In business, you must get your supply chain just right.
It can make or break your business. Your supply chain helps maintain your competitive edge against others in the industry and will allow you to better serve your customers. Not only that, but it may even help lower costs and boost your production cycle at the same time.
And by implementing supply chain automation, there are even more benefits. It is the secret to energizing your company, becoming more agile, and potentially increasing long-term success.
What is Supply Chain Agility?
A supply chain encompasses every stage of manufacturing and selling commercial goods. When companies successfully manage their supply chain, they increase their competitiveness within their field and boost their chances of long-term success.
Agility is important, as it represents a company’s ability to adapt to sudden, external changes in supply and demand in the smoothest way possible. Because the reality is, many outside forces can trigger shifts in how a company is run. Those outside forces can be things like changes in customer preferences, competitors within the industry, or even shake-ups in the economy.
The Characteristics of an Agile Supply Chain
Agility means you’re willing to and capable of making shifts in response to industry disruptions. This is easier said than done in some cases because sometimes companies get stuck in their old ways. However, that doesn’t mean it is impossible to run an agile and flexible company.
Three characteristics of an agile supply chain include:
- Quick Decision Making: Decisions often need to be made during challenging times. However, you can’t predict every change or disruption that could impact some level of your business. That’s why you need to stay informed and be prepared to respond quickly when the unexpected occurs.
- Willingness to be Flexible: Any great business knows that innate flexibility is key if they want to stand the test of time. It’s important to be flexible when it comes to decision-making and even workflows because you never know when you’ll be next to adapt to external changes.
- An Informed, Skilled Team: You need a team that is trained to perform in the job and equipped with the right tools to set things up for success. The team also needs to be informed and kept updated. Keeping everyone informed also makes decision-making faster and easier since there’s less time waiting for approval from management.
By maintaining an agile supply chain, you’re able to optimize your business and increase your chances of withstanding anything that’s thrown your way. That’s crucial for any company’s long-term success.
4 Ways Automation Can Improve Your Supply Chain Agility
When you hear the word “automation,” agility and flexibility aren’t likely to be the first words that come to mind. Instead, people usually think of automation as being robotic and perhaps something difficult to change. But when it is done right, automation is a powerful tool.
These days, many companies are taking advantage of supply chain automation through the use of technologies like artificial intelligence (AI) because it keeps manufacturing and selling costs down. With the help of these technologies, your company will run smoothly— no matter what external changes come your way.
There are several ways you can implement automation, whether it’s a sales funnel or email marketing. But here are four different ways automation can improve your supply chain agility:
1. Handles Data Collection
Gone are the days of manual data collection. With the help of supply chain automation, you can check data collection off your to-do list moving forward. Automation assists in tracking things like customer data, your present inventory, and your future inventory based on the current demand. You could even automate office tasks like storing documents and receipts.
Data collection is a time-consuming task when done by hand. Automating the process frees up a team member to direct their attention to other tasks instead.
2. Manages Transportation of Goods
Today’s technology has produced a wide range of autonomous vehicles and drones. When your business commits to supply chain automation, you may consider an easier way to transport your goods from one location to another. Although these autonomous trucks and drones are a big investment up-front, it saves time and money since you don’t have to rely on physical manpower to get the job done.
3. Responds to Customer Requests
No matter what kind of business you’re in, you’ll likely have to answer customer requests from time to time. If you find that you’re frequently getting asked the same questions, it can be helpful to automate aspects of your customer service to assist customers. You can humanize the customer experience in the process, so don’t worry about it feeling like a bot.
For example, you can use bots to answer the most common questions your customers ask. This can free up additional time for you, which can then be directed to other important tasks. If the customer prefers to speak to a human, the bot can instruct them on how to get in touch.
4. Eliminates Human Error
Another benefit of implementing supply chain automation is that it cuts down on human error. As humans, we all make mistakes from time to time. That’s something we can’t have happening regularly when running a business. Automating certain tasks eliminates those errors and ensures the job gets done quickly and efficiently.
Ready to Implement Supply Chain Automation?
Now that you know the importance of agility and how helpful supply chain automation is, it’s time to implement these strategies in your business. Doing so will improve your efficiency and boost your overall success rate.
At Televerde, we provide end-to-end sales marketing solutions for a variety of industries. Learn more about what we do and how we can work together.