Good Question: What’s your best supply chain tip?

1. Think ahead. Analyzing the supply chain is a learning process not just for improving product deliveries today, but also for improving customer service in the future. Streamlining supply chains helps businesses look beyond tactical order fulfillment and gain a better understanding of future customer needs.

2. Streamline the global supply chain to provide increased efficiencies throughout the entire product lifecycle. By improving the accuracy of demand forecasts and schedules, optimizing production lines, and reducing costs, companies are more flexible and profitable. Gaining a better understanding of supply chain processes and data is an essential first step required for successful optimization.

Imtiaz Ali
Logistics Customer Service Executive
DHL

Think digital as well as physical. When one first thinks of their supply chain they immediately go to the physical side: shipping, storage, and distribution. The Internet of Things, artificial intelligence, blockchain, and the application of advanced analytics must be included in your plans as well. Today’s commerce is driven by the digital side and supported by the physical side.

Mike Kasperski
Senior Managing Partner
enVista

1. Be flexible and honest with customers, vendors, team members.

2. Commit to maintaining the highest level of customer satisfaction as a carrier/service provider. Dependability should be a cornerstone of your service model.

3. Make it as seamless as possible to transact business as a shipper.

4. Treat drivers as part of your supply chain on the docks.

David R. Hughes
President
Dalor Transit

Listen to the people working in the system. Lower-level personnel often aren’t taken seriously when they have valuable ideas.

Nick Balazs
Operations Specialist
The Odom Corporation

Get to the “why.” While there are tools and methodologies (what, how, when) to be more effective and efficient, you should know your customer, know your people, know your process, know your product, and you will have the “why.”

Monica Pons
Principal Industrial Engineer
Medtronic

Measure the right “stuff” to drive increased service, cost reductions, and overall productivity to your business. While supporting customers as a consultant, I was always amazed at clients who asked me to come in and drive efficiencies in their supply chain, yet couldn’t tell me their case order fill rate. Instead of having a scorecard with 20-plus key performance indicators (KPIs), you only need two or three KPIs to drive results linked to your business objectives.

Ryan Boccelli
Vice President of Operations
Ascent Power, Ascent Global Logistics

Schedule realistically. By implementing best practices and technologies that enable transparent collaboration with carriers, shippers can minimize idle time and cut loading/unloading times significantly, which indicates that you share responsibility for drivers’ Hours of Service requirements. A comprehensive dock scheduling solution or drop-trailer program can help shippers better honor time commitments to their carriers.

Ed Moran
Managing Director & SVP
Sales and Marketing
Transporeon Group Americas

Keep your employees engaged. Make communication a priority with not only your partner—the customer—but also with your employees—your other customer. Hire a strong operational HR team that understands manufacturing and logistics and partner with them in all aspects of the business. If your HR team isn’t involved and doesn’t know and understand all components of the business then they can’t place the right candidates in the business to be successful.

Angela Rymer, MBA
Human Resources Manager
Volkswagen of Chattanooga Division
TVS Supply Chain Solutions, North America

Consider transparency and integrity as one and the same. In supply chain/logistics, you can never have enough.

Alex Carroll
Team Lead, Carrier Safety and Compliance
Arrive Logistics

Avoid sole sources if possible. If not, the engineering department is your key for a successful and complete supply chain.

Mohamed B.
Project Manager and Chief Engineer
Siemens

Make supply chain management adaptable to any changing business trends.

Muhammad Bilal, CSCA
Assistant Manager Supply Chain Key Accounts
Agility

Think of the whole supply chain as a team, play as a team, and win as a team.

Abdullah Bin Salahuddin Awan
Configuration Engineer
Huawei Technologies

Be okay with change; always grow your knowledge base; don’t get stuck in old ways. This applies to more than just supply chain.

Kyle Morris
Logistics Solutions Manager
Ward Transport and Logistics

Establish where your decoupling points need to be. Be Lean upstream and agile downstream from the points.

Thomas Hofmeyer
Logistics Manager
Tecan

Ensure your supply chain integrates the people within it. The holistic, integrative approach that a supply chain requires needs to be not just systems, data, and process focused, but it absolutely must be holistic and integrative of the people within it. Do the workers executing tasks understand their role within the organization? The impact the organization has on the greater supply chain network and how local goals nest within the overall mission? Are leaders actively developing their people to enhance their skills and communicating rigorous feedback on performance or changes to the organizational priorities? Too often we think of the technologies and systems without the human element context. Good effective supply chain management (really, ANY management) must also involve the leadership of people in the execution of those operational goals.

Aaron Freed, DML
Logistics Officer
U.S. Army

 

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