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Your Internal and External Supply Chain

November 17, 2021

Let’s begin with defining a supply chain. A supply chain is a workflow between a company and its suppliers to produce and distribute a specific product to the final buyer. It’s a long definition, but we’re here to walk you through everything you should know.

Next, who are your suppliers? Suppliers are both internal like finance, IT, and operations and external like manufacturers and inbound and outbound logistics (how the supplies, goods, or services get to you and your customers). There are so many more pieces to the supply chain, but these are only a few.

In this article, we will talk about how important it is to look at the entire picture when you want to improve your supply chain workflow, and how process and technology stack mapping is a critical component in warehouse, manufacturing, and logistics.

One of our distinctions at CPC Change Agent from other operations organizations is we cover end-to-end, and that is deliberate. We understand the importance of connecting all the dots in your business operations and having a connected supply chain workflow.

Smarter, Faster, Cheaper…Better?

When we talk about supply chains, you may hear terms like upstream and downstream. That is referring to the supply chain flow from your raw materials to your customer and how that will change with supply and demand.

There are a lot of supply chain variations, depending on your business and industry. Creating a connected supply chain and understanding the interdependencies helps your business run most efficiently and effectively. There are many preventative measures we can address in supply chain issues to ensure you are set up from a continuity perspective as well as a plan of action if an accidental disaster occurs. Staying on top of your supply chain, looking at costs to produce, identifying the cost of inbound and outbound logistics, setting up your warehouse, and managing personnel is a constant effort.

Stacked Technology

I can’t stress this point enough; looking at the entire picture of your business is the only way to ensure all the different pieces make sense when they come together. Integrating your technology, using design thinking for your user experience, and allowing shared data across platforms and lines of business will allow your team to make accurate operational decisions in real-time as well as be able to adjust the strategy to meet the company’s goals. Without the right supporting technology, this can make things incredibly difficult for your team.

Domino effect

Once you adjust one thing within your supply chain, everything else can be affected. We discussed the importance of having technology that’s not only appropriate for your business but gives real-time data that’s visible to leadership. Now we’re going to explain what that means, and the domino effect it has.

When clients tell us there are gaps in their supply chain, we must look at everything in depth, especially technology. Decision-making in logistics can be cost-driven in many cases. Business leaders are always looking to cut costs at the moment because tomorrow’s prices can be driven up by circumstances out of our control. It becomes the constant task of running simulations to get the best possible outcome. For example, if a leader decides to change the delivery date of this purchase order, they need to figure out is the impacts it can have on their ability to meet customer demand, or if they order less product, will that drive the cost of the product per unit and import logistics up but the demand has dropped? Whatever you decide, it will affect other aspects of your supply chain – good and bad.

Maps, Maps, Maps

I tell leaders all the time if you have tried to fix an issue by throwing money, technology, and personnel at it, but you still have the problem, map it! If they’re drawn right, they provide you with insight into your entire business. The distinction between us and others is our maps. We spend an enormous amount of time finding the root causes of your business issues. We analyze your entire network to identify bottlenecks, fragility, and opportunities for optimization. That applies to your technology, processes, people, and customer experience. When we talk through our findings, you can feel assured that the issues are identified and will be resolved.

Lead time

We know that warehousing wherever you are in this equation is all about the lead time, the time between the initiation and completion of a production process. The faster you can turn that around, the more money you will make, the more customers you can sell to, and the faster you turn over the product. Employee effectiveness begins with you setting up a warehouse properly and adjusting the product placement by SKU velocity. We must also consider the wear and tear it has on our people. In some cases, our warehouse upgrades have included reorganizing the setup and installing RaaS or Robots-as-a-Service. Yes, they are cool. Yes, your business must be set up properly, but you also must have the right technology for it. Work with professionals to configure all your processes and systems, but that’s for another article.

In closing, if you are in the manufacturing and logistics space and you know you have operational gaps or are feeling frustrated with the way the business workflows are hindering growth, we’re here to help. Book a consultation with one of our experts today.