Table of Contents
- Supply chain management can be affected by many factors, including weather conditions, war conflicts, pandemics, workforce shortages, and more.
- Several strategies can be carried out to avoid the negative effects of these factors, including keeping a sustainable approach, diversifying sourcing, and incorporating new technologies.
- Implementing new technologies is the best way to improve supply chain management, as it allows automating processes and collecting data for analyzing metrics.
- Different levels of technological sophistication can bring better results, but even the smallest implementation can boost supply chain efficiency.
- Developing your own supply chain software, or incorporating existing programs plus a personalized keyboard with Fleksy technology can make the difference in inventory monitoring and personnel communication.
What is supply chain efficiency?
Supply chain management has faced plenty of disruptive events throughout the last few years. The COVID-19 pandemic as well as international conflicts have represented a set of difficulties for supply chains and their actors. At the same time, however, new technologies have emerged that can be leveraged to improve efficiency in inventory management and logistics. This means meticulously tracking cash flow, inventory changes and delivery status to monitor the entire process, from the raw material stage to the final customer. This allows avoiding under- and over-stocking, as well as monitoring the entire process to detect failures and opportunities for improvement.
What makes the supply chain inefficient? 4 main challenges
Although many industries were forced to reformulate their supply chain to adapt to current challenges, many are still struggling to reach their ideal efficiency levels. Some of the factors that can affect this involve failing at risk management, cost control, inventory monitoring and forecasting.
1. Risk management
Supply chain management can be affected by multiple uncontrollable variables. These include, for example, international conflicts, worker strikes or even pandemics, as we have seen. Even if these events cannot be predicted, companies should put their efforts into contingency planning to avoid negative effects as much as possible. For instance, having several providers for the same product, especially from different origins, can help avoid the lack of a raw material supply and thus a halt in production.
2. Cost control
Keeping an attentive eye on production, freight, employment and resource costs is essential to keep the supply chain going. As inflation is rising around the globe, finances can fluctuate and the company should stay in line to avoid unnecessary expenses while offering reasonable pricing.
3. Inventory monitoring
Under and overstocking are some of the most prejudicial phenomena in supply chain management. These can lead to a stop in production, as well as surplus production, both leading to unbalanced finances. Proper monitoring of the products in stock with the use of new technologies can help avoid these issues.
In line with inventory monitoring, creating metrics and analyzing production can help detect peaks and decreases in purchases, allowing for a deeper understanding of market fluctuations and acting accordingly, thus avoiding the issues mentioned before.
What are your strategies for improving efficiency in the supply chain?
Adopting modern strategies can make a whole difference when it comes to improving efficiency in the supply chain. Implementing new methodologies and technology is the key to surpassing these challenges and modernizing supply chain management.
Setting an efficient inventory management technique
Developing a well-oiled inventory management system is one of the key factors in optimizing supply chain management. Many companies use their own simple, manually-operated systems to keep track of inventory, such as spreadsheets or even printed charts with product counts. Just by implementing specialized software, inventory management can become much more manageable and effective.
Introducing mobile devices
If your company is just starting out with modernization, implementing software solutions combined with manual tasks can be a good kickstart. For instance, bringing mobile phones into the equation can be a good solution to have employees quickly adapt to the new software systems, receive notifications instantly and not having to invest in specialized equipment, as these can replace barcode or RFID scanners.
Developing your own supply management system
Implementing an existing program on computers or mobile phones can be of great use, but developing your own software, tailored to your needs, might be the best. This way, not only can you ensure that it is fully adapted to your necessities, but also guarantee cybersecurity measures are appropriately enforced.
When typing information into your software, details must be correct and clear to avoid miscommunication issues, and this information needs to stay safe from data breaches, hacking and keylogging. Specialized software that prioritizes these factors can reduce response times (and thus, avoid unnecessary waste of time and money), as practitioners can quickly communicate without having to double-check their messages and typed information. Fleksy is the perfect solution to integrate custom virtual keyboard apps, as it brings strong autocorrection, text prediction and swipe-to-text engines into the equation, while including a custom dictionary function for faster text entry as well as strengthening cybersecurity protocols to prevent breaches.
Incorporating advanced technologies & automated solutions
Combining software with other technological devices can represent moving from an old-school system to a whole new methodology that can not only improve your current inventory management but expand your entire supply chain management.
Some of the technologies currently used for this task are barcoding and RFID, which offer a semi-automated alternative to keep track of goods entering and leaving warehouses. Barcodes can be used the same way as in supermarkets. Employees can sense the barcodes in product crates for the system to automatically detect and monitor the number of items in stock.
Similarly, RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) can also keep track of inventory items, but does not require manual intervention, making it even more efficient as it reduces human error.
Some industries have even implemented robotics, which helps in carrying items from one place to another inside the warehouse, and can collect procedural information as they perform their tasks.
Leveraging data analytics for decision-making
Software and devices help in managing inventory and automating processes, and they can also collect essential information for further analysis. For instance, data on how many items leave the warehouse and when can be used to detect peaks and decreases in purchases and, therefore, understand patterns in consumer behavior. This way, technology is used to optimize current processes, and also carry out statistical analyses to further improve them.
Further tips and best practices
Aside from technological and computational advancements, other best practices include fostering teamwork among employees and making sustainability a priority.
Improve communication and collaboration
Technology can also be useful for boosting communication and collaboration among workmates. If you are already implementing mobile devices for inventory management, you can also introduce specialized messaging and task management applications. These can help create stronger bonds among colleagues and ensure task completion by keeping everyone connected through technology.
Implement sustainable and eco-friendly practices
Climate change is one of the factors that could affect supply chains, as storms and other inclement weather conditions can cause delays or cancellations in deliveries and transportation. To avoid contributing to the environmental crisis, and also to comply with green policies, consider aiming at environmentally friendly material sourcing, hiring sustainable freight services and overall reducing your company’s carbon footprint.
How to integrate Fleksy’s tech
By integrating your own Fleksy-powered mobile app into the supply chain management system, communication among coworkers can be clearer and more fluent, while keeping track of inventory items, delivery alerts and logistics issues, while keeping cybersecurity a priority and protecting company data. In terms of efficiency, the Fleksy virtual keyboard can be especially designed to incorporate specialized dictionaries to avoid typos and make typing faster through text prediction, and create a personalized layout that makes text input easier for employees in the work environment.
If you decide to incorporate existing third-party supply chain software, you can always simplify the process by creating your own virtual keyboard apps, to seize the functionalities of said third-party software while also taking advantage of personalized keyboard functionalities.
While there are many variables that can affect supply chains and their functioning, modernization and optimization of supply chain management can be implemented through new technologies to boost productivity and avoid the impact of disruptions. Robotics and sensing are at the top of modernization, but can be difficult to incorporate from an old-school base. Therefore, starting with more simple yet effective solutions can be the key to triggering supply management optimization.
Use the Fleksy keyboard as the founding pillar to introduce mobile devices and develop your own supply chain apps. Boost communication, improve inventory monitoring and gain a global supply chain overview while guaranteeing cybersecurity, collecting valuable information and personalizing supply chain control tools.
How does supply chain management help a company to improve efficiency and effectiveness?
By putting the focus on optimizing supply chain management, companies can gain insights into consumer behavior, forecast sales peaks and decreases, and monitor inventory, therefore avoiding disruptive effects
How do you measure supply chain efficiency?
Supply chain efficiency can be measured by analyzing certain KPIs related to cost-effectiveness, time management, return on investment, sustainability metrics and more. These can be more easily measured by using software management software which can collect information for further analysis.
What are the factors affecting supply chain efficiency?
Apply chain efficiency can be negatively affected by under- and over-stocking, impossibility of consumer behavior forecasting, miscalculating costs, and lack of contingency planning in the case of unpredictable obstacles, among others.