Your supply chain can be a source of lots of different positives for your business, as long as you are able to recognize and take full advantage of these opportunities for logistical success. Developing your ability to recognize these chances to improve your supply chain takes some time, but with the right approach it is very possible to find opportunities in your supply chain where you might not have expected to find them.
1. Opportunities in Foreign Countries
Foreign countries are areas that are not understood as well as domestic markets as it relates to supply chains. For example, businesses that are used to working in one country might not have a good understanding of the regulations in other countries regarding trade. This can be a positive or a negative, depending on your mindset. Many companies in the past have been able to capitalize on things like tax tariffs and trade fees in foreign countries, which in turn have lead to the discovery of new opportunities to lower operating costs and increase profits from the chain of supply.
If you have never before explored opportunities available for you in other countries, make sure that you stay abreast of happenings abroad that may provide a good opportunity for your business to enter into the industry. A change in regime, for example, might bring about new policies on international commerce that can help you find more success with your supply chain.
2. Improved Logistics Technology
Another area that some supply chain professionals have a tendency to neglect is the business equipment and technology that they use to handle their chain of supply. There are constant new developments in this field, which is why it is so critical to monitor the important areas that have an impact on your specific logistics needs.
For example: if your company has to handle issues relating to warehouse management, you might keep track of new software systems that are released to help companies improve the way that they handle their warehoused goods. These kinds of systems might help your employees do a better job at picking inventory to prepare for orders or organizing this inventory successfully in the warehouse. By spending a bit of money to upgrade your logistics systems, you can secure an exponential return in the long run.
3. Process Improvement
Every supply chain professional understands that buying new equipment or hiring new employees takes up a portion of the company’s resources. However, there is a way that you can improve your supply chain without investing additional business capital: by changing the process your logistics employees use for their chain of supply work.
A good example of this can be found in Toyota’s “kaizen” approach, a production philosophy that the company has been operating under for decades. With kaizen, a company focuses on continuously improving their operation and working as lean and efficiently as possible, by using as few resources as necessary to get the job done.
Kaizen is one example of a logistics system that works for many major companies, but you may find that a different system works better for your organization. Whichever kind of system works the best for the specific supply logistics that your company has to handle, you should implement it as soon as you can so that your supply chain can gain as much as possible from it.
Hidden opportunities in your supply chain can come from several different places. The one thing that all of these opportunities have in common is that they can be discovered by a logistics professional who is keen enough to be able to keep in mind all of the possibilities to expand their organization’s chain of supply.
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.