Evaluating Your Supply Chain Management Process

Changes in the economy have forced companies worldwide to re-evaluate their supply chain management solutions. Historically, companies have looked at past trends in sales to make decisions about how much to buy or what location to sell in. Supply chain managementFor example, a manufacturer of teddy bears may have sold 100,000 during the last three Christmas seasons in the US. After looking at that information, you may decide to increase the number of teddy bears made by 15% this year. But is that the best way to look at it? The economy is very fickle right now and surely there must be other metrics a business can evaluate so that they can be empowered to make a more informed decision. After looking at this example, some may want to evaluate sales trends based on regions on a month to month, or even day by day basis. But how do you pinpoint the inefficiencies in your supply chain management such as your order taking or even order fulfillment?  In order to evaluate your entire supply chain management process, your business needs access to modern commerce management solutions like IBM Sterling or similar products.

Are there holes in your customer service?

Customer service is paramount in your supply chain management system. There is nothing worse than having to lose customers because the product they received from your company was malfunctioning or broken. But let’s face it, this does happen from time to time. However what customers remember most is not that the product didn’t work, but the experience they had in getting a new product or getting their money back. With the advent of social media, it’s a lot easier for your company’s reputation to be ruined in a matter of minutes because of one person who received poor customer service. When choosing a supply management service provider, you want a solution that will support you in measuring and evaluating the current shape of the core area of your business from start to finish. If you don’t have proper information, you won’t be able to make a sound decision.

How do you manage costs?

After customer service, cost control is another big step in evaluating the efficiency of your supply chain management system. After all, you want to deliver an excellent service or product — without compromising the integrity of your company — and still make a profit. What you want is a supply chain system that will evaluate the cost of packaging and shipping, the labor used in the process, etc.  When vetting supply chain systems, check out the metrics used in products like IBM Sterling solutions as this a popular choice among many companies.

How are you managing communication between suppliers and partners?

When evaluating your supply chain management system, you have to spend time looking at how your suppliers are communicating with partners. It is common for companies to believe that they are all on the same page and both companies proceed as they would within their own space. However, that is not always clear to the other party. What you want is to build a trusting relationship where you can both agree upon basic standards of operation. The supply chain management system you choose should provide you with metrics to ensure that the relationships you have are working.

Customer service, cost control, and relationships amongst suppliers and partners are key elements of evaluating the adoption of a new supply chain management system. While these may be important, your company may identify several other topics that may prove essential to the success of your business. How does your business fare in the above areas? What are some of the other areas you are looking at before investing in a new supply chain management system?

About Tim Loshe

Tim Loshe is a Supply Chain consultant who specializes in logistics and supply chain management. In his free time, Tim enjoys blogging about logistics tips and supply chain technology.