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  November 8th, 2022 | Written by

8 Effective Ways to Increase Your Supply Chain’s Velocity

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In today’s economy, supply chain management is more critical than ever. The COVID-19 pandemic and other global events have taken a toll on businesses worldwide. 

Companies and consumers alike have faced price hikes and slower production, but there are ways to mitigate the problems despite issues. 

These eight ways can help increase velocity in supply chain management.

1. Assess Supplier Viability

When companies experience supply chain issues, their suppliers are often among the chief reasons. A business looking to improve its supply chain velocity should start with its suppliers. A principal part of the relationship is communication, so managers should assess what kind of responses they are getting from suppliers. Does the supplier respond quickly and make promptness a priority? Do they waste time with misunderstandings?

Another critical part of their viability is their reliability. Suppliers should be consistent with things like purchase orders because a few delays here and there can quickly cause backlogs for the whole supply chain. Lastly, managers should consider the speed of their suppliers. Today, speed is worth its weight in gold. Suppliers should be consistent in completing orders quickly or unsatisfied project managers could begin looking elsewhere.

One sector where speed is of the utmost importance is with custom display manufacturers. These signs are an integral part of marketing for many retailers worldwide. Many companies elect to utilize domestic suppliers for displays because shipping internationally can be a hassle. The retail world moves fast, so speed is a high priority for custom display businesses.

2. Evaluate Current Strategies

After assessing supplier viability, supply chain managers should evaluate what strategies they’re currently using and how they can improve. The most efficient supply chains these days are dependable, cost-effective and lean. Simultaneously optimizing all three can be challenging, but hitting the right notes can effectively increase velocity.

Managers can start by comparing their supply chain strategy to the type of company they run. Different methods will work for different kinds of companies. For example, online retailers could use dropshipping so they don’t have to maintain inventory. Other businesses may turn to agile or lean supply chains depending on their industry needs. 

3. Continue to Track for Weaknesses

Changing the supply chain strategy or optimizing the current one is an effective way to increase the velocity. However, it’s not something managers should do only once. Often, a company solves one problem, but another opens down the line. Businesses should be consistently vigilant of their supply chain strategy and continue improving to maintain an efficient model. 

One way to track weaknesses is to utilize data and algorithms. Analytics has become a critical part of supply chain management because it gives managers data-backed feedback on what’s happening with their operations and suppliers. This information is especially integral in retail because customer demands can change rapidly and companies need to adapt just as quickly.

4. Collaborate With Employees

A business can develop the best strategy for its supply chain management, but it’s only as effective as the employees who implement the processes. Managers should train their workers with the best practices from day one and continue to retrain as strategies evolve and replace old ones.

Another way to improve supply chain velocity is to lean on the experience of tenured employees. They’ve been around long enough to know what works and doesn’t, so managers should tap them for feedback on what needs improvement and what supply chain strategies aren’t as effective as previously thought.

One idea that may seem unconventional for supply chain management is working with the information technology (IT) department. Typically, managers consult IT departments when implementing new software for the company or when problems arise with technology. IT specialists can come in handy when evaluating where managers can change the supply chain. They can increase the efficacy of supply chain management and protect businesses from cyber issues.

5. Consider Automation

Humans can detect and fix problems, but can they do it faster than a computer? The companies choosing automation are seeing positive results. Automated technology is an effective way to increase velocity in the supply chain. These machines reduce the need for humans because they can cut down errors, speed up production, save money and improve safety in the workplace.

Automation can be a fruitful investment for companies, but one barrier is these machines can be expensive. Some organizations — like small businesses — cannot afford robots and other advanced equipment, so they rely on third-party logistics partners to help them out. Companies that can afford automation can streamline processes and utilize their staff better. Automation can take humans out of time-consuming tasks so managers can put their workers on big-picture projects.

6. Use the Internet of Things

The Internet of Things (IoT) has become a valuable asset for supply chain managers worldwide. IoT gadgets can optimize processes and give feedback. They’re terrific tools for increasing visibility in the supply chain, another primary concern for supply chain management today.

Some of the largest companies in the world have put IoT to use for their supply chain management. For example, Amazon uses it to identify products in the warehouse and scan QR codes. This strategy has led to decreased operational costs and more effective employees.

7. Employ Telematics

Fleet management has become an essential part of improving supply chain velocity. In turn, the rise in telematics over the past few decades has become critical for fleet owners who want to take better care of their vehicles and increase profits.

Telematics has become especially helpful during times of driver shortages. This technology can help optimize routes for truck drivers and ensure their deliveries arrive on time. Route optimization prevents wasted time and money for fleet owners. In addition, telematics can help keep drivers safe by tracking speeds and detecting problems with vehicles before they injure the driver and harm the supplies.

8. Adopt Green Initiatives

Sustainability has become a more pressing concern for consumers and businesses. The effects of climate change have caused people to ponder how to become more eco-friendly and lower their carbon footprint. There are ways that logistics professionals can improve their sustainability while keeping their supply chain lean and efficient.

In the short term, companies could find ways to cut down on their packaging. Using fewer materials leads to lower costs and a reduced environmental impact. Redesigning the supply chain to make processes more efficient can reduce energy consumption and required labor. Going green also sets up supply chains for the future — sustainable practices extend the life of businesses and make them more attractive to consumers and suppliers.

Increasing Supply Chain Velocity in the Modern Era

Supply chain management has become a hot-button issue in the last few years. The pandemic and other global events have pushed companies to rethink their supply chain and incorporate the best practices. These eight tactics are ways managers can increase their supply chain’s velocity and set them up for long-term success.