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We live in an extremely interconnected world, with complex webs of partnerships and collaborative efforts that are sometimes impossible to untangle. For this reason, we need to make sure that we take the proper steps to maximize the quality of our supply chain partnerships across the board.
In this article, we will outline 5 actionable tips you should consider implementing in order to create strong, productive partnerships within your supply chain.
Perhaps above all other tips, transparency is the single most important thing for supply chain professionals to focus on. Vague promises and unclear communication between partners will always lead to disastrous problems for supply chains.
You need to set the tone from the very first meeting with suppliers, tech integration partners, channel partners, or others who are involved in your supply chain. Make sure that they know how and when to contact your company and who will be the primary point of contact. You also need to receive the same detailed information from them.
Also, be sure to clearly outline the parameters and expectations of the partnership, including how any issues will be resolved. Every supply chain will encounter problems throughout the course of a partnership. However, transparency is the only way to truly and effectively overcome these issues as they arise.
Instill end-to-end visibility and transparency with your partners and you set the tone for success right out of the gate.
As was mentioned in the previous section: problems will arise within your supply chain, despite all of your best efforts, whether it be transportation delays or tech hiccups. It isn't the fact that these things occur that is the tricky part of the equation since we know it is bound to happen here and there. Truthfully, the deciding factor when issues occur is how you handle them.
Sometimes, you will have to react to these issues in real time, and you’ll have to make important decisions with very little data as well as with very little time.
That being said, if you can plan ahead for most of the likely contingencies, and have protocols in place to correct them before and after they occur, you’ll be in much better shape than if you were purely reactionary.
When it comes to new years resolutions and other goals, one of the biggest reasons why people “fall off the wagon” is due to a lack of perceived progress.
For this reason, it’s important, in all areas of business, to have ways to measure the success, progress, and effectiveness of your supply chain strategies. Generally, you’ll want to measure the following:
Take a look at what metrics are most important for the success of your business and figure out a way to measure those specifically, over time. Further, you’ll want to see how any of your new operational strategies affect those metrics.
Of course, in the context of your partnerships, you’ll want to look at whether or not certain suppliers are an asset or a liability for your business’s productivity based on whatever metrics you use to measure progress.
We suggest working with a sustainable supplier: Partnering With Sustainable Suppliers Improves Supply Chain Resiliency
We now have the ability to communicate instantaneously with anyone, anywhere in the world by using technology. Beyond that, we have tech that enables us to see where a product or shipment is at any given point. This can enable businesses to keep customers and partners apprised of exactly where a shipment may be and when it will arrive at its destination.
Not only does this further the building and maintaining of good rapport between shipping partners but it also opens the door to potentially new cost-saving opportunities.
There are tons of wonderful supply chain technologies out there. However, be sure to invest in the ones that will help your business thrive the most. Ideally, this is one that will also help limit the amount of time you have to devote to manual tasks.
Many people will remain in poor business relationships for years. While there are many reasons why this is the case, one of the major ones is that it can be scary to leave a sure thing for something that might be better.
But there are times when you simply need to move on from a supply chain partner. If you’ve tried everything to make the partnership work, you’ve done all that you can. Don’t burn any bridges, but politely move on to another group that can effectively help you accomplish your business goals.
Your supply chain partnerships are crucial to the success of your business. If you don’t have the right partners, you’ll eventually encounter supply chain problems that seem almost insurmountable. And the wrong partnerships can even end up costing you in the long run.
In a time when margins are razor-thin, you can’t afford to risk it all on a sub-par partnership.
Considering partnering with a 3PL to help you handle more of your day-to-day logistics? Need a company that can leverage the right software to take your supply chain operations to the next level? Reach out to the team at Redwood Logistics and let us show you how we can help.