Supply chain is much more than getting products into customers’ hands. It’s about the whole “journey” a product makes from supplier to manufacturer to wholesaler to retailer to consumer, but also contains the actual entities that handle the product and any data that goes along with it. These are the order status information, payment schedules, ownership titles, and more.
As you might imagine or already know, an efficient supply chain helps a business save money. The right management can lead to shorter factory processing times, faster client deliveries, and a better inventory management. And for that, in the end, it is the supply chain that is responsible for the satisfaction or disappointment of the customers. So, let’s see three common supply chain mistakes that many businesses are guilty of and what you can do to be a bright exception.
Ignoring there is a supply chain
As unbelievable as this may seem, the most common supply chain mistake is to totally ignore there is one! Many business owners believe that supply chain management is only a game for the big players. That cannot be further from the truth. While a starting e-shop business, for example, can be just fine handling their orders with a simple e-commerce solution, once traffic starts picking up, it becomes vital to manage and monitor all product movements with a professional method.
Relying on spreadsheets
So you might acknowledge that there is a supply chain and try your best to monitor the processes. A great number of entrepreneurs in their effort to cut expenses they might think that using spreadsheets is a good idea. It’s not.
At start, using spreadsheets to track inventory may seem harmless. There are few orders or SKUs and it’s easier than setting up an inventory management system. The sneaky problem is that the longer you use it, the more you rely on it. After a while, your business would have grown but you will be still stuck with the same spreadsheet for inventory tracking that is totally obsolete. Looking back into previous orders will become harder and harder, tracking product returns or repairs will almost always cause problems and delays and reporting – the main purposes of keeping track of everything- will just too much of a hassle or simply inaccurate.
So, what do you need to do to prevent this? One of the best ways to improve your supply chain strategy is utilizing an ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) software. Today.
Using an ERP software that’s not for you
Choosing the right ERP system can be overwhelming. Today there are many solutions out there and you might find it too difficult to decide which one is best for you. Nevertheless, you need to do your homework or otherwise you will end up paying much more for a system tailored for businesses quite larger than yours. That is, a system with too many features you don’t need or use, but you pay for them anyway. So, make sure to select a supply chain management software that is tailored for your industry and company size.
If you are not sure what is best for your company size, cloud-based solutions might save the day. One of their greatest benefits is that you save up immensely on implementation and support costs, as you don’t keep the servers yourself. By using an online inventory management system, a business enjoys access to a team focused on the software and networking hardware side of the shop. This frees up internal staff to run day-to-day business operations and results in operational savings and efficiency. And at the same time, as you pay a subscription, if you are not satisfied with their service you can cancel at any time and move to the next solution that looks promising.
Supply chain management is not just for the big players, but for every company that aspires to deliver top-notch services. I hope that I helped to clear some common misunderstandings and motivated you enough to take action today.
Eirini Kafourou handles communications for Megaventory, the online inventory management system that can help small businesses synchronize stock and manage purchases and sales over multiple stores. You can connect with Megaventory on Twitter.