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.
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.
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.
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!