Just how important is your supply chain to your organization? In one word, very. According to one recent study, 79% of companies that use high performing supply chains are able to achieve a level of revenue growth that is actually faster than the average within their respective industries. Only 8% of organizations WITHOUT capable supply chains (or without supply chains entirely) are able to achieve an above average level of growth.
But if you think that your business is too small for a supply chain or supply chain management, guess what - you couldn't be more wrong. In fact, supply chains offer a number of clear advantages to small organizations in particular that are absolutely worth exploring.
Even the Smallest Businesses Can Benefit From a Supply Chain
In a lot of ways, your supply chain is the key to both your current and future success - regardless of the size of the organization you're running. Experts agree that this is one of the keys to remaining competitive, as small businesses in particular need to A) offer superior quality goods to their customers, at B) the lowest prices possible. Therefore, minimizing product costs is always a top priority - which makes a stable supply chain a vital part of the conversation.
In fact, embracing a supply chain can help meet this need in a number of ways, including:
- By reducing costs. Effective supply chain management helps you identify certain processes, policies, and procedures that increase the cost of your products without actually adding anything of value, thus giving you an opportunity to outright eliminate them.
- By increasing efficiency. Companies that rely on the principles of supply chain management often benefit from superior planning capabilities, which also generates opportunities to reduce or eliminate resource waste.
- By increasing profits. Once costs have been reduced and waste has been eliminated as much as possible as outlined above, organizations are not only in a better, more competitive position - they're also in one where these cost savings are reflected by significantly increased profits as a result.
Creating the Perfect, Scaled Supply Chain
But at the same time, simply having a supply chain is not enough to guarantee success - you need the right supply chain that is perfectly scaled for your business to truly meet your needs and accomplish your goals. Luckily, this has become easier in the last few years in particular.
Your business is already creating, collecting, and storing a massive amount of data about your customers, your business, and your industry. These days, it is absolutely possible to use this data to your advantage to create the intelligent supply chain you need when you need it the most. By combining an IoT (Internet of Things) powered infrastructure with analytical processing and machine learning, you build a supply chain that doesn't just function the way you need - it also helps you reform business intelligence processes, address current needs and better plan for future ones, too.
Your supply chain needs to be able to continue to grow and evolve as your business does the same. To do this, you need to be able to digitize manual processes wherever possible and digitize physical assets wherever you can. That means transitioning to things like an electronic inventory if you haven't already done so and relying on a constant stream of high quality, real-time data to guide your actions as much as possible.
But the most important thing to keep in mind about all of this is that creating and utilizing a supply chain is not a "one size fits all" proposition. Once you come to terms with just how important a supply chain is for your organization, you need to throw out all the "rules" and come up not with the best system in a broad sense but the best system for you and you alone.
No other business operates in quite the same way as yours and your supply chain shouldn't, either. In the end, this is part of the reason why supply chain consulting is so critical - you can leverage the years of experience of a team of professionals to your advantage to come up with the right supply chain to meet both your current and future needs in the most organic way possible.
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.