Everything around you, unless you made it yourself, was made possible by reliable supply chains. Even if you did make something yourself, a supply chain was used to get the tools and materials to you. Here are four activities most supply chains include.
Supply chains start at the beginning. Modern supply chains involve collecting necessary physical materials, equipment, tools, and personnel. This step of sourcing involves various aspects, including:
- Acquiring raw materials through different processes
- Conception and design
- Negotiating with suppliers, engineers, and other key personnel
Many of the features and steps in supply chains overlay each other. Sourcing, for example, involves acquiring both materials as well as engineers for creating and building prototypes, and these steps involve other such as transportation and communication.
Reliable transportation that moves goods, whether raw materials or finished products, is an integral component of strong supply chains. You cannot receive ordered items in two days without dependable transport schedules in place. This involves everything from hiring drivers to keeping vehicles in good shape with reliable parts such as a strong frame cross member.
Transportation is all about movement of materials and finished products and anything in between such as tools and equipment. Supply chain transport involves delivering materials to manufacturers, new machine parts to factories, and delivering goods directly to stores and customers’ homes.
Manufacturing is a global business. Dresses, vehicles, and specialized electronics all must be assembled before they can be sold. This process is complicated and involves various aspects, including:
Production managers look for ways to improve processes. This can involve many aspects, from finding new suppliers to repairing older equipment or buying new machines to educating personnel on operational procedures. As the complicated web of supply chains continues to weave itself throughout today’s marketplace, production and sourcing link closely with transportation.
Good communication is vital for any business to be successful. For today’s supply chains, powerful communication helps boost employee morale, clearly express needs to suppliers, and powerfully yet politely handle disputes and missed schedules. Let communication flow at all levels of your company. Employees need to be able to express their concerns and ask questions, and information should travel up and down channels so that all feel they are part of the big picture, which they are.
Supply chains are intricate, interwoven networks that essentially get goods from here to there. This process involves many details, lots of scheduling, and complex organizational efforts. The next time you order something or select your favorite breakfast cereal in the grocery store, take a moment to consider the large number of people who made it possible for you to do this.