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supply chain management mistakes

Good supply chain management is integral to the success of any business. A properly functioning supply chain can be the difference between failure and growth for all sorts of organizations. For supply chain managers and professionals who are looking to be successful in their field, it is important to avoid these four supply chain mistakes:

1. Not Having a Contingency Plan

There will always be something that does not go exactly according to plan in your company’s supply chain. The difference between successful and unsuccessful supply chain departments can be found in how they handle unexpected risks. You must be sure that your organization has a contingency plan in place for things like inclement weather, theft at one of your facilities, or unexpected actions on the part of your supply partners. Also be sure that every pertinent member of the department understands these policies and how they are to be executed: if necessary, you can hold drills or exercises that allow employees to act out their roles if an emergency situation were to occur at one of your facilities.

2. Maintaining the Same Supply Chain Technology

In the field of supply chain management, there are frequent updates to technology such as computer management systems, performance dashboards, and equipment used by supply chain professionals. If you fail to upgrade your supply chain technology often enough, you will be preventing your supply chain and logistics divisions from reaching their full potential. For this reason, it is important to stay abreast of new developments in the industry and upgrade your technology when it is logical to, based on how long it has been since your last upgrade and what the company’s budget has available for supply chain hardware.

3. Focusing Only on the Internal Supply Chain

There is nothing inherently wrong with spending time thinking about the internal aspect of your supply chain. The problem for some supply chain managers is that they fail to look outside of their own organization to observe and learn from what others in the industry are doing. This isolates them from trends and performance benchmarks in the field, which can make it difficult to tell how a company is performing. Astute supply chain management professionals will pay attention to both their internal numbers and the performance of others in their field. This is often done by keeping up with industry publications and other sources of media that report on developments in the industry as well as innovative ideas executed by pioneers in the supply chain field.

4. Ignoring the Input of Employees

There are many organizations that have supply chain policies controlled by a small group of executives. These executives are supported by managers, who are responsible for helping company leadership understand the direction of the company’s supply chain.

A mistake that some supply chain management professionals make is ignoring the input of their employees, choosing instead to focus on letting management dictate the supply chain policy. All types of supply chain employees provide valuable input about the different elements of the supply chain that they are involved in, from administrative workers who receive and input orders to warehouse workers who are responsible for finding and packaging inventory properly. Ignoring this input can lead to policy that is not as effective as it should be for supply chain management.

Supply chain professionals, managers, and others who are involved in setting supply chain policies within an organization should be sure to avoid these and other mistakes so that they can ensure that their supply chain helps the company instead of hurting it. Avoiding supply chain mistakes will help your organization make significant progress on path to attaining supply chain success.

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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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