The Hidden Pitfalls of Supply Chain Management and How to Avoid Them

A strong supply chain is often critical to the longevity of a business. It is an aspect of a company that is, in many ways, prone to fluctuation.

Be it the result of market demand, the availability of materials, or a dwindling workforce, there are ostensibly countless factors ready to throw a curveball into the mix.

The most adept business owners, fleet managers, and supply chain experts will likely be well aware of this, but this does not necessarily mean that successfully overseeing the details of logistics is any less difficult.

In fact, there are numerous pitfalls to encounter at some point along the road, so the first step towards greater management capability might be learning how to recognize them and taking a preventative approach before the issue has a chance to fully materialize. It is also important to note that with increased visibility and better communication, you can establish great process and work flow throughout the supply chain.

If you needed a helping hand when it came to strengthening your own supply chain, here are some useful points that you may want to check out.

A Lack of Available Carriers

This one might hit some U.S. businesses terribly hard, particularly those that need to raise their game to meet an increase in customer demand – a lack of available carriers can upset your entire supply chain and create a backlog of delivery orders that slow down your entire operation.

According to the New York Times, the recent trucker shortage is the biggest kink in America’s supply chain.

This can spell danger for anyone who needs to take on new members of delivery staff any time soon, so it is vital to account for a lack of available workforce.

How to Avoid This Pitfall – You could utilize a dependable online load board to source your carriers when you need them, and some of the best options make it especially easy for you to view rates, source reliable drivers, and possibly even save money at the same time.

Another way around this is to maximize your existing fleet’s efficiency. By optimizing routes, tracking your drivers, and implementing logistical analytics tools, you may be able to reduce the number of trips your drivers need to make in the first place, freeing your employees up to take on more impactful journeys.

Poor Shipment Tracking

Aside from the fact that people generally like to know where their packages are during transit, shipment tracking can provide your operation with a great many benefits.

Conversely, poor shipment tracking, or a total lack of it in the first place, can result in disaster at times.

For example, packages could go missing, the buyer could panic, and there might be a dreadful mix-up resulting in a logistical nightmare that is difficult to rectify.

Shipment tracking contributes to making your business more trustworthy, more reliable, and generally more professional and authentic across the board.

How to Avoid This Pitfall – Introduce high-quality tracking software to keep an eye on your shipment at all times.

This can help keep your drivers safe, your customers content, and your products on the right track, literally.

Plus, tracking software can relay data back to you, allowing you extra insight into how efficient your routes and drivers are.

Unoptimized Warehouse Management

A badly organized warehouse can be a debilitating shackle attached to an otherwise well-oiled supply chain.

The warehouse is just as in important as the rest of the operation, if not more so since it is so closely tied with inventory management and, therefore, your ability to meet customer demand.

Aside from the obvious danger that a physically cluttered and badly organized warehouse represents, if you can’t optimize your processes, you will probably have a hard time visualizing all your supply chain needs.

How to Avoid This Pitfall – By getting hold of some great warehouse management software, you can be sure to have an easier time keeping track of each individual process.

This can help you increase your efficiency, keep up with your orders, and manage your inventory to achieve peak supply chain optimization.

You may also wish to get back to the ground level and undertake a thorough assessment of the warehouse layout.

It is important that your staff know what needs to be done in terms of their personal responsibilities, too, as their cohesion will likely help to strengthen your supply chain.

Material Shortages

Certain types of raw materials have been difficult to source for many businesses recently, and even if you do not necessarily deal directly in the shipment of raw materials, this will probably still affect your operation in at least some capacity.

Whether that happens to be a result of rising inventory costs (whatever product you ship came from raw materials at some point), an increasingly competitive market, or a lack of suppliers to buy from, your supply chain needs to be strong enough to deal with any sudden changes in the logistical landscape.

In many ways, this eventuality is out of your hands, but this does not mean you can’t prepare yourself for the worst and keep your operation safe.

How to Avoid This Pitfall – Careful inventory management is the key to keeping yourself secure in this area, but admittedly, if there is nowhere to get new inventory in the first place, there is not much you can do.

You could always think about branching out and looking for new suppliers. Perhaps even stretching your gaze abroad could be a great way to go.

Taking the long-term view can be somewhat reassuring if you have found yourself in this position, so do not give up hope!

Failure to Nurture the Employee Experience

You may have heard countless tales regarding the importance of the customer experience, but what about the employee experience?

A supply chain is not just made of endless numbers, orders to fulfill, and journeys to make; it is powered by real people, and they need to be looked after properly.

How to Avoid This Pitfall – Create a happy, healthy working environment that does not push people too hard in order to fulfill a delivery request, and you should be okay.

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