4 Ways to Improve Your Supply Chain


People don’t always recognize what goes on behind the public eye in businesses, schools, churches, or hospitals. Without products in stock, grocers wouldn’t be able to line their shelves. If Heinz Field doesn’t get burgers and hot dogs, they can’t feed Steelers fans in attendance. Schools won’t have toilet paper if janitors working on the night shift fail to order more stock in time.

Improving the supply chain is always one of the goals for a business. There are a couple of different methods that you can try to implement to improve your business and serve your customers better.

Utilize JIT to Track Inventory

Just-in-time (JIT) software is a way of managing inventory levels to prevent spending on more inventory than what’s absolutely necessary. When inventory sits on your shelves, it may be damaged, stolen, lost, misplaced, and will unarguably take up valuable space.

JIT software helps you keep track of what you have and order what you need as you sell products. It means that you will need to have a closer relationship with any vendors that you work with. However, if it takes a while for your merchandise to ship, this may not work very well. You may experience a high demand for a product and not have it.

Start Using RFID

Radio frequency identification (RFID) tags are tiny chips that cost as little as $0.10/tag. You can equip employees with handheld readers or attach stationary devices to areas with and around inventory. Computers can be programmed to automatically add information gathered with RFID tags, saving time employee spend on work computers. This can help you keep an accurate count of inventory and allow you to get a quick look at what you need. This is especially useful for items that you have in bulk.

Outline Chain of Command

It seems that every business — all sizes, industries, levels of success — has a command structure that’s clearly defined. However, this isn’t always true. When employees report to more than one supervisor or manager, business functions can get wacky. Workers can get frustrated when supervisor A says “sit down,” and supervisor B says “stand up,” as only one supervisor should instruct and inform employees of tasks, happenings, and feedback. The wackiness gets worse in inventory distribution, where miscommunication could cause products to be misdirected, not ordered or have too much ordered, causing financial loss and frustration.

Implement SCMS

Supply chain management software (SCMS) is a type of business software that mashes together all functions of distributors, warehouses, and manufacturers. This helps organizations spend less towards supply chain functions because there will be fewer mistakes in data entry and less need for manual calculations. Using a product like Shiftwise Vendor Management software will allow you to combine various functions into one place, making it easy to use and understand.

Everybody who’s ever seen “behind the scenes” at any company understands the importance of supply chain management. Not every organization can afford a supply chain consultant or resident expert, so every businessperson needs to be knowledgeable about their supply chain. Implement these four strategies to improve your supply chain.