A Critical Look at the Supply Chain

Many people would say, the best way to take a critical look at your supply chain is by hiring a consultant. This way you have someone from the outside looking in to see where your flow is different than other companies and where you might be able to save money. While it is true that consultants can bring your company to a new understanding, it is not only the supply chain consultants that can make your company more efficient. The number one thing that companies overlook when trying to save money is their own people, including their lower level employees. These people are at the heart of your business but many are either too intimidated to speak their minds or they are never asked the question in the first place.

When looking inward at your supply chain it is important to take out each part separately, beginning with your product at a factory level. Are you able to source better materials for lower prices is an obvious place to start. Taking a critical look at all service providers including freight forwarders and customs brokers can be beneficial as well but only if you speak to the people dealing with them every day. Is your analyst level employee able to see something that your freight forwarder is missing? Are there issues with a particular trade lane that need to be addressed? Many times we concentrate so much on freight rates and transit times that we forget to look at what is included in their global shipping services. Is your company using all of the services offered?

So many companies have had cutbacks that they are not able to see past costs to see if their supply chains are really running smoothly. Instead of fixing issues that may be present, they tend to put a bandaid on them because of costs involved. Sometimes it is more cost effective to address those small issues directly and avoid larger issues later on. As we move toward a better economy, it is the only way to create sustainable growth in
an otherwise healthy company.