How to Improve Your Retail Supply Chain Management

Date: 14.06.2022 | Nastah- The Hand Protector

Today’s business landscape requires efficient supply chain management to keep up with the demand and never miss out on an opportunity.

Effective supply chain management can spell the difference between profitability and failure in today's highly competitive retail environment.

To ensure your business stays on top, follow these seven ways to improve your supply chain management practices.

1. Develop strong relationships with suppliers

Your suppliers are the backbone of your supply chain. Therefore, the first step to improving your supply chain should be to evaluate your supplier relationships. 

To be successful in retail, you need a strong working relationship with your vendors and manufacturers.

They are like an alliance - both parties want to work together and enhance the buyer/supplier bond through two-way communication that shares goals for continuous improvement and performance measurement.

The best way to build and strengthen a partnership with suppliers is through open and frequent communication.

2. Analyse your supply chain strategy

Successful supply chains are lean, cost-efficient, and resilient. Therefore, you should evaluate your supply chain strategy and goals to guarantee that you're using the best possible plan for your business.

Here are some questions to consider:

(i) Is my supply chain strategy in line with my business type?  

You need to make sure that your strategy suits the nature of your business.

For example, an online-only store might benefit from the flexibility offered by dropshipping. At the same time, B2B companies may want improved supply chains with a wholesale model that allows them to have greater control over inventory management and distribution channels.

(ii) Is my supply chain resilient? 

The COVID-19 pandemic crisis is a perfect example of the devastating consequences of supply chain disruption.

When the global pandemic hit, it caused a significant disruption in many industries. Gloves manufacturers were no exception and had seen their output increase significantly as they faced unprecedented high demand worldwide.

To protect your business against similar events in the future, consider partnering with backup vendors, manufacturers, and reliable logistics companies to ensure the resilience of your supply chain.

3. Embrace automation

While many retailers have adopted automation to some degree, forward-thinking companies are now seeing it as a way to cut costs, simplify processes and decrease human errors.  

Automation also offers greater visibility into shipping data. It can help you better understand how customers interact with your brand across all channels. 

Cloud-based software and real-time inventory tracking allow you to forecast demand accurately, which plays an integral part in running your business smoothly and predicting future trends.

AI and data-based algorithms can also help you identify trends in your product returns more accurately than ever before.

The result? 

A more efficient business that can respond quickly to changing customer demands and market conditions while also improving its bottom line.

4. Focus on customer satisfaction

The key in a service business is customer satisfaction.

Of course, you can offer less expensive products or of higher quality than your competitors. Still, if you don't make sure that customers are happy, they will go elsewhere.

On the other hand, if your product is similar to other companies in your field, then customer satisfaction is how you'll differentiate yourself and win. 

Think about what keeps customers coming back:

  • It could be fast delivery times.
  • It could be an easy returns policy.
  • It could be excellent customer service.

Whatever it is for your company, develop that element of differentiation and highlight it on all of your marketing materials. 

5. Process standardization and transparency 

Standardizing the processes is vital to ensure that the supply chain is successful. 

A transparent process will also help with monitoring.

For example, suppose you know where a product is at any time in its journey. In that case, you are more likely to be able to monitor and address issues before they arise. 

Standardization enables consistency, making it possible for everyone involved in a process, from production to retail and customer service teams, to understand their roles. When every step of a process is known and understood by all, there can be no surprises along the way. 

Transparency in processes leads to efficiency through reduced costs and delays, ultimately improving customer satisfaction. 

6. Dynamic Inventory Management

Inventory management is challenging for many businesses. By making it more dynamic, retailers can increase their overall efficiency in managing supply chains. 

Implementing smart and data-driven Sales and Operations Planning process can help with supply chain losses. 

Consistently review your inventory levels and ensure they're balanced with your business's needs. Work with your suppliers and manufacturers to emphasize demand planning and forecasting as another way to ensure optimal amounts of inventory.

7. Marketing and supply chain teams in sync

Working with a marketing team fully aligned with your supply chain can save a lot of time, money, and headaches.

For example, let's say you have a significant vendor on board for a massive promotion. That vendor has promised millions of units at deep discounts in exchange for shelf space and end cap displays. 

The discount works out great for you - getting an item at a lower price will always be better in a consumer's eyes.

However, suppose those items are going to take months to manufacture. Then, there's going to be an issue - it doesn't matter how much product you get if it isn't ready when needed. 

In Conclusion

There are many ways businesses can make improvements to their overall performance.

Supply chain management, the lifeblood of any retail company, is the practice of making sure that all parts of a business are working together seamlessly.

The most important decision for you as a retailer is choosing the supply chain management strategy that best fits your business model and customer needs.

Retail supply management should be an ongoing and dynamic process that adapts to your customers' evolving shopping expectations.

Strong collaboration with suppliers and manufacturers and leveraging technology can help you improve your retail supply management and accurately predict your supply needs.

Here at Nastah, we pride ourselves on being a company that can help your business succeed. We do this by providing efficient and effective glove manufacturing services for clients worldwide so they can serve their customers.

Get in touch with us if you're interested in learning more about what we have to offer or would like some professional advice from one of our experts.

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