5 ways to improve your supply chain management
The demand for products will always be prevalent in society because when they run out, more of them are needed, which is why businesses are always on the lookout for better ways to manage their supply chains to increase their efficiency and to ensure the suppliers meet their demands. So, we take a look at 5 ways to improve your supply chain management.
1. Making your supply chain more agile
During the current pandemic ensuring that your business is agile and can adapt to uncertainty is highly important. In order to improve this, organisations can focus on prioritising; specifically their scalability and adaptability. This involves realigning operations and supply chains to prepare them for the unexpected. Ways in which to do this and increase supply chain agility is by rapid testing and adopting drones, blockchains, and the Internet of Things (IOT), all of which are tools and technologies that can build a future-proof supply chain system.
Other ways may include converting to electricity or implementing more carbon-neutral strategies in supply chain initiatives. Because of the current situation, businesses are having to create their supply chain management plans and vision clearly to ensure they can stay on track. Any investments must be made with the aim of supporting the infrastructure of supply chains, and luckily, the pandemic has provided the opportunity to rethink certain strategies and allow companies to progress towards more stable supply chain operations and stronger supply chain management.
Automation and the pace of technology have changed not only the way businesses operate but also nearly every aspect of daily life. From autonomous vehicles to robots in factories, it is one of the biggest advances of the human race yet.
It can also be used in helping to manage supply chain operations and make them more efficient. Companies can use automation such as robotics, artificial intelligence (AI), and automated sorters with “put and pick to light” that use Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) technology. They can also use drone deliveries to speed up their operations and maximise efficiency.
3. Value chain management
In order to optimise business operations and maximise revenues at the same time, organised value chain management is essential. In addition, value chain investment is required to further strengthen supply chain management, as well as creating deeper connections with service providers in the value chain, which will allow companies to become more proactive.
4. Standardisation and transparency
Standardising processes is vital in ensuring effective supply chain management. This can be achieved in several ways, such as through Enterprise Resource Planning, or the adoption of Warehouse Management Systems, Transportation Management Systems, and Ticketing Systems, all of which aim to increase scale, control, and visibility.
Furthermore, ownership can be driven through acquiring a data-driven approach for creating transparency and traceability. This will also lead to better objectives and key results as well as KPIs for managing performance. Doing this will increase a business’s supply chain management efficiency.
5. Dynamic inventory management
Inventory management is a problematic area for many businesses, particularly for smaller ones and startups. However, by making it more dynamic, they can increase their overall efficiency when it comes to managing supply chains. To reduce waste, smart and data-driven Sales and Operations Planning can be implemented. Businesses could also use a Just In Time process or Vendor Managed Inventory to further increase the efficiency of their operations and supply chain management.
Biden establishes Supply Chain Disruptions Task Force
The US government is to establish a new body with the express purpose of addressing imbalances and other supply chain concerns highlighted in a review of the sector, ordered by President Joe Biden shortly after his inauguration.
The Supply Chain Disruptions Task Force will “focus on areas where a mismatch between supply and demand has been evident,” the White House said. The division will be headed up by the Secretaries of Commerce, Transportation, and Agriculture, and will focus on housing construction, transportation, agriculture and food, and semiconductors - a drastic shortage of which has hit some of the US economy’s biggest industries in consumer technology and vehicle manufacturing.
“The Task Force will bring the full capacity of the federal government to address near-term supply/demand mismatches. It will convene stakeholders to diagnose problems and surface solutions - large and small, public or private - that could help alleviate bottlenecks and supply constraints,” the White House said.
In late February, President Biden ordered a 100 day review of the supply chain across the key areas of medicine, raw materials and agriculture, the findings of which were released this week. While the COVID-19 health crisis had a deleterious effect on the nation’s supply chain, the published assessment of findings says the root cause runs much deeper. The review concludes that “decades of underinvestment”, alongside public policy choices that favour quarterly results and short-term solutions, have left the system “fragile”.
In response, the administration aims to address four key issues head on, strengthening its position in health and medicine, sustainable and alternative energy, critical mineral mining and processing, and computer chips.
Support domestic production of critical medicines
- A syndicate of public and private entities will jointly work towards manufacturing and onshoring of essential medical suppliers, beginning with a list of 50-100 “critical drugs” defined by the Food and Drug Administration.
- The consortium will be led by the Department of Health and Human Services, which will commit an initial $60m towards the development of a “novel platform technologies to increase domestic manufacturing capacity for API”.
- The aim is to increase domestic production and reduce the reliance upon global supply chains, particularly with regards to medications in short supply.
Secure an end-to-end domestic supply chain for advanced batteries
- The Department of Energy will publish a ‘National Blueprint for Lithium Batteries’, beginning a 10 year plan to "develop a domestic lithium battery supply chain that combats the climate crisis by creating good-paying clean energy jobs across America”.
- The effort will leverage billions in funding “to finance key strategic areas of development and fill deficits in the domestic supply chain capacity”.
Invest in sustainable domestic and international production and processing of critical minerals
- An interdepartmental group will be established by the Department of Interior to identify sites where critical minerals can be produced and processed within US borders. It will collaborate with businesses, states, tribal nations and stockholders to “expand sustainable, responsible critical minerals production and processing in the United States”.
- The group will also identify where regulations may need to be updated to ensure new mining and processing “meets strong standards”.
Partner with industry, allies, and partners to address semiconductor shortages
- The Department of Commerce will increase its partnership with industry to support further investment in R&D and production of semiconductor chips. The White House says its aim will be to “facilitate information flow between semiconductor producers and suppliers and end-users”, improving transparency and data sharing.
- Enhanced relationships with foreign allies, including Japan and South Korea will also be strengthened with the express proposed of increasing chip output, promoting further investment in the sector and “to promote fair semiconductor chip allocations”.