It is essential for any business that relies on the seamless delivery of quality products to its customers to have a swift functioning logistics stream. That means that everything from the supply of the product to its landing in the customer’s hands must be managed properly and efficiently. For start-ups in particular, this can be daunting. A supply chain involves various different stages, each one as important as the last. If there’s an issue with storage, you run the risk of losing goods. If you’re experiencing glitches in transportation, you may face the late delivery of products. All of these different aspects, if not handled properly, can lead to customer dissatisfaction. Planning ahead is vital in order to run a business smoothly. Supply must meet demand, the customer’s needs must be met on time and to the expected quality.
The efficient running of a supply chain requires good, organised logistics management that tends to all functions to ensure things are kept timely and deadlines are met. How a business decides to handle this will depend on the scale of their operation. Major operations usually require the involvement of a logistics company. That way the entire process is managed by an expert in the field of logistics and supply chain management. Smaller and perhaps more local operations, however, may choose to handle their supply chain logistics internally. Either way, it’s vital to gain a solid understanding of each individual stage.
Naturally, everything begins with the supplier. These are the people that are going to manufacture your inventory. They’re as important as it gets in terms of providing your customers with what they want. That’s why it’s essential to work with a supplier that understands, and meets, your expectations. Your choice will depend on a wide range of factors such as quality, value for money, reliability and service. A logistics company should have an acute understanding of the kind of supplier you’ll need to work with. Alternatively, if you’re not utilising a logistics company, you should undertake your own comprehensive and strategic research.
Vital in any logistics and supply chain management is access to appropriate storage. If you’re a small business you may want to opt for flexible warehouse storage. This is because fixed warehouse storage can often come at too high a cost, commitment and risk. Flexible storage providers will, on the other hand, respond to your adapting requirements. Alternatively, you could go down the self-storage route. If you’re running a small operation this is certainly a viable option. The key thing to remember is to plan ahead in order to never find yourself without storage space. A glitch like this can have a rapid detrimental effect on the profitability of your business.
Keeping track of your stock is paramount in ensuring you never fail to meet demand. An accurate inventory count is required to determine the quantities of supplies to be purchased. As with the above stages, planning is key. Many choose to utilise computerised systems for inventory counting. Bar coding means that records can be updated in real time, which is ideal for keeping track. There are alternative ways of inventory counting such as using a manual tag system. This requires workers to remove price tags at the point of purchase, and then use these to deduct from the inventory count.
With vehicles, drivers and scheduling to organise, it’s important to stay one step ahead of the game in getting your products from A to B. Firstly, you’ll need to decide whether to manage deliveries yourself, or to use a freight forwarder. This will depend, again, on the size of your business, and the point of origin of your product. If you’re dealing locally, outsourcing may not be necessary. However, if you’re running something on a bigger scale, you may want to consider integrating transportation with supply. Quality suppliers can offer solutions for not only manufacturing inventory, but for managing its distribution too. Just remember that the more organised your approach is, the more likely your products are to make it to their point of consumption without a glitch.
Supply Chain Logistics requires, above everything, forward planning and attention to detail. Listen to your customers and build relationships with people you can trust. Be prepared to constantly adapt your business to demand. And finally, make sure you’re constantly monitoring progress and striving for improvement and growth. If you’re growing, you’re succeeding, and that’s what counts.
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