Why ‘Supply Chain’ is the most underrated phase in business
Running a business is tough. Whether you’re the managing director, or the manager of a small department, there are immediate, pressing concerns to attend to all of the time.
But what if something goes wrong externally? What if you’re let down by a key supplier or partner? Until something goes wrong, many business owners don’t recognise just how important a quality, reliable supply chain is. So, how could a failing supply chain impact your business?
The Impact of a Failing Supply Chain
The knock-on effect of a missing link in your supply chain can be damaging to your business in a number of different ways, not exclusive to the following points:
Delays to orders or service delivery. This can cause your business processes to stall, and negatively impact your customers.
Reputational damage. A negative customer review online or comment passed by word-of-mouth can be extremely damaging to the future growth of your business.
Lost sales as a result of being unable to supply a particular product, or because of lost customers / contracts.
Wasted man hours fixing a problem or finding an alternative supplier.
The worst part? None of these problems have been caused by you! It doesn’t matter how well-organised, trained and motivated your staff are, or how effective your business processes, a failing supply chain can undo all of your hard work.
The most effective way to prevent your supply chain from failing is to recognise the warning signs early and act upon them accordingly.
Spotting the Warning Signs
Challenging or changing a weak link now can help to ensure smooth-running in the future. So what warning signs do you need to look out for in your current suppliers?
How do your suppliers respond to current problems with their service delivery? Do they ‘own up’ when something has gone wrong? Do they act promptly to issue a solution, and communicate effectively? These are all important considerations. If a supplier fails to resolve minor problems efficiently and effectively, what will happen when something more serious goes wrong?
It’s natural to expect an occasional problem in your supply chain. However, if there is a repeat offender who is regularly causing you problems, it’s time to consider finding an alternative.
Care and Service
Does your supplier actually care about your business’ goals? Polite, clear communication should be in evidence at every stage of your customer journey. Furthermore, a company representative should be in regular contact with you, and available should you need to raise any concerns. Problems should be met with an apology and instant solution.
Do your suppliers make the cut?
Building an Outstanding Supply Chain
If you have identified a weak link in your supply chain, you need to act quickly to minimise future disruption. Bring up any concerns with your suppliers at an early stage, and if service fails to improve, seek an alternative quickly! But what should you be looking for when sourcing a replacement?
Ultimately, the cornerstones of a healthy and mutually-beneficial business relationship are built around just a few key traits:
Flexible and responsive service
Great customer service – especially when something does go wrong
However successfully you manage your own business internally, a failing external supply chain can lead to serious problems for you, your staff and your customers. So, keep a keen eye on your supply chain to ensure a seamless service.
Do you need to make a change?