Supply Chain Optimization in 2023

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After the supply chain challenges of the past several years, many businesses are looking for strategies that will allow them to optimize their supply chains, improve resiliency, and ensure that they are prepared for whatever the future may hold. Are you interested in building supply chain resilience and optimizing your supply chain for whatever lies ahead? Make sure you take these key elements into consideration. 

1. Evaluate Your Suppliers

Take a close look at your current suppliers. You may need to ask yourself several key questions about their overall performance and capability to get a better idea of what they are offering your company and how that may need to change. Ask:

  • Are your current suppliers delivering the high-quality products you expect for your company? 
  • Are there any current delays in getting your products to you? Do you have any issues with your current suppliers that you need to address?
  • What volume can your current suppliers handle? Can you scale up or down, if needed, to address your changing or growing needs as a business? 
  • Are there unnecessary delays or stock shortages that have prevented you from delivering the products your customers need?
  • Where are your suppliers located? Do you have the option for suppliers closer to you, who might be able to get goods to you faster or utilizing fewer resources, if needed?

Once you have evaluated what your current suppliers have to offer, you can better determine whether you may need to add other suppliers, change your current contracts, or shorten your supply chain. 

2. Check Your Technology

You need robust technology in place that will allow you to monitor and manage your supply chain as needed. That may include software that will allow you to take care of a number of key factors. 

  • Demand forecasting. In order to keep your supply chain moving smoothly, you need effective demand forecasting software that will allow you to predict your future needs, including how those needs will likely change in response to global events, sales, holidays, and more. 
  • Replenishment planning. Your supply chain management solutions need to include replenishment planning solutions that will allow you to keep up with the inventory your business needs on a regular basis. You do not want to run out of inventory or have delays between when customers need that inventory and when it runs out.
  • Inventory analytics. You need software that will help you keep track of your current inventory, manage trends in inventory, and even offer predictions about how inventory will perform in the future. 
  • Supplier performance analytics. If you don’t have software that tracks the performance of your suppliers, you may fail to realize that a supplier is under-performing–and you may miss indications that a supplier is performing better than you think. 

Your technology is one of the most important parts of optimizing your supply chain. With the right technology, you can better track the performance of your suppliers, keep up with your inventory needs, and maintain a higher level of transparency into your supply chain needs. 

3. Diversify Your Suppliers

Having a single supplier for any essential item means that when challenges arise, you can find yourself stuck. For example, suppose that you have a single supplier for a vital component in manufacturing several of your products. If something happens that delays those shipments on their way to you, from weather delays to a driver shortage, you may not be able to take care of any of your manufacturing needs.

On the other hand, if you have multiple suppliers, while you may have to allocate resources carefully, you can keep your business moving smoothly, which means you will be in a better position to keep your customers happy.

Supplier diversity is critical to ensuring smooth functioning and providing you with options when potential disasters hit. While you don’t want to spread your orders too thin, which could mean that you miss vital discounts, you do want to have enough suppliers to ensure that you have a steady stream of goods moving into your business. 

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4. Plan Ahead

If you want to optimize your supply chain, it’s essential that you plan to manage ordering. You need a concrete plan in place: not just one that covers your regular orders, but also one that can provide you with more information about your ongoing ordering needs. 

  • Holidays and promotions. What products will you be promoting? What sales will you be offering? Make sure your demand planning solution takes those elements into account so that you can be sure to have the right items on hand.
  • Product lifecycle. When you introduce a new product to the market, it may be extremely popular, with items flying off the shelves. Over time, however, popularity will decline. Orders may settle for a time. Eventually, customers will stop ordering those items altogether. By correctly predicting product lifecycle needs, you can often manage your supply chain more effectively.
  • Potential changes in consumer demand. Major economic events and challenges can cause immense shift in consumer demand. By planning for those changes, you can set your business up for success. 
  • Challenges you may face. Ideally, you will have a plan in place to address any supply chain issues, including delays or difficulty finding specific items. When you have those plans ahead of time, crises are less likely to shake your business when they do hit, and you can keep the supply chain moving more effectively. 

The planning process is critical to ensuring that your supply chain keeps moving steadily throughout the year, with no major problems that could prevent you from achieving your goals.

Improve Your Supply Chain Optimization

At StockIQ, we offer the technology solutions you need to help optimize your supply chain. We can help provide greater insights into supplier performance, help you carefully track the inventory you have on hand and the inventory you may need in the future, and provide essential information about your ordering trends and future needs. Contact us today to learn more.

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