You don’t need us to tell you how complicated supply chain management can be sometimes. There’s a lot of moving parts, and the constantly changing requirements and business needs can be a headache to come up with.
No matter what industry you work in or how your business handles product, there’s always a few common supply chain mistakes and issues that every business can encounter. Here’s what to look out for, and how to prevent, avoid, or minimize them:
Lack of visibility. For businesses of a certain size or for any warehouse that deals in product from a lot of suppliers, a common issue is a lack of understanding as to where the products are coming from. Most supply chain managers acknowledge that visibility and knowledge of what distributors are responsible for what part is a huge problem, and this can cause a lot of confusion along the entire supply chain.
One of the easiest ways to get around this issue is to prioritize your incoming inventory by financial impact and trace it back to the previous few shipments to get a better idea of what products are coming from what source. This prioritization will also help you better deal with any big disruption in your supply chain and help you better identify the financial impact of any given product.
Short-sighted risk management. There’s a lot of risks that come with the use of supply chains, many of which can multiply depending on how big your supply chain is. A lot of common ones include delivery delays, sudden increases in product demand, supply shortages, and more. Looking into risk management strategies – alternate suppliers, access to backstock, and so on – can really help mitigate a lot of smaller issues before they develop into larger issues.
Poor material handling practices. Even if your materials are all being delivered correctly, a lot of supply chain managers tend to overlook the need for material handling once the products are delivered. It can do a lot to streamline your warehouse operations and shipping/receiving practices by implementing strict material handling procedures and making sure there’s enough warehouse storage, wire shelving, and pallet racks to handle all of your incoming products can save a lot of time and energy for your workers to stay productive.
Trying to grow too fast, too quickly. It’s never a bad thing for business owners to have ambitions, and that applies to warehouse managers the same as it applies to everyone else. However, particularly in matters of retail or industrial storage, too much growth can bring a lot more problems than it does benefits. Focus more on perfecting your processes and carving out good business relationships so that when the time comes for growth you can work to grow only as much as you can afford to.
Too much guesswork. This one is a fine line to walk, but guesswork and estimations can be hugely detrimental to supply chain management. It might be a pain, but keeping accurate records of inventory levels, incoming shipment, and available warehouse space will solve a lot of potential supply chain issues before they can start. Set up automatic reorder levels and real-time inventory tracking, and keep a constant eye on these levels to get out ahead of any supply chain problems before they can even start.