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What Makes a Supply Chain Successful?

What Makes a Supply Chain Successful?

Any business owner has wondered, at some point, what makes a supply chain successful. Supply chains worldwide and across industries have been forever changed since 2020. Businesses across the board have had to make adjustments and significant changes to their operations. The supply chain depends on so many aspects that it’s easy to understand how things could have fallen so out of step. So, what makes a supply chain successful? Well, there’s no single answer. Because the supply chain depends on so many different things, several elements go into a successful supply chain. So let’s look at some fundamental aspects of a successful supply chain and see how yours stacks up.

Foresight and Transparency

First and foremost, we have foresight. Foresight doesn’t mean predicting the exact future in this case. It is important to keep an eye on your dealings and what’s happening with the rest of the world. If you’re in the cosmetics business and hear about a shortage in something like silica—a key ingredient in things like lipstick and lip balm—you would find a way to prepare. This also goes for simpler things like employee culture and market trends. The better you understand the aspects of your industry, the better your business will be. Shortages, outages, and other unforeseeable circumstances can throw a wrench in any supply chain, but looking ahead can help lessen the blow.

The best way to promote foresight is transparency throughout your supply chain. No one wants to admit their faults, but in multi-tier businesses, you absolutely must. If part of your business depends on someone else, transparency is the only way for things to go smoothly. Promote transparency throughout your partnerships and within your own business, and you’ll have better foresight. Understanding where you are in your supply chain process is key to success. Getting people exact figures and facts at every turn is a huge part of how supply chains thrive.

Collaborators

A supply chain, by definition, includes more than one business or entity. No supply chain is a one-stop shop. Building off of the need for foresight and transparency comes the need for reliable collaborators. It should go without saying that you should only do business with those you trust, but it doesn’t always happen that way. Sometimes the draw of cheaper pricing and practicality gets in the way. When it comes to who you trust to let into your supply chain, it should come down to more than just price.

Efficient collaboration can be the difference between things running smoothly and grinding to a halt. It’s important to know which part of your supply chain – a.k.a. which of your collaborators – works best and which ‘wheels can be greased.’ How your supply chain works depends on how every piece works together. Collaboration is the only way the supply chain works. A healthy relationship between your direct business and those surrounding yours will impact every next step. As the phrase goes, you’re only as strong as your weakest link, and it especially applies to businesses dealing with the supply chain. Understand where your weaknesses lie and take action to optimize your supply chain fully.

Technology

Adding technology to your daily operations and supply chain can be a game changer. To have a successful supply chain, you must have some technology. That can include packaging, office communications, accountability checklists, and more. Getting by without technology in your corner is more than a struggle. It’s just about impossible.

Regarding the supply chain, technology creates a more streamlined process. Technology can help make that transparency, accountability, and communication outlined earlier. Technology can have so many advantages, no matter what your business is. Regarding the supply chain, keeping things moving as smoothly as possible is the ultimate goal, and technology can help you do that.

There are many specific issues the right technology can do away with in your supply chain. If you have problems with reliable quality assessment and control, there’s a program for that. If communication between departments and collaborators is a weakness, there are endless solutions with some technical help. Keep better track of shipments and pending orders from one tablet or smart device. Creating a successful supply chain doesn’t depend on technology, but it sure can benefit from it.

Balance

Even with all of the perks of technology, finding a balance between the workforce and automated systems is important. Balance is maybe the most critical factor in a successful supply chain. You can have all of the best technology out there, but your supply chain and business could struggle if your collaborators and workforce aren’t up to the challenge, your supply chain and business could struggle. Putting too much emphasis or depending too much on one link in the chain could be a breaking point. Bringing all of these aspects of a successful supply chain together and deciding what works best will vary from company to company, but they’re essential things you must sort out.

A successful supply chain looks a lot different than it did a decade or even just a few years ago. There’s no exact formula for a successful supply chain, but there are things you need to ask yourself at every step. Are my communication expectations being met? Is the quality of my product benefitting or suffering from the systems I have in place? Are there adjustments I can make? Is my supply chain causing me more problems than it’s worth, and how can I fix that? Questioning your supply chain will only help you understand and strengthen it.

What makes a successful supply chain comes down to how you work and who you trust. You need a collaborator who is dedicated to your projects, communicates openly and honestly, and has technology that will work for you. IFS is the perfect blend of all of those things. If you are looking for a company that will help you control costs and mitigate risks, IFS is the key to your successful supply chain. IFS uses industry-leading technology to offer its clients up-to-the-minute transparency and updates. You’ll never have to wonder about progress because IFS puts it all out there. IFS puts your needs, your business, and your supply chain first.

If you’re still asking yourself, what makes a successful supply chain, you need to get in touch with IFS today.


About IFS as a 3PL
Impact Fulfillment Services (IFS) is a full-service 3PL and Contract Packaging partner offering customized Omni-channel solutions for established and emerging brands. Our Concept to Checkout focus helps grow your business by increasing speed and flexibility while minimizing risks to your supply chain.

To learn more about our 3PL services, speak to a specialist!

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What Do Warehouse and Fulfillment Services Do?

What Do Warehouse and Fulfillment Services Do?

Fulfillment services and warehousing so often go hand in hand. Both tend to fall under the blanket term for third-party logistics providers—3PL for short—which is essentially outsourcing specific services. While warehousing and fulfillment services are usually lumped together they are completely separate and stand-alone operations. Some providers, like IFS, are a one-stop shop for these services, while others are more of a cherry-picking deal. But not all 3PLs do the same thing, and certainly don’t cost the same.

For some companies, fulfillment services and warehousing are a necessary evil, but finding the right provider can be an absolute game-changer. To understand what you need from your warehouse and fulfillment service provider, first, you have to understand what each accomplishes.

Fulfillment Services

Fulfillment services are the heavy lifter of the two arms of this operation. Fulfillment services can include bulk product creation, primary and secondary packaging, as well as actual distribution of goods. The bigger your business gets the more unwieldy order fulfillment can get. It’s easy for fulfillment to get out of hand, things to get backed up, and quality to suffer if you’re attempting to go it alone. Trusting order fulfillment to professionals has the potential to pay for itself over time.

Along with creating, fulfillment services also take care of the packaging of your product. To state the obvious, the packaging is what keeps your products safe. Things like blister packaging, heat sealing, and boxing are what go into primary packaging. The safety elements of fulfillment services are rarely given a second thought by the consumer but are vital to distributors. While you may have a good system in place on your own, a facility specifically designed for fulfillment will simply be able to do more.

Despite the old adage, everyone judges books by their covers, which is why packaging is so important. We’ve gone over the importance of primary packaging, but secondary packaging is part of the most important part of a business—sales. Secondary packaging is the branded portion of fulfillment services. Boxes and wraps with your name and logo on them, extra coupons on store shelves, and the like are what secondary packaging is all about. This aspect of fulfillment services is what will draw consumers to your products and get you remembered for their future purchases.

Once your product is packaged, it needs somewhere to go. Fulfillment services, like Impact Fulfillment Services, also offer assistance in distribution. No more shuttling your own product from the kitchen to the distributor. Bringing on a fulfillment service will get your products in the best shape possible and get them to where it needs to go.

Warehousing

All of the great things that come with fulfillment services would mean little if there’s no place to keep everything. For the most part, 3PLs deal in bulk packaging, rather than smaller orders. Bigger orders mean the need for more space. Finding space for your product is a problem that can be easily sorted out by bringing on a warehousing service.

With a good warehouse in the picture, you will be able to keep more of your product ready for distribution. Having more products at the ready will cut down on the time it takes to restock, so customers will never be left wanting. Being able to mass-produce your product is great, but you want to make sure it’s being kept safe as well. Warehouses like those built by Impact Fulfillment Services are climate-controlled and the perfect place to keep your products safe and ready.

Warehousing seems a simple enough venture, but these facilities are anything but. The tech behind warehouses lends to safety as well as inventory. Keeping track of all of the units you have on the shelves will never be easier than it is with a warehouse.

Fulfillment services and warehouses can exist separately from one another but work best as a package. An all-inclusive 3PL experience is the easiest way to handle all of your fulfillment, distribution, and storage needs. Impact Fulfillment Services offers everything under one roof. Warehousing and fulfillment services can rack up quite the cost. But IFS offers competitive rates for the services. Top of the line across the board, IFS has streamlined every process and put in place check systems to keep your product perfect. If your business is ready to take the next, and one of the biggest, look to IFS to give you the best offer around.

 

To learn more about our co-packing services, speak to a specialist!

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Why Transparency is Important in Warehousing

Why Transparency is Important in Warehousing

There are several attributes that are greatly desirable in the warehousing world, and the top of the list is transparency. Transparency, especially in co-packing and warehousing, is fundamental for good business practices. If a company is outsourcing the packaging and distribution of its product to an entirely different entity, there is a natural amount of hesitation involved. The only way to alleviate these nerves is to be upfront at every turn.

IFS takes special care to make sure its warehousing practices are as transparent as possible. Being known as a trustworthy and transparent company is worth its weight in gold to any brand. The success and reputation of a brand are directly linked. Having return customers and good word of mouth is a reliable path to success. The importance of transparency cannot be undersold, particularly in warehousing.

Communication

The first step to true transparency, in business and in life, is communication. Effective communication includes quick and concise responses and well-informed responses. Having a role, like a client solutions analyst for IFS, on the floor helps with troubleshooting the onboarding process for each client. A client solution analyst will set up project trackers, including milestones and any foreseeable issues, and create a link between client and company. Having this kind of liaison in place is the easiest way to promote clear communication and transparency. Not only does this kind of communication help keep the client abreast, but it can also help to reveal shortcomings on the operational side, like reducing redundancies.

Communication creates a good relationship between customers and businesses. Secret keeping and covering tracks never works in the long term, and always comes back in the end. Honesty in how companies and clients communicate will create better business relationships. Being a warehousing company with a reputation for open channels of communication is a good spot to be in. This element of transparency might seem simple enough, but proper communication does require dedication and commitment. Promoting communication at every level of business, internal and between analyst and client, will not only improve a business’s reputation but their day-to-day productivity as well.

Modeling

Modeling is a price structuring tool that is the pinnacle of transparency in business. When setting up a model all variables are taken into account. For warehousing and co-packing these price variables include things like whether the order is palletized, or needs to be palletized, the count of the entire order, what exactly needs to be picked, and the like. Additionally, on the warehousing side, things like inbound and outbound handling and storage of completed orders must be taken into account. All of these costs are compiled into a model and the proper rate is tabulated and presented to the client. Even if these prices are a simple estimate and subject to change, customers know where they stand.

Pricing and money are huge components and outsourcing in general, everyone wants to know what they’re paying for. Modeling allows for that level of transparency. There are no questions and no surprises when a model is in use because everything is taken into account and presented in black and white. Warehousing and co-packing can come with all kinds of hidden costs, the best way to get ahead of that stigma and be completely transparent is through modeling.

Warehouse Reporting

Short of actually being on the floor, reporting is the best way for clients to keep tabs on their orders. For IFS, dashboard reporting is tracking essentially everything that happens in the warehouse and beyond. Inputs and outputs, orders received and shipped, orders picked, and any discrepancies that pop up along the way are all tracked and reported on.

Customers have access to their data through a personalized dashboard that gives them the data they need to make decisions without having to be directly connected to the operation. Customers can track their orders either on the granular level or as an overall order, depending on their preference. To simplify, companies can track each and every step their order takes, from who has their hands on what and movement throughout the entire process, or just the big milestones. These analytics are compiled into user-friendly tracking dashboards that can be accessed by both client and company. At IFS, all of this information is updated in real-time to be as transparent as possible. IFS also reports on any potential delays from the jump, so there are no surprises or misunderstandings.

Having access to all of this will help clients prepare on their end. If they know a shipment is due soon, or that a delay is expected, they will prep their sales teams or make any necessary adjustments. Reporting on every aspect of the process is true transparency, and more than that promotes accountability. Giving clients access to everything that happens in the warehouse can seem risky, but withholding information or making false promises will always fail.

A transparent approach in a warehouse setting makes for happier and more at ease clients. Partnering with a co-packer or warehouse can sometimes be a risk, but being a company that doesn’t shy away from communication will always help your brand. Transparency not only helps create better company/client relationships but also has the potential to provide information that can improve internal functions.

Transparency in warehousing is the best way to create a stellar relationship, understand your own business better, and keep a machine well-oiled.

To learn more about our warehousing services, speak to a specialist!

#impactfs #supplychain #copacking #impactyourbrand