Efficient supply chain management on a global scale is a handful for even the most logistics-savvy companies. When you are entangled in the global market there are a lot of blind corners and gray areas. There is going to be a lot of days that you wish that the straight line you drew between two points on the whiteboard was a reality. With that being said, global supply chain management is a difficult yet not impossible task. Here is a checklist of tasks that every business needs to follow to maintain the efficiency of their global supply chain.
Global Supply Chain Management Checklist
[ ] Always Start With Risk Management: Operational Risk Management is more than just a buzzword. It has to be the starting point of every logistics operation. While it may not be possible to disaster-proof every movement, you cannot know what contingencies you will need to prepare for if you do not take the time to consider the events that will have the most disruptive effects upon your operations. You need to consider how you will do business if your critical systems are rendered inoperable, what steps to take to respond to these catastrophes, and how to resume operations as quickly as possible.
[ ] Assess Your Vulnerabilities: Now that you have taken the time to ask what could go wrong, take a close look at where the weakest links in your supply chain are. You will need to respond accordingly, investing time and money into improving linkage that is most likely to become a critical break in your supply chain. In some cases, you may find that eliminating and replacing the vulnerable aspects of your business may be the only course of action that can be justified.
[ ] Upgrade Your Infrastructure: Outdated infrastructure will cause more problems for you than every other supply chain challenge combined. Falling behind in terms of information technology, manufacturing, storage, electronics, or distribution can happen faster than you think. Companies like Amazon are investing in cutting edge infrastructure and raising customer expectation to the point that the risk of falling behind has never been greater.
[ ] Create A Comprehensive Logistics Plan: Now you should be prepared to plan out your supply chain with confidence. You will not be able to do this alone. You will have to engage your suppliers as well as your end-users in the planning phase if you want a fully integrated solution. A lot has been said about sustainability of supply chain in the last few years, but it is easier said than done. Make it easier by involving all stakeholders in creating a shared outcome desirable to all parties.
[ ] Set Realistic Goals: Your plan should be achievable and timely but not so timid as to hold your business back from its full potential. Take the risks that you know you can mitigate and make the moves that you know you can pull off. Nothing is ever accomplished without some risk, and being as audacious as you possibly manage may separate you from your competition.
[ ] Always Keep An Eye On Costs: As you execute your plan, always keep one eye on the costs involved and see if there are any areas where you can reduce them. Budgeting on the high side may be necessary when you are upgrading infrastructure or initiating new links in your chain, but when things are up and running that is when you need to institute financial efficacy with as much determination as you would logistical efficiency.