As an e-commerce entrepreneur, managing your supply chain means controlling the flow of goods and services in the most efficient way possible. In order to optimize the supply chain, managers have to continuously adapt to their business’s growth, source new resources as needed, and adjust to an ever-changing commerce climate. When managed correctly, efficient supply chains result in shorter processing times, faster delivery, better inventory management, and fewer incurred costs.
It only takes a few small changes to supply chain management to generate more efficient business processes and higher ROI. Take a look at these five tips in order to optimize your existing supply chain.
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The first step in most supply chains will be the procurement of goods. Whether this is the entity that supplies your product, or if they manufacture it as well, odds are that they serve a specific role in your supply chain, and you rely on several different manufacturers and suppliers to create inventory for your store. If this step falls short, and you don’t have a partner you can count on, then optimizing the rest of the chain is useless. Many entrepreneurs find themselves struggling at first to find a source to supply or manufacture their products. Finding dependable suppliers will set your business up for success from the very beginning. Whether you’re looking for:
- A manufacturer who produces your product idea.
- A supplier, who may also be a manufacturer, wholesaler, or distributor who purchases already existing brands and products.
- A dropshipper who supplies products and fulfills orders of already existing brands and products.
There are many options to choose from.
It is important to research suppliers thoroughly and build a strong relationship with them. Focussing solely on price when acquiring suppliers can cause long-term problems that will end up costing your business more in the long run. If a supplier is inexpensive but unreliable, you will lose sales for lacking stock or quality.
When researching suppliers be sure to take into consideration their standards for quality, customer service, packaging, dependability, and ethical business standards.
Building relationships with suppliers is just one example of how important personal connections can be in supply chain management. Another thing to consider is the relationships your business has with its vendors and distributors. Distributors hold a key role in the supply chain and can be the difference between success or failure, especially with customer experience. In the back half of 2020, the Asia-Pacific (APAC) region accounted for a total of 63% of total e-commerce sales worldwide. There’s a lot at stake if you can’t trust the key partners that supply and distribute your inventory. If you can’t keep things in stock, and your buyers cannot receive the products efficiently, the rest of the business processes become worthless.
Each person in the supply chain plays a valuable role and should not be overlooked or underestimated. If you’re just starting out or have yet to make these connections, using an established logistics partner can be a huge benefit.
Being a major shipper, LOCAD has contracted rates with many courier companies that can lead to significant cost savings compared to the rates you pay in the branch or online directly with the courier. LOCAD has years of experience and has developed strong relationships within each step of the supply chain. Now, we work to help sellers utilize these relationships and grow their businesses.
End-to-end visibility of the supply chain is the ability to see every aspect of your processes from the procurement of goods to delivery to the customer. This can be made possible by having a monitoring system in place that tracks each step of the chain and reports the data to a centralized dashboard. Once organized in a centralized location, the data can be reviewed and analyzed for any shortcomings. This way, business processes are always being improved and updated in real-time. End-to-end visibility covers:
- Procurement of goods
- Demand Forecasting
- Customer Service
Without access to this information, managers cannot make informed business decisions.
Utilizing a third-party logistics management system simplifies supply chain management tremendously. LOCAD offers access to the LOCAD Dashboard; a personalized dashboard that shows full visibility of all stages of your supply chain. LOCAD’s dynamic and scalable technology solution is a supply-chain-as-a-service platform that can solve your last mile expenses, and facilitate a best-in-class fulfillment experience.
Automation will increase efficiency tremendously when employed correctly. While it is easy to have manual processes in the early stages of a business, if you expect your business to grow then the practices need to be automated so they can be scaled to your growth. It is unrealistic to think you can be running your supply chain as effectively as possible if you do not have real-time access to it. Having a centralized dashboard with all of your information about your different sales channels makes monitorization a breeze. You will be able to correct issues before they even happen and be one step ahead of your competitors.
This becomes exceptionally important when you’re talking about your inventory levels. Real-time access means you’re aware of your stock levels, you’re alerted well before your re-order point, and you know what’s moving and what’s not, with a quick look. This mitigates any stock-related delays, keeps you from carrying excess inventory, and helps you to deliver satisfaction to your customers every step of the way.
Using a third-party logistics provider is the easiest and most cost-effective way to automate your supply chain. Using a professional service will ensure that your automation processes are the right fit for your specific business, cost-effective, and always easily accessible.
Establishing your supply chain is only the beginning. The key to success is to constantly reevaluate and improve upon practices. There is always room for improvement and as your business grows so will your supply chain practices.
One way to ensure that your supply chain is always being monitored is to have a designated manager in charge of supervising continuous improvement. It needs to be a standard within your organization in order to maintain best practices. This can be found in the form of a logistics partner who can help your business remain on the right track for growth and success.
How LOCAD Can Help
At LOCAD, we excel at helping startups and entrepreneurs in the eCommerce space, putting their products in their customers’ hands quickly and easily, via hyperlocal fulfillment. LOCAD’s dynamic and scalable technology solution is a supply-chain-as-a-service platform that can solve your last mile expenses, and facilitate a best-in-class fulfillment experience.
Our solution offers access to a globally distributed fulfillment network to help you localize your fulfillment strategy via a customized supply chain design that can integrate with your eCommerce store. As you scale up, we can help you broaden your reach with our distribution warehousing network and order/inventory management, to help you stock, store, and ship your own products.
Efficient integration with your sales channels, supply and demand planning, workflow automation, and a custom dashboard that gives you real-time visibility are just some of the benefits of using LOCAD.
LOCAD promises flexibility in our terms and no commitments or hidden fees. We know what it is like to run an online business and do not lock in our clients to any obligations. Our clients are always welcome to scale up or down if their products are subject to seasonality and are never penalized for incorrect forecasting. Our goal is to offer you reliable, convenient, effective solutions to the hurdles of E-Commerce sales in order to give you the time to truly focus on your business.
Experience fulfillment by LOCAD
Grow your business through LOCAD’s simplified and automated fulfillment solution
- Unlimited and scaleable warehousing
- Pay only for what you store
- No hidden fees or lock-in periods
- Zero inbound costs
- Wide integration with marketplaces
- Automated logistics and delivery
With extensive experience in e-commerce and logistics, Constantin Robertz is the Chief Executive Officer and Co-founder of LOCAD — an end-to-end fulfillment solution empowering online businesses through warehousing, picking and packing, sales analytics, and last-mile logistics integrations. Prior to LOCAD, Constantin was the Chief Executive Officer and President of technology-driven logistics solutions provider Entrego and the Managing Director of Zalora, Asia’s leading online fashion destination. With a background in Business and Management from Universität St. Gallen combined with his expertise in e-commerce, Constantin leads the business strategy and development operations of LOCAD to ensure success.