August 4, 2016

After we recently looked at the efforts of big box retailers to whip their suppliers into shape and streamline inventory flow, it’s natural that we return to cover the topic of chargebacks.

The term is used to describe the infamous financial penalties that are levied across many different business types, which are especially prominent in the supply chain. Continue reading Unpacking: Supply Chain Chargebacks

July 14, 2016

If you’re up to speed with the latest supply chain headlines, you’ll know by now that storage costs are on the rise.

As a proportion of operating expenses, holding inventory is a significant contributor. Retailers are especially vulnerable to excessive storage costs, which makes it all the more difficult to see the price rising after many years of relative stability.

There’s never a bad time to explore ways to save money and improve efficiency, which is exactly what we’ll do today in terms of reducing inventory holding costs. Continue reading Inventory Holding Costs (and How to Handle Them)

May 18, 2016

The Great Recession is well behind us, but keeping costs in check remains a focus for business owners and managers in many sectors.

With increasing competition from online sources and international rivals, not to mention the rise of a more demanding generation of consumers, retailers of all sizes are finding that cost management is more crucial than ever.

Although it’s clear that costs must be kept in check, separating unnecessary expenses from unavoidable ones is more tricky. Understanding fluctuating costs in the modern supply chain helps managers to see the forest for the trees, finding areas. Continue reading Stand Up to Cost Challenges in Today’s Supply Chain

March 20, 2015

Although the East coast weather refuses to admit it, we’ve finally reached the lively season of spring. After a series of challenging snow storms and the disruption they brought to delivery schedules, the first day of spring is something to celebrate.

As you try to remember what a warm day looks like and get back to all of those outdoor tasks that you’ve been putting off for months, why not take time to give your business supply chain a spring clean as well?

It’s the ideal time to take stock of what’s gone well during a busy winter and, more importantly, where you think things can be improved. Continue reading 7 Ways to Spring Clean Your Supply Chain

October 14, 2014

Marketing and physical operations may seem worlds apart in terms of function, but when it comes to end objectives they’re more closely aligned than you might think.

A strong brand is fueled by effective marketing and advertising, but it is built on the reality of how well a company works and the service it delivers. The logistics process is an integral part of delivering that high level service, which makes developing a strong, efficient supply chain a central pillar of brand reputation.

When it comes down to it, supply chain development is not something that any brand can ignore without causing cracks to appear further down the line.

Efficient Stocking, Effective Delivery

Business is built on trust. For any brand with a major stake in delivering products and providing a service that feels seamless to customers, bringing more than just operational minds into the supply chain planning process is an ambitious but potentially lucrative way to earn that trust. This happens by driving efficiency and playing to your brand strengths.

A supply chain understood and developed, in part, by those outside the daily processes that run it, will help distinct functional activities to become more deeply integrated. When buyers, marketers and sales teams see the complexity of what goes on behind the scenes to get their product to a customer, or how many moving parts a service takes to deliver effectively, they’re more likely to make realistic decisions.

In addition to fostering greater understanding, a closely knit supply chain allows a business to manage inventory more efficiently.

Real-time data can be shared across business functions to create more effective reporting. Where real-time data is available it can be processed more quickly and used to inform order priorities, as well as flag wasteful activities in the system. If something seems to be taking too long on a regular basis, or is impacting one of the business functions further down the line, it will be hunted down and remedied much more quickly if multiple stakeholders are involved in the process.


Better Branding Through Supply Chain Development

package assembly lineBuilding brand reputation through supply chain integration starts with bringing more stakeholders into the existing process, but to take this to the next level requires a commitment to actually develop and improve upon activities across the supply chain.

This means regular reviews and a desire to adapt not only departmentally, but organizationally.

Consider some of the following questions as you aim to expand your supply chain development from integration to improvement:

  • Do you have monthly or quarterly reviews in place with representatives of every department impacted by supply chain activities? Fresh eyes often make the most vibrant development suggestions for the supply chain.
  • What supply chain capabilities are being stretched? Are there any not being used to their fullest? What changes could be made to reduce the burden or get more from these respective areas?
  • Where does your service fall down most frequently and who can be brought in to diagnose any challenges?
  • What are your organization’s overarching strategic goals? Where does the supply chain contribute most to making them happen?

By aligning the core value proposition of your brand with the supply chain activities that enable its delivery, it’s possible to drive both efficiency and customer satisfaction improvements throughout your organization. The key is to convince stakeholders at every level that the exercise is not only worthwhile, but that their roles and the service they deliver will become that much easier when an integrated, flexible supply chain is in action.