7 Tips for Managing Your Supply Chain
January 31, 2018
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Managing a supply chain isn’t as easy as some might think. Especially if you lack the manpower, the process can easy get out of control. Don’t worry, though. Follow our tips and you’ll discover that managing your supply chain (and by proxy: your whole business) can be a whole lot easier than you thought.
1. Clear Requirements
When you negotiate a contract with a potential supplier, make sure to cover every detail. It’s important that both you and your supplier have the same ideas about quality, product specifications, deadlines, and warranties. Don’t let miscommunication muddy the waters and ruin a shipment – and possibly your whole business relationship.
2. Multiple Suppliers
Mishaps and delays happen, even if you’ve done your best to avoid them. Instead of panicking, the best thing you can do is to have a backup plan. Don’t stake everything on one horse: have an array of trusted suppliers who can help you out in a tough situation.
Don’t stake everything on one horse: have an array of trusted suppliers who can help you out in a tough situation.
Alternatively, you may even consider splitting your most important orders between two or more suppliers to avoid getting into a jam if one of them doesn’t deliver on time. A flexible supply chain is a great asset for any small business.
There are 5 easy ways to find an international supplier, and grow your business. Read about them here.
3. Trust Building
Trust is a very important element of every business relationship. There are many ways to build a confident working relationship with suppliers.
One of the most important elements is communication. Make sure you’re always as polite and clear as possible, without being rude. If you’re working with international suppliers, bear in mind that there may be cultural differences. (If that’s the case, check out our international business guides.)
Another key feature is being on time. Whether it’s meetings, shipments, or payments, try to stick to the agreed schedule. If you know ahead of time that there will be difficulties in sending off a payment, let your supplier know so they can be prepared for the delay.
Compassion, respect, and honesty go a long way.
4. Better Inventory
Figuring out the correct amount of inventory is a tough question. You don’t want to run out of supplies, but you don’t want boxes of goods taking up precious space, and cash, either. Monitor inventory changes very closely, and try to estimate future trends.
You don’t want to run out of supplies, but you don’t want boxes of goods taking up precious space, and cash, either.
Is a major holiday coming up when consumers will try to stock up on your goods? How long does it take to get an extra shipment of this or that product?
Take all factors into account and have a flexible approach to inventory-keeping. What worked this month may not work for the next.
5. Planned Logistics
Logistics is the process of goods actually moving through the supply chain. It’s the riskiest part of the whole operation because it involves a lot of unknown factors.
As with suppliers, it may be a good idea to have a few trusted carriers as your business partners and turn to one for help should difficulties arise with another.
Try to be prepared for any event (with a plan B, e.g. backup products), and make sure to use modern technology to track your supplies. Which brings us to our next point.
6. Use Software Tools
There are many types of software that can help you manage your supply chain, including tracking shipments, controlling inventory, or updating lead times. Platforms like SAP, NetSuite, Apprise ERP, Halo, and many others offer various useful features. Pick the one that best suits your needs and budget, and make the most of it.
As we said earlier, providing a state-of-the-art payment option helps to build trust and create a streamlined business relationship with your suppliers. This is especially difficult if you’re working with overseas suppliers, since international bank transfers are anything but easy.
This is where Veem comes in. Due to its unique multi-rail technology, Veem allows you to send payments quickly, securely, and as easily as sending an email.
You can also track all payments through your dashboard, and since Veem verifies the recipient, you can be sure that your transfer lands in the right account. In addition, Veem charges no wire fees and offers competitive foreign exchange rates.
What’s not to love?
Sign up for a free Veem account and enjoy hassle-free international transfers.