Management

5 Supply Chain Challenges (and How to Overcome Them)

Running a supply chain is no cakewalk. There are so many moving pieces and things that require attention. These are five big supply chain challenges and some ideas for how to overcome them.

Having a Global Presence

For many organizations, the supply chain isn’t a local endeavor; it’s worldwide. But as things become more global, there are some major challenges that come with it. Here are just a few of the top issues organizations might run into when dealing with globalization:

  • Understanding foreign customs, bureaucracy, and other region-specific requirements can be tough. Organizations do things differently in all parts of the world. They operate in different time zones; they might have laws that interfere with standard business operations.
  • You can’t be everywhere at once. Yes, you’d like to have your hands on all parts of the process. But that simply isn’t possible when you’re working with supply chains—especially global ones. Hiring exceptional managers can keep things running smoothly.
  • Geopolitics are a thing. Civil unrest or other disagreements can cause issues with your supply chain. Have backup plans ready to prepare for kinks.

Making Predictive Decisions

Supply chains are about getting X from point A to point B. There can always be improvements made to this process. It’s wise to adopt supply chain analytics to continually evaluate performance data, while also identifying ways to improve through predictive analytics.

The human mind isn’t powerful enough to parse through and make highly accurate predictions based on the immense amount of data and information that affects a supply chain. Data analytics platforms, however, are capable of uncovering insights human users can use to make informed business decisions.

Identifying Bottlenecks

Bottlenecks are the bane of a supply chain’s existence. The problem is, there’s always going to be ways for inefficiency and blockages to seep into the supply chain. There are simply too many co-existing variables to have complete control over them all. There are, however, ways to improve upon this situation.

Listening to data remains one of the most effective ways of identifying and resolving bottlenecks. Real-time analytics is particularly effective for this. Machine learning can help identify anomalies in data collection, which will alert you to immediate issues. It’s also helpful to look at data trends to see if there are correlations between certain inputs and resulting bottlenecks. Ultimately, it’s important to record and analyze as much as possible on a supply chain.

Efficiently Handling Customer Service

Customer service is an essential part of any organization. But it can be more difficult to implement effectively across a supply chain than it is for other types of businesses. The sheer number of moving parts involved with a supply chain make it difficult to identify, track and resolve issues.

In order to make customer service more efficient and effective, it’s important to give teams proper business orientation. It’s not enough to simply give someone a headset and script then tell them to figure things out. They need to have some specialized knowledge of what they’re dealing with. This is another area where speedy access to data insights from various sources can help customer service specialists better understand buyer behavior and product performance on the fly.

Security

Security is another element that’s important for all kinds of businesses. Again, the pace and volume of movement involved with supply chains makes it trickier to effectively implement it there than with other organizations.

There can be no compromises when it comes to data and online security. It’s imperative all employees understand the dos and don’ts of online safety. But physical safety is a key element to supply chain as well. With such a high volume of goods being moved around, it’s key to track everything at every stage, and immediately identify when something is amiss. It’s also important to heavily vet and audit any security providers used for supply chains. Hiring multiple firms might even be the best option to create balance.

Supply chains are complex business structures that require much attention to detail. Fortunately, technological advancements are helping organizations gain better control of their supply chains.

A post by Kidal D. (4405 Posts)

Kidal D. is author at LeraBlog. The author's views are entirely their own and may not reflect the views and opinions of LeraBlog staff.

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