can also consider purchasing insurance on big-ticket items alone, so that if these items get lost, you’ll have coverage. It is best to compare various courier prices to see which options are best for you. Some shipping services include insurance into their price.
Labelling Your Packages
After figuring out your presentation, packaging, carrier, and costs, you will need to decide how you want to label your packages. If you are new to e-commerce, you may simply write the shipping and return addresses on the packages by hand. This may be manageable while you have very few orders, but once your business starts to gain momentum, writing by hand can be time-consuming, tedious, and not scalable. By teaming up with a third-party logistics provider, you can benefit from packaging and labelling services. They have the equipment and processes necessary to ensure that the right labels are put on your packages without you having to write with a sharpie.
Choose Lean Supply Solutions as Your Third-Party Logistics Service Provider
When it comes to e-commerce, you need to look at the big picture and consider what really impacts the customer experience. Once you find these challenges, it’s important to consider how your company will address them. Customers pick up mistakes and watch to see how quickly you correct them. The points mentioned above can help you prepare for unforeseen challenges that could impact your customer service.
There are a variety of tools and technologies available to improve your operations for greater transparency and efficiency, as well as increase your customer relationships. 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 network, they can find you quick and effective solutions and bring you a variety of advantages such as supply chain management software and technology.
When you’re ready to benefit from these services, Lean Supply Solutions is ready to help you. 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 e-commerce fulfillment services in Canada, or to ask any questions, contact us today.
There are many reasons why businesses choose to hire supply chain services. Handling transportation, distribution, inventory, and storage can be exhausting and time-consuming if you are unprepared to scale for growth. Supply chain management companies can help you by providing you with the staff, infrastructure, transportation, and software to manage your entire supply chain. Before you pick up the phone to request these services, here are some things to keep in mind.
Tips for Hiring the Best Supply Chain Management Company for Your Business
The right supply chain management company for you should have years of knowledge and experience in managing vendors and freight costs. They should thoroughly understand the processes of management and logistics and have unmatched communication skills. You should find out if the supply chain management company can meet your specific needs. You may need to hand over your inventory management to them, or get help with manufacturing, storing, and distributing your products. Consider what your specific needs are and find a company that can assist you with those requirements.
A good supply chain management company will be an expert at collaborating with suppliers, intermediaries, other third-party service providers, and customers. A business owner like yourself may be great at collaborating, but chances are that you might have too much on your plate as it is. By outsourcing, you enable supply chain managers to collaborate on your behalf with all the necessary parties, so you can focus on what’s important. While they focus solely on managing your supply chain, you can use your time to focus on marketing, sales, and other core competencies.
Supply chain management providers are always seeking new ways to produce and manage better. Because of this, they are effective problem-solvers. Their continued exposure in the supply chain field can help you deal with any unexpected hurdles that may arise in inventory management, vendor consolidation, or logistics.
Another aspect to consider when choosing your supply chain partner is whether they are certified in the industry. The top supply chain professionals have received certification for their qualifications in areas such as analysis, design, and implementation techniques. When you hire a specialist with these qualifications, you can trust that they have a superior level of training and understanding. If they are on a board of professionals, you will have additional access to resources to help your business drive.
Benefits of Hiring a Supply Chain Management Company
Increase Profitability and Efficiency
When you hire a third-party logistics provider, you can redirect and focus on ensuring that your business staff develop their skills and gets training in areas that are important for the long-term. As your provider focuses on your supply chain, you can focus on building confidence in your staff. You can help them develop new skills to take on new roles in your company and strengthen the relationships you have with your team members. This solution focuses your internal resources on your business, while the supply chain professionals handle the bulk work of your products.
Cost-Effective and Time-Efficient
Hiring a supply chain management company is a cost-effective and time-efficient solution to your growing business. With their relationships with suppliers and transportation companies, they can help you get the best rates to run your supply chain. They also strive to make their operations more efficient to save time and provide exceptional service to keep up with and surpass their competitors.
Variety of Services
Modern business moves at a rapid pace, so unless you can scale for growth, you’ll find yourself frustrated as you try to keep up with every passing quarter. Every extra touch point in your supply chain can mean another account, invoice, and moving link to add complications. When you work with a third-party logistics provider, you can cover multiple bases at once, leading to less downtime that you spend waiting for responses via e-mail and individuals to work together.
Another benefit of hiring a supply chain management company is that they understand that each business is unique. Even if they generally offer the same kinds of services, they can customize their solutions to help you. Whether you need assistance with tricky shipment scenarios or need a robust reverse logistics solution, your service provider should be able to cater their offerings to your needs.
Contact Lean Supply Solutions for Outsourced Supply Chain Services
The reasons why a business should hire a supply chain solution provider is no different than the reasons for why a sick person should hire a doctor to deal with their health issue. The goal is to get specialized expertise in a specific area that you need. As you can see from the points mentioned above, there are many benefits to hiring a third-party logistics provider.
A supply chain provider can help you deal with the challenges of a growing business, whether you are a small or medium-sized organization. With their supply chain services in your hands, you can benefit from their efficiency and talent, as well as many other advantages such as supply chain management software and technology that increase 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 supply management in Toronto, or to ask any questions, contact us today.
Corporate social responsibility and supply chain sustainability are buzz phrases in the industry today, but what do they mean? Sustainability is more than just the icing on the cake; now it has become a necessary part of every business model. Here’s what you need to know about the importance of sustainability and supply chain management, and why you should get on board as soon as possible.
What Is Sustainable Supply Chain Management?
Sustainability is the future, and it is more important than ever that your business’ supply chain establishes a sustainability program. This program will help you understand the level of social, environmental, and economic impact and viability that your suppliers and customers have. There may not be government pressures to push sustainability, but there are already corporate pressures on suppliers and vendors. Sustainability is more than just going green and being environmentally friendly. It also impacts the entire manufacturing process, from where raw materials are obtained, to the processes within the plant, to the use and potential recyclability of the product or service.
Why Is It Important?
When manufacturing inventory, the first aspect that will lead your business to a more sustainable future is the supply chain. Manufacturers need to create new ways to manage and track their practices in the supply chain, manufacturing process, and in sales and marketing. Customers are also becoming increasingly active in supporting these measures.
Sustainability does more than improve product quality; it can also improve customer relations. Focusing on cost alone when considering manufacturing inventory won’t cut it. Customers become loyal to brands that they share their values with, which is why you should invest in sustainable practices that reduce waste and use ethically sourced materials. Makeup brands that use plant-based ingredients and recycled packaging, and those labelled as “vegan” and “cruelty-free” quickly build a loyal customer base. Consumers are more aware of the things they buy, and many choose to trust brands that do their best to protect the environment.
When shifting to a sustainable supply chain model, it might be expensive at the start, but it has proven to bring greater efficiency in the long-term. Companies experience a significant decrease in expenses over the long term, which is attractive to both manufacturers and customers. All parties gain something when you move to a sustainable business model.
Tips for Supply Chain Sustainability
Map Your Supply Chain
Many companies do not completely understand how sustainability affects their supply chain. As you prepare to improve, one of the first changes you should make is to the inventory suppliers. Identify the most significant environmental and social challenges they have and then prioritize your efforts with them.
By focusing on sustainability within your supply chain, you can effectively communicate corporate values and cultures to your customers and suppliers. By establishing and communicating expectations, you can involve your business relationships in your sustainability efforts. These expectations can be communicated through a supplier code of conduct. There are many resources and tools available to assist companies with developing a supplier code of conduct. These guidelines and tips for writing and adopting a successful supplier code of conduct can be found by doing a little research and using the tools available online.
Develop Training and Capacity Building Programs
Another important step to improve sustainability and drive behavioural change includes training development and capacity building programs. You can transfer knowledge across the supply chain by leveraging the best practices and case studies from your best performing suppliers via online training modules, annual conferences, and capacity building campaigns. As you showcase the success of your best suppliers, you encourage everyone to recognize their efforts and demonstrate the practical benefits of sustainability initiatives. You also establish an incentive for the rest of your suppliers to do better.
Baseline Supplier Performance
Once you have set compliance standards for your target suppliers, you should collect data from them through a simple benchmarking questionnaire or self assessment to understand your starting point. Many organizations have begun to evaluate their supplier performance using surveys and questionnaires. Many organizations also incorporate every area in their code of conduct with special focus on the self assessments related to important areas of their business. Baseline assessment of supplier performance are the starting point for future programs aimed at improving supply chain sustainability and assessing where the greatest need for improvement exists.
Drive Performance Improvement
Once your business has a solid understanding of supplier baseline performance, you can create an audit program to measure performance improvement as time goes on. Although the self assessments are completed by a corporate group, on-site audits can reveal local practices, practical optical opportunities for improvement, and behavioural challenges that are challenging to identify through surveys alone. When your organization implements an audit program, you should be prepared to act on the findings by preparing corrective action plans that include communicating the results and expectations, and if necessary, terminating suppliers if they do not comply. You compare these audit programs with incentive programs that reward suppliers that comply.
Lean Supply Solutions Provides Logistics Management Support
As a business, sustainability in the supply chain allows you to reap countless benefits. Offering a transparent business model to your suppliers, investors, and consumers allows you to demonstrate your commitment to sustainability. This attracts customers who are now becoming more aware of their impact on the environment. To keep up with this competitive environment, you should always strive to move forward and exceed the expectations of your relationships.
Ready to benefit from a sustainable business model? Partner with a third-party logistics provider and start today! Lean Supply Solutions rises 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 supply chain management company in Toronto and Vancouver, or to ask any questions about our supply chain services, contact us today.