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Supply Chain Optimization: How to Make Your Business Run More Efficiently

Supply chain optimization, also known as SCO, isn’t just an effective way to make sure your business runs more efficiently; it’s also an important factor in deciding your company’s bottom line. You see, the supply chain is made up of the channels and methods you use to produce, transport, store, and sell products and services to consumers. The concept of supply chain optimization helps you make choices about where products are produced and how they are shipped so that you can maintain profitability while giving customers what they want in the manner they want it and when they want it.


3 Steps To Streamline The Supply Chain


It’s no secret that optimizing supply chain efforts is vital to being able to deliver goods or services quickly, on-time and at a low cost. However, many small businesses think that running a lean operation means doing more with less. This isn’t true — in fact, optimizing your supply chain can actually mean doing less with more. It all comes down to how well you understand how your goods or services flow through your organization and why each step along that path is necessary for success. After all, there’s no sense in making things harder on yourself than they need to be. Here are three steps you can take today to streamline your operations, both within and between each of these areas: Operations Planning and Execution ; Supply Management; and Demand Management.


1) Identify Bottlenecks And Inefficiencies In Your Supply Chain:

To identify where problems exist in your supply chain, look for opportunities to optimize processes by using technologies like mobile applications, cloud computing and big data analytics software. For example, if you have an issue with inventory management (such as too much or too little), try implementing a software solution like SAP S/4HANA Cloud that will allow you to integrate your ERP system into other business systems such as SAP HANA Cloud Platform. This allows you to optimize supply chain activities by optimizing demand forecasting, tracking stock levels and automating order processing — all of which can help reduce costs and increase productivity. This way, when it comes time to buy more goods or services from suppliers, you’ll know exactly how many units are needed and when they need to be delivered.


2) Identify The Right Suppliers For The Job:

A lot goes into finding a supplier who is going to fit well within your organization. You want someone who has experience working with businesses similar to yours and who understands what you expect from them. It also helps if they offer their own unique solutions that can add value beyond simply fulfilling orders. A good way to find potential partners is through third-party marketplaces, since they usually require vendors to meet certain standards before being listed on their site.


3) Create An Alliance Roadmap That Takes Into Account All Stakeholders:

When it comes to managing supply chains, you don’t just have customers to consider — there are also employees, shareholders and everyone else involved in keeping your company running smoothly. One great way to ensure that everyone is happy is by creating an alliance roadmap. By doing so, you can make sure each stakeholder has a say in how things work out over time.


Identify Deadweight Inefficiencies in the Supply Chain


Supply chain inefficiencies add cost, but are difficult to identify. Often supply chain inefficiencies arise from overproduction or underutilized resources and/or labor. Overproduction occurs when companies produce more of a good than is demanded in a given period. This results in higher inventory costs and lost opportunities for revenue generation. Underutilized labor refers to workers who could be put to work on other tasks if alternative staffing strategies were used or allocated based on fluctuations of demand for products or services.


Actively Seek Out New Suppliers


You probably spend a great deal of time thinking about your suppliers. How they handle quality control, how you can improve your relationships with them, etc. However, there’s an important side to supplier-seeking that’s rarely talked about. It doesn’t matter how great your relationship is with a supplier; as soon as something changes, you need to reconsider whether or not it makes sense for them to be one of your partners. For example, say you have a specific set of supply chain needs in mind and only one company meets those requirements perfectly. Now say that company suffers a major economic event and its ability to meet your needs disappears overnight.


Automate Manual Tasks as Much as Possible


There’s a common perception that going into business means throwing all of your time, energy and money into it. That is, after all, what businesses are for — investing in something that generates value for its owners. But with so many businesses over-managing supply chains and inventory levels, there’s less attention paid to efficiency. Cutting out non-value added manual tasks will save you time and money . It allow you more capacity to spend on things that create more value for your business. Even if it only saves you a few minutes each day. Those minutes can quickly add up to hours over a month or year. By automating manual tasks as much as possible, an entrepreneur can better leverage their time while optimizing their business processes.


Keep it Simple Stupid (KISS)


Simplifying your supply chain is not just about shaving costs; it’s about eliminating wasteful processes and freeing up your time so you can focus on running a profitable, scalable business. As CEO of Williams-Sonoma Inc., Benno Dorer has learned that supply chain optimization is one of his key responsibilities as a business leader—and if he doesn’t pay attention, his company could lose money. For example, in 1998, when e-commerce started gaining momentum, Williams-Sonoma didn’t have an efficient way to manage its inventory. By moving certain products online only or carrying less inventory in physical stores, Dorer was able to simplify Williams-Sonoma’s supply chain and save hundreds of thousands of dollars in unnecessary expenses.

Be Proactive About Customer Complaints


On average, dissatisfied customers will tell nine people about their bad experience. You might have heard that many of these individuals aren’t even your own customers. There are two reasons for that. First, today’s world is social; in fact, 81% of adults on Facebook say they interact with brands there every day. Second, technology has made it easier than ever for unhappy customers to vent online and elsewhere. It is much harder for you to track them down and turn them around before they reach others. And while many companies wait until they have a complaint before they go looking for a fix. It’s not good enough anymore.

Use Data Analysis Software


In business, we’re often faced with an array of choices. We make decisions on which clients we work with, what products we launch and how we handle our workers. However, making an informed decision can be difficult when you don’t have adequate data to analyze. Without insight into your business operations, it’s impossible to know  if certain strategies are actually improving performance . Data analysis software has countless applications for small businesses. By analyzing your bottom line, you can choose suppliers who will provide quality goods at low prices. It’s a good thing that online tools exist that can give us deeper insight into our operations without having to break the bank.


Hire a Contractor to Manage Your Freight Shipping Companies


Freight shipping can cost your business a significant amount of money. As you grow, it becomes more and more difficult to manage shipments on your own. Hiring a freight broker with experience managing multimodal  is an excellent way to cut costs on deliveries. Freight shipping companies have access to discounts given by major carriers that you don’t, meaning their shipments will be cheaper and easier for them to manage. You’ll be able pay less overall than if you shipped everything yourself. This is an easy way for entrepreneurs with limited time or resources to optimize their supply chain without having to hire extra staff.




It can be difficult to run a business—there are so many things to many details to keep track of, and so much that could go wrong. It’s important to remember that there is also an array of potential solutions to these problems: businesses can collaborate with each other in new ways, take advantage of supply chain optimization tools, or even invest in their own systems for managing information more efficiently. With a few simple steps, you can make your business run more efficiently than ever before.

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