2016 is well underway and if there was ever a time to revitalise a stale supply chain, it’d be now.
All the different facets of supply chain such as; managing imports and exports, overseas operations, shipping policies, documentation, clearance, compliance, and all the regulations that are associated with these things are of course incredibly complex.
We have composed this blog to encourage companies to experiment with different techniques to ensure they run a flawless supply chain from start to finish.
Data, Data, Data
Collect as much information about your products as physically possible. Understanding every product is vital in order to classify every product correctly and quickly, which in turn drives import/export compliance. Work closely with managers and engineers to understand the components and functions of your items.
Understand Your Trading Partners
It is your responsibility to ensure that none of your trading partners and business associates appear on any ‘no-trade’ lists – most countries have lists of individuals, companies and governments that are ineligible to associate in any trading.
Control the Links
When you trade and ship around the world, you’re unable to participate in every link in the chain. Designate a team in-house to create company compliance practices. Detail every aspect, draw them out and communicate them to the appropriate parties. Of course it’s a huge job, but not inspecting even the smallest aspects can result in delays and extra costs.
Gather real-time operations intelligence on warehouse activities – this means warehouse processes, performance and fulfilment. To support continuous improvement in the warehouse, collect and study real-time data from order fulfilment and handling equipment. Deciding on what performance levels need to be hit can help facilitate changing customer needs and business wide goals. This can help filter out any unnecessary goals and targets.
It seems simple but you’d be surprised by how often this gets swept under the carpet and that’s when costly mistakes are made. Communicate down your chain of command and tell your workers what the company wide goals are and how you hope to achieve them. When managers fail their communitive duties, mistakes are made, productivity suffers and resources are wasted.
Many companies, particularly the more traditional ones, still operate manual, paper-driven operations on things like picking and shipping information. Manual methods are at a higher risk of error. Automation in data-collection extends its reach out onto the warehouse floor, using handsets that operate with bar code reading technology. These tools improve accuracy, and run things more smoothly.
Slow & Steady Wins the Race
A lot of companies set unrealistic time scales for their deliveries, which puts their drivers and carriers under pressure, which causes mistakes and ultimately costs more money. The more time you can allocate to each delivery, the more likely it will be that everything gets to where it should be in good time and with minimized risks.
Create a Claims Reporting System
All of your carriers should be provided with a detailed monthly claims report document to determine the number of claims filed per month. This way you’re able to measure the claims and assess how many claims are made and how you may be able to avoid them in the future.
Old Heads for Difficult Work
This comes back to communication once again. Too often temporary staff are assigned to difficult, lengthy tasks, which slows down the process and causes mistakes. Use your trusted, well trained staff for the difficult tasks, then you know the task will be completed properly and on time.
The supply chain is all about rolling with the punches. There is no use going into the Christmas period for example, with the same goals in mind. Redefine your boundaries; most companies will either ramp up production at seasonal times or rapidly slow down. Define where your production goes over this time and tweak accordingly.
At Bis we are always looking for new and innovative ways to improve our supply chain solutions. Installing and operating these solutions to their fruition and beyond is how we operate. Ensuring that our customers are able to see results in action and then able to take up the baton and operate them after we’ve completed our work is the only way we measure success.