10 Feb Tips for Maintaining Supply Chain Stability
On the surface level, supply chain management is a simple concept; it is the process of how raw material becomes a finished product and is moved to the end-user through a network of people and businesses. Ask any supply chain manager about this, and it will quickly be seen how complex this process can be. Accuracy and accountability are two things that will never go out of style, and when the supply chain is stable, it produces predictable results, ensuring that satisfaction is delivered to clients.
Keep it Stable
Having a plan to guide you is the key to success. A stable supply chain strategy works best when the chains are focused on execution, efficiencies and cost performance. Reviewing these factors often is just the start of maintaining the supply chain.
Ultimately the most important factor in maintaining a stable supply chain is identifying risks to your business. It is crucial to understand the when, where, why and how of risks that are expected to happen in your business and identify if the risks are internal or external. For smaller risks, consider the worst-case scenario and make judgments based on that.
Factors that Affect Stability
When a supply chain becomes unstable, in almost every situation, there are signs present that point to trouble. If these common pitfalls are seen and correctly diagnosed, they can be prevented with corrective action to minimize the outcome or avoid it completely. These common pitfalls include:
- Having excess or insufficient material
- No backup plan
- Failing to have transparency
- Poor documentation
- Managing too many partners
- Only focusing on big clients
Having a plan is important, but having excellent communication with your team and suppliers and being accountable, helping to track down the problem to the specific cause or process, are ingredients for success. It serves as a good reminder to not focus on only the big clients, because even the smallest supplier can cause the entire process to come to a halt.
Warning Signs to Watch
When reviewing your current suppliers, some risks should be considered potential warning signs to watch for. Those risks to be considered include:
- Physical plant
Potential business risks can be caused by factors such as a supplier’s financial or management stability, or purchase and sale of supplier companies. Related risks that can affect your business include environmental risks and potential plant risks caused by the condition of a supplier’s facility and regulatory compliance. Again, a well thought out plan serves as the foundation for the success of the supply chain. With adequate assessment and planning, contingencies are put in place to protect interruptions in internal operations or to the flow of products, creating potential supply risks or manufacturing risks. Having a plan also protects against possible demand risks that can be affected by unpredictable circumstances.
When to Review & Tips to Improve
After being reminded about what to look for and common pitfalls, how often should a company review its supply chain? The answer to this is up to the supply chain manager. Some evaluate the sales and supplier trends on a day-by-day basis, but most will review monthly. When reviewing, some important elements to consider are customer service, cost control and relationships amongst suppliers and partners.
There are other techniques to improve the supply chain than just having the right suppliers. One way to do this through an internal look at your supply chain and reviewing these factors:
- Preemptively maintain inventory levels
- Real-time inventory management
- Improve distribution network
- Increase transparency
- Gain data insight
- Monitor supplier performance
- Raise cost awareness
How PolySource is Different
With our ISO certification, we are required to use a supplier scorecard to review performance measurements, this is done to ensure supply-chain stability and is a required process to keep our certification. At PolySource, we work to provide the materials you need, when you need it, by offering warehousing where you need it. We stock material to save you both time and money. Our inventory features a range of resins, blends and compounds and includes imported materials that can cause lead-time decreases due to the typical six to eight week shipping times. By using our real-time inventory management system, when a material hits a specific limit, it is automatically resupplied to ensure availability and timely delivery.
Contact PolySource to see what we can do for you.