July 31, 2020

Supply Chain Management (SCM) Checklist

Stack of wood pallets

When properly implemented, supply chain management (SCM) results in lower costs and a faster production cycle, which translates to quicker order fulfillment and happier customers.

When properly implemented, supply chain management (SCM) results in lower costs and a faster production cycle, which translates to quicker order fulfillment and happier customers. Of course, supply chains are complex beasts, and managing them requires tact, innovation, and the ability to react quickly to change.

While no two chains are exactly the same, there are some rules of thumb that will make managing any supply chain a bit less overwhelming. We’ve collected some of the best supply chain management advice we’ve ever gotten and compiled it into a digestible checklist. If you keep the following things in mind, you’ll be well on your way to streamlining your supply chain.

Think about the big picture

Supply chain management can’t be handled by a single department. If you take a siloed approach to SCM strategy, you’re setting yourself up for eventual failure. On a micro level, supply chain managers need to clearly see the entire landscape and be prepared to react to anomalies in real time. On the macro, short-term planning is most effective when it’s built on the bedrock of solid long-term planning.

To simplify: Plan for the long term while reacting to the short term. Keep a clear view of the entire playing field to prevent yourself from being blindsided. Involve as many people as you can in strategic planning, and make sure those people come from as many departments as possible to identify problems you might not have ever thought to look for.

Remove potential delays

In an internet-savvy world, speed and efficiency are crucial. Any delay in shipping or production will send the message to your customers that you don’t care about them. Delays erode trust. You must be mindful of where the pain points are in your process to stamp out delays before they happen. If a delay is inevitable, prepare to deal with it quickly and in a way that makes your customers feel cared for.

Ensure quality

Quality matters. Products need to be delivered in good condition. If one of your suppliers routinely provides defective products, you need to find someone else who can meet a higher level of quality. If you work with a delivery service that routinely damages packages in transit, you need to find a new carrier.

Build relationships with reliable suppliers

While you’ll inevitably find some bad seeds among your suppliers, there are some who are worth their weight in gold. Some suppliers will bend over backward to make sure their products get to you hastily and in perfect condition. When you find these suppliers, take the time to show them they’re appreciated. Take care of the suppliers who take care of you.

Keep a list of backup vendors

In a perfect world, every single vendor would deliver every single shipment on time. Unfortunately, we don’t live in a perfect world. Even the best suppliers will occasionally miss a delivery deadline or need to halt production over an unforeseen error. Having a backup is essential in keeping your own production on schedule. Make sure you have a list of backup vendors so that your vendors’ problems don’t become your own problems.

Score solid metrics

Your supply chain will only be as good as your data. The more detailed and accurate your metrics, the better equipped you are at spotting issues and resolving them promptly. Data that operates in real time is crucial in making intelligent decisions quickly, and rich, detailed metrics are critical when it comes to forecasting.

If your metrics are lagging, or if you’re not able to clearly see the full picture your data is painting, you probably need to upgrade your data platform.

Ensure transparency

As a follow-up to the previous point, your supply chain should be as transparent as possible. When you encounter anomalies, you need to be able to get to the bottom of them as soon as possible. If a shipment gets lost, you need to find it. If you see evidence of fraud, you need to be able to investigate that evidence.

Transparency is a critical part of your prevention strategy, because supply chains include a lot of moving parts. Any of those parts can be exploited by malicious players or unfortunate circumstances, so you need to keep your eye on all of them at once. Don’t let aspects of your supply chain fall into the shadows. Operate with transparency.

Provide positive customer experiences

Every supply chain ends with a customer experience. While it takes a lot of work to get a product to a customer, the consumer will see very little of that work. Think of this in terms of an iceberg: All the work your company put into this delivery is underwater, while the tip of the iceberg is the customer touchpoint. Despite everything you’ve done correct beneath the surface, the customer will base one hundred percent of their impression of your company on the minuscule part they can see.

As the old saying goes: You only get one chance to make a first impression. Strive to make it a good one.

BanQu creates blockchain solutions for some of the modern world's biggest challenges, such as supply chain transparency and identity platforms for impoverished populations. We believe that with blockchain's bright future, world poverty can become a thing of the past.