What Does an Ineffective Supply Chain Management System Look Like?

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For many inventory-based businesses, supply chain management quickly grows inefficient and disjointed. You may find yourself struggling to effectively keep up with your inventory. Worse, you may discover that only a few members of your team know how to use the available tools, which can lead to serious problems if those individuals are not available. 

Is your supply chain management system ineffective? Look at these critical signs to get a better feel for whether your supply chain management solution is as effective and efficient as you think.

1. A Hodgepodge of Programs

You have one program for your inventory and another one for your ordering system. Unfortunately, they aren’t great at communicating with one another. You have different programs and platforms across your locations, especially if you’re dealing with both warehouses and physical locations. As a result, your employees may spend a lot of time copying information back and forth between the different programs. Ultimately, that can mean substantial confusion, ordering delays, and a lack of awareness of the big picture of your inventory management solution. 

An effective, efficient supply chain management solution, on the other hand, will use integrated platforms and software to streamline your overall inventory management, ordering, and more. You’ll be able to clearly view your inventory for all locations at the same time, giving you a better idea of exactly what you have on hand, where you may need to shift inventory, and what you might need to order.

2. Paper Spreadsheets 

Paper spreadsheets are an effective solution for small businesses that are just getting off the ground. However, as your business grows, those paper spreadsheets can quickly become clunky and difficult to manage. Worse, you may find it very difficult to reconcile any errors within that system, which means you may have a hard time keeping up with what inventory you actually have on hand. You may find yourself heading back to pick items for an order, only to discover that you don’t really have them available. 

As your business grows, it becomes much more practical, and indeed, in many cases, essential, to use software that can help keep up with your inventory and ordering for you. Not only can that software offer more accurate information about your current inventory and needs, but it can also help you manage your overall supply chain more efficiently. 

3. Siloed Knowledge

Do you have complicated, in-depth systems that most of your team have no idea how to use, and certainly no idea how to use effectively? Are there a couple of employees on your team take care of all your ordering practices because no one else knows how to use your software or how to reconcile it? If so, you could be in desperate need of a new supply chain management system. That siloed knowledge, or knowledge that only specific employees have, can prove devastating to your business when an employee must miss work for illness or an extended vacation. An effective supply chain management system, complete with the training employees need to use it on a regular basis, makes it easier for you to keep up with all the key details of your supply chain planning needs, no matter who is available. That way, if the employee who knows how to use the system must take unexpected time off or isn’t available on a specific day, you can keep your supply chain flowing smoothly.

4. Inability to Diversify

Does your supply chain management system lock you into using specific suppliers, or prevent you from using multiple sources for the goods you need the most? Are you struggling to diversify your supply chain, address problems that might prevent you from getting your goods on time, or ensure overall supply chain responsiveness? If so, your supply chain might be inefficient and fail to deliver the support you really need. You may need to choose a supply chain management solution that will provide you with the means to navigate supply chain challenges and keep up with any problems that may come your way. With an efficient supply chain management solution, you can easily diversify your orders or figure out which supplier has the best turnaround, costs, or other important factors.

5. Inadequate Seasonal Management

Your business may have specific seasons when demand grows higher than usual or, conversely, seasons when it becomes more difficult to get the goods you need in stock. For example, winter delays or hurricane season can impact shipping times. Supply chain shortages and glitches may make it increasingly difficult to keep up with overall demand. During some seasons, on the other hand, you may need to increase the inventory you have available to account for changes in customer demand.

Does your supply chain solution allow you to keep up with those changing needs? An effective, efficient supply chain solution will allow you to track seasonal changes in demand or shipping and how they may impact your business. It will offer predictions about natural increases in inventory needs or challenges that may impact your business, then offer potential solutions. It may even automate the ordering process so that you simply have to go ahead with the order. As a result, you will have deeper overall insights into what your business really needs at any given time and can respond more effectively to any challenges that may come your way. That overall responsiveness can help your business weather storms that may come your way and improve overall customer satisfaction.

Are You Looking for a More Effective Supply Chain Management Solution?

At Stock IQ, we understand the importance of efficiency as you manage your supply chain, keep up with ordering, and take care of any challenges you may face. We offer an efficient, effective supply chain management solution that can help you improve your overall supply chain effectiveness. Are you ready to experience the benefits of an effective supply chain? Contact us today to learn more about how we can help.

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