supply chain strategies

How New Supply Chain Strategies Can Spur Growth

As the growth of mid-market companies continues, business leaders are turning their attention to innovating new supply chain strategies to help products break into domestic and national markets. These strategies are designed to allow for the natural, progressive expansion of a company and to avoid outpacing and outgrowing existing supply chains.

Supply Chain Segmentation and Customization

One simple way to help better meet buyer demand is to segment your supply chain. Focusing on developing different supply chains that accommodate customer needs while weighing individual profitability can be vital to connecting products with their ideal customers.

Breaking down the segments according to customer needs and priorities (example: shipping speed versus prices) allows a business to tailor a supply chain for the customers you actually have, instead of a one-size-fits-all approach. It also allows a company to bundle in costs to a product where the market can sustain it.

Furthermore, ensuring suppliers are equipped to handle innovations in product technology and design is key. If, for instance, a computer manufacturer is transitioning to tablets, it would be wise to find suppliers that have a proven track record with glass screen production and where costs may be lower due to increased production.   

Automation and Data Integration

According to the ARC Advisory Group market study Warehouse Automation and Control Global Market Research Study, “research indicates that the warehouse automation market will see significant growth over the five-year forecast period.”

This comes at a time when innovations like Amazon’s Kiva robots are bringing increased efficiency to warehouse fulfillment, working at two to three times the rate of a human worker.

Such automation also makes the integration of business intelligence (BI) and data analysis programs easier and more direct. Through these in-depth data analysis systems, companies can more effectively pinpoint areas of slow-down or inefficiency within a supply chain.  

Modular Product Manufacturing and Outsourcing Warehouse Operations

With modular manufacturing, different components are produced at different locations. The product is then assembled at another location before being shipped to the customer.

This makes modular manufacturing ideal for outsourcing: you can choose a production location based on lowest cost, weighed against the cost of shipping. With production and shipping conducted off-site, the company benefits from:

  • Workflow simplification
  • Increased flexibility 
  • Cost savings
  • More comprehensive business intelligence

Outsourcing warehousing can also be beneficial in terms of helping to facilitate smoother e-commerce supply-chain operations, by ensuring your supply chains are local to global customers.

Focus on “Knowledge Work”

The abundance of data and analytic software, combined with automation and reduced need for warehouse staff, means that companies can devote a larger portion of their labor force to data synthesis and improving the efficiency of the supply chain. These knowledge workers can be allocated according to geography, while dispersing logistical planning centers, data analysis laboratories, and other vital parts of the supply chain in global locations.

Smart Growth

While any of the preceding strategies can lead to increased growth, the most important element is to ensure a company is prepared for growth. Building on core-competencies while mitigating the risk of overexpansion is of great importance. This requires careful analysis of business data to ensure that new markets can support and feed expansion.

Through use of segmentation, outsourcing, automation, data analysis and integration, and careful application of knowledge workers, the supply chain can be optimized to take advantage of innovations to suit projected growth. It is important to follow the data related to costs and scale workflow accordingly to encourage smart, sustainable expansion.

If you need a partner to help you strategically manage and successfully move your products out of the port and onto their final destination, be sure to download our latest eBook — Speeding Time-To-Shelf and Cutting Costs  a must read for today’s Logistics Managers.