In the fast-paced nature of modern society where 9am-5pm working days slip into 8am-7pm shifts, customers are becoming increasingly willing to pay more for same-day or generally faster delivery. So, to stay ahead of market competitors, it’s essential that supply chains are dedicating the time to innovate and optimise their efficiency strategies as their company grows and the climate continues to evolve.
That’s why, in this article, we’ll be discussing a number of ways that you can make your supply chain more efficient. From auditing and measuring your current supply chain to identify areas for improvement to achieve a more efficient distribution model, with these tips, we’ll help your company effectively build upon its current supply chain efficiency strategy.
Auditing and measuring the supply chain
A successful audit should establish the state of your current supply chain and offer constructive recommendations for improvement to make the overall process more agile. The objectives identified from this audit should offer sustainable solutions that lead to long-term improvements, increasing overall agility as a result.
An audit monitors the current performance of a supply chain - for example, measuring how accurate deliveries are or assessing the efficiency of operational processes within the distribution chain. From there, the audit report may identify issues in communication or establish areas where errors appear to be repeating.
Whether this is failing to accurately estimate the number of cardboard boxes required for shipping or inaccuracies in stock taking, errors which may initially seem minor can hold great responsibility in slowing down the supply chain process as a whole. After all, accuracy and efficiency are the most important factors in an agile supply chain process which delivers to meet and exceed customer expectations.
Achieving a more efficient distribution model
The information from your audit could point to improving specific areas of your current distribution model or may require you to adopt a new model altogether. Many organisations rely on the direct distribution model, which comprises of selling the product and delivering it yourself - used by successful companies ranging from Avon to Dell. However, there are many ways to alter traditional distribution to suit your company’s processes and requirements - consider doing some research on your market competitors alongside your audit report to conclude what’s right for you.
Partnering with third-party logistics providers is particularly advantageous for those who are trying to speed up delivery turnaround time. Often considered a seamless process, your business takes the orders and then hands the responsibility to a third-party logistics provider to fulfil them. Sendy, for instance, uses an online platform to give business on-demand access to transport. This leaves you with more time to focus on growing your business, all while lowering inventory storage space costs. If it’s a company goal to expand globally, this is particularly worth considering, as sharing documentation and international order responsibilities can make cross-border selling much easier - improving customer satisfaction and reducing shipping costs in the process.
Altering warehouse operations
It’s a basic requirement that the warehouse needs to be optimized to cope with the competent turnaround to efficiently achieve next-day or same-day delivery guarantees. If you’re having issues pinpointing exactly where the errors that prevent your processes from reaching maximum efficiency lie, then consider assessing your in-house training programs. All training procedures should be up to date with the latest industry trends and focus on productivity - ensuring that all warehouse operations are entirely achievable.
To negate spending more time on training and the possibility of human error entirely, consider automating your operations. Implementing automated components into your warehouse can increase efficiency dramatically, as seen by successful business giant Ocado, who recently adopted 1,100 cuboid swarm robots to carry out their day-to-day warehousing responsibilities. This is a great way to increase transparency and reduce unexplained financial losses, as automation intends to reduce the potential for human error, creating an all-round streamlined process.
Improving the efficiency of your supply chain requires collaboration and continuous innovation from all departments. Auditing is a great way to begin identifying the fundamental errors which prevent the possibility of same-day delivery becoming a reality. From there, it’s all about making your supply chain as transparent as possible, while increasing training opportunities and considering the use of smart technology.