As an e-commerce professional, you already know that for your business to be sustainable it requires a loyal customer base and effective supply chain management. But what is involved in supply chain services that build your business? Here are some of the areas that you can improve to ensure the best possible supply chain management this year.
To get a complete view of your operations and have an effective response to risks, the right prediction and contingency planning tools must be in place. These tools can help deal with risks such as suppliers going out of business, and natural calamities affecting manufacturing. With plans in place, companies can make adjustments to their promotion strategies and pricing to shape demand, speed up operations, increase revenue, and expand margins for high-demand products with limited market supply. Planning options may include any of the following:
- Manufacturing components of products domestically
- Manufacturing components in a foreign market by setting up production facilities internationally
- Purchasing a component from a foreign supplier
- Purchasing a component from a domestic supplier
Manufacturing companies must also decide how these goods will be produced. Products can be any of the following:
- Made to stock
- Made to order
- Configured to order
- Engineered to order
Optimize Inventory Management
Managing inventory is one of the most important aspects of a successful strategy. Inventory includes work in progress items, finished goods in bulk state, packaged, and saleable units. Managing inventory required packaging, labelling, material handling, sorting, and data tracking. An inventory management software gives you better visibility and control over your operations, and can save you money in the following ways:
- Avoiding unnecessary spoilage of goods (expired products)
- Avoiding dead stock (gone out of season, style, or become irrelevant)
- Saving on storage costs
Internal & External Collaboration Process
Internal collaboration occurs within a brand between managers and employees, while external collaboration occurs within a brand and its consumers. Collaboration can take place via social media channels like Twitter or online communities, blogs, and wikis. It enables brands to build a relationship with their audience to increase revenue, reduce costs, gain more efficiency, and boost customer service. Internally, it enables employees to communicate more effectively and improve productivity through file sharing, chat, social networking, and other features that aim to meet business objectives.
A business that integrates both internal and external collaboration strategies will do far better than one that focuses on internal or external alone. Some of the benefits of a social business include:
- Everyone can participate in providing information and valuable feedback
- Connections and relationships can be established and new relationships can be developed
- Customers are more likely to support brands that have a reputation for good communication and care about building long-term relationships
- Platforms can be used to brainstorm or provide ideas about marketing campaigns, sales strategies, and other activities
Packaging is just one aspect of a complete supply chain strategy. It deals with the functional and aesthetic properties of packaging to preserve the stability and integrity of the items inside. Packaging must be able to withstand transportation, environmental conditions, and other factors that could affect the contents.
Regulations that Must Be Complied
An essential component of a successful supply chain is regulatory compliance. It ensures that all parties involved meet the national and international laws that apply to them. These regulations change from time to time, and it is your responsibility to ensure you and your staff are meeting these requirements.
Safety and Security in the Supply Chain
One of the most important aspects of your supply chain is the safety and security process. Depending on the kinds of products you supply, you will need to abide by the regulations and safety requirements of customs and border protection agencies. You will also need to make sure the quality and efficacy of the products are consistent. Within your warehouse, the safety of your staff is also important. Your warehouse should have proper floor and wall markings, proper lighting, and clean, hazard-free floors.
Every e-commerce business that provides goods to consumers must have a return policy and management strategy. You will need to ensure that any returned products—whether they were defective, in poor condition, incorrect, or unsatisfactory—are properly handled once they return to the warehouse. Without a strategy for handling returns, you could suffer the loss of wasted time, energy, inventory, and lose profit. Aside from your strategy, you will also need to ensure your policies are clearly stated, so your consumers know how these situations are handled. Establish rules for product returns, monitoring performance and costs, and managing the inventory of returned product.
Let Lean Supply Solutions Manage Your Supply Chain
There are ever-changing and increasing demands in the supply chain that businesses need to keep up with, and if your business has been seeing incredible growth, you may realize how great a challenge this is. However, the right processes, tools, and practices can help you make the most of this growth to improve your business and meet customer expectations.
Working with a 3PL provider can help you deal with these challenges. With their experience in strategizing the supply chain, they can manage all the tasks above so you can have peace of mind and focus on other core responsibilities. A 3PL provider will also offer you many 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.