Supply Chain Management 101

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There was a time when a typical business supply chain involved phone orders directly to a major company fulfillment center who would then take the order and fill it.

“Allow four to six weeks for delivery” was the standard. In some cases even longer! Now that we live in a true “microwave society” where everything has to happen at the click of a computer mouse, the supply chain for any business needs to be fast, efficient and reliable.

A successful business in operation today needs to have a strong internet presence. Part of that success is dependent upon the supply chain operating without a concern to the customer.

That means the ability to ship orders overnight if needed or at least within three days. However, fulfilling orders in the supply chain is really just half the battle.

A big component with internet orders in your supply chain is being able to maintain and expand on your customer base by providing them with instant access to your catalog descriptions.

You’ll also want to have the programming to store their pertinent information such as billing addresses and payments. This easier you can make their shopping experience, the more often they will return for additional purchases. That’s why your proficient supply chain needs to have a strong and easily managed database program.

A well-oiled supply chain also requires finding affordable manufacturing for whatever products that are part of your business. Today that might mean having items that are considered “eco-friendly.” This could mean packaging materials that are recycled or even having energy efficient fulfillment facilities. This will allow you to declare your supply chain is “green” which can hold a lot of appeal for your customer base.

At its purest level, a properly working supply chain is like a classic row of stacked dominoes that with one tip fall in order. Remove one domino and the chain will collapse. How can you insure that your supply chain is working as it should? Don’t leave anything to chance. Cutting corners in one area such as fulfillment might cause problems at the other end with returned items. This means you should be on the look out to hire experienced managers and staff to insure your supply chain can live up to its potential.

If you are considering going to an outside source for all your supply chain needs don’t hesitate to shop around, check out referrals and make sure all your questions find a satisfying answer. When it’s your company’s supply chain you don’t want to leave anything to chance.

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