Limitations of Planning: How To Spot Supply Chain Weakness
Don’t Let the Limitations of Planning Put a Dent in Your Flow
Your supply chain is only as strong as its weakest link. Just one kink in the chain can impede productivity, decrease profit margins, and prevent you from delivering the most value to your customer. Don’t let the limitations of planning derail your supply chain. Here are 6 ways to identify weaknesses in your supply chain and create efficiencies.
- Flow Mapping
One of the most fundamental tools to help you asses your supply chain is process flow mapping. This is simply a visual map of how products move through your supply chain from the design phase into order completion. This mapping process shows the critical inputs, outputs, and interfaces relevant to achieving the desired results. You’ll see how your human workforce interfaces with machine systems, and be able to quickly identify bottlenecks, areas of low efficiency, and outside risks. Gaining a holistic view of your organization ensures a faster delivery cycle for products and services.
- Use of Data and Quantitative Factors
When it comes to determining the success of your supply chain, the value of historical and current data cannot be overstated. Looking at data points over time can uncover errors that were the result of limitations of planning or poor business decisions. This data can be used along with financial data and performance targets to drive future strategy. The data and metrics should maintain considerable visibility in the organization and be monitored at all levels. This will give you an accurate measure of the health of your supply chain.
- Workplace Observations
Another good (if not fairly obvious) way to identify weaknesses is to just walk the floor and watch supply chain transactions happen in real-time. You’ll get instant feedback. Is there part of the process that could be optimized? Are their hold ups on the dock? Are there enough human workers handling packaging? Physically observing your supply chain gives you visual feedback that you can take action on immediately.
- Use of a Value Chain
A value chain determines the primary supply chain activities that must be performed in the ideal sequence to deliver optimal value to the end customer. This involves differentiating the core activities of your supply chain from the support activities. By gearing the majority of resources to your core activities you can prevent weaknesses from showing up in the supply chain and maximize your strengths to gain a superior position over your competitors and deliver your product at a greater success ratio.
- SWOT Analysis
The classic SWOT (Strength, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats) analysis is always a worthwhile exercise to mitigate limitations of planning. You can analyze your overall company, just your supply chain, or even a single part of your supply chain. With SWOT, you can dive as deep into your processes as you need to uncover areas of weakness and determine what’s working to your advantage.
The SWOT will also enable your organization to maximize company buying power and control lost opportunities to generate revenue and mitigate unfavorable costs. In addition, SWOT can help ensure that human resources and capital are deployed effectively.
- Identify Potential Risks/Threats in Supplier
Many supply chain inefficiencies can be attributed to poor business practices at the supplier level. That’s why it’s so important to measure the performance capabilities of your supplier and increase supplier visibility. This will help to uncover and remove a lot of hidden risks, waste, and cost in the supply chain.
There’s no need to let limitations of planning stand in the way of an efficient and cost-effective supply chain. Use the tips above to ensure every link in your supply chain is strong.
If you’re looking for supply chain solutions, then contact Taylored Fulfillment Services. We’re a fully integrated third-party logistics provider specializing in wholesale, retail, and direct-to-consumer unit fulfillment. Established in 1992 and headquartered in Iselin, New Jersey, we operate 1.5 million square feet of warehouse and distribution space strategically located near the nation’s busiest ports, including Los Angeles, Long Beach, and New York.