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supply-chain-optimizationTo get the best start to the new year, successful supply chain companies need to focus on ways to optimize their supply chain process. As most companies know, coordinating all parts of the supply chain process is crucial for businesses to perform well. Optimizing the supply chain process can lead to decreased costs, reduced disruptions, and an improvement in customer satisfaction. Implementing new ideas and processes can not only lead to better results, but also help you cultivate a better reputation.

Here are three supply chain optimization hacks to integrate during the upcoming year.

1. Incorporate Reliable and Real-Time Communication

Advanced technology is a prime player in business operations, which means there are many opportunities to allow information to easily transfer to and from different parts of the supply chain process. Before, limited and delayed communication posed difficulties in decision-making for companies within a short period of time. Today, however, every part of the process can remain up to date, and all changes can be implemented in real time without disrupting the supply chain process for companies. This means avoiding careless mistakes, timing delays, and even missing information because of errors that could be prevented with technological advancements.

By incorporating methods and technology to keep all processes and parts on the same page, regardless of location or changes made, companies can streamline communication across all networks to avoid mishaps down the road.

2. Understand Customer Demand

Knowing customers best should be every organization’s priority. Customers may send companies forecasts and long-term orders for anticipated needs. However, supply chain businesses can understand their customers on a deeper level to improve their supply chain optimization.Forecasts and orders are only the tip of the iceberg when determining demand planning: By utilizing elements such as a customer’s history, market analysis, and competitive landscape, a business can determine their customer’s needs even better than the customer can.

If a business can understand a customer’s planning better than they can, that business can determine needs in advance, which simplifies demand later on in the process. Understanding a customer’s demand not only improves the supply chain process, but also strengthens the organization's relationship with the customer for the long term.

3. Measure Supply Chain Performance

One of the best ways to understand how supply chain management performs is by measuring and keeping tabs on the metrics of the process. Tracking these numbers and comparing them with previous performance will show companies areas that require improvement. After implementing new tactics to improve areas of the supply chain process, the metrics will reveal how the supply chain optimization is working — or not working — for the business.Businesses can measure several areas, especially certain metrics such as average time from order to delivery, current and average inventory at each warehouse, lead-time variability and SKU for the supplier to the warehouse. These can help companies understand how to make any necessary changes in order to implement supply chain optimization methods.

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About Michael Wilson

Michael Wilson is AFFLINK'S Vice President of Marketing and Communications. He has been with the organization since 2005 and provides strategic leadership for the entire supply chain team. In his free time, Michael enjoys working with the Wounded Warrior Project, fishing, and improving his cooking skills.

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