4 common challenges in supply chain management

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Logistics and supply chain management is, on the one hand, a basic concept in that you’re moving something from A through B and to C, but in reality, it’s an incredibly complex system which throws up a range of challenges and problems. From small businesses to international operations, there are common issues which crop up time and time again. Luckily, modern technology and shared expertise have made it easier than ever to overcome these challenges with minimal expense. This article looks at four of the most prevalent issues faced in supply chain management and how you can tackle them head-on.

  1. People Management

Although the supply chain industry is becoming more and more reliant on technology, it is still dependent on human interaction and intuition. We need our employees to keep us at the top of our game, but there are several potential problems people management can bring.

You need to employ a labor force which is motivated and adept at working collaboratively, as well as a team of natural problem solvers. In addition, you need to provide them with an exceptional level of cleanliness and safety to ensure all your employees are healthy and protected at all times. Staff will need vacations and breaks, but they also need to feel valued which can be difficult in large operations with many people working at different stages of the process. If you have a high turnover of staff or recurring problems with motivation, consider reassessing your wages or benefits as you may be losing experienced staff to competitors.

  1. Poor Customer Service

When your company makes a mistake, how do you rectify it? Even the biggest of mistakes can be resolved with the right customer service procedures which respond quickly and generously. Put yourself in the position of your clients and customers and make all your transactions and communications as simple and efficient as possible. That way, when there is an issue, it should be simple to trace the error and resolve it. Invest in digital tracking systems which enable your customers and clients to keep tabs on their order. Customers should also be able to reorder items and contact you digitally both for ease of service and to take the strain off your teams.

  1. Cost Management

Operational costs can quickly spiral out of control and can bring a halt to any project or business if not managed effectively. Costs to keep on top of include energy, fuel, freight, labor and wages – and potentially dealing with international currencies and exchange rates – but there are also bigger investments to consider. If you are preparing to invest in technology, for example, you need to ensure you’ve done your research about all the possible options before you commit.

Transportation or Yard Management Systems could help you to save fuel and improve efficiency, but it could be costly to implement. You may want to get a structured loan for key development projects to keep your cash flow as stable as possible.

  1. Inaccurate Inventory Records

A supply chain business’ inventory is a huge part of a company’s assets and investments, so it’s crucial that you have accurate figures. This begins with efficient systems and reliable suppliers but can also be streamlined with technology such as RFID tracking.