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6 Best Practices in Supply Chain Planning for Global Logistics

Effective supply chain planning impacts every part of logistics, allowing you to get products to customers more efficiently. With supply chain planning software, you can better organize each part of the supply chain to optimize costs and improve customer services. Consider these supply chain planning best practices to help avoid supply chain disruption and best service your customers. 

1. Create Data-Driven Demand Forecasts

Accurate supply and demand forecasting is crucial in planning your supply chain. By analyzing historical information and market trends, you know how much inventory you need on hand to meet customer demand without having excess inventory. With an abundance of data to analyze, consider using advanced technology, including artificial intelligence (AI). AI can quickly sift through your past data, along with external data, for supply chain demand planning. 

These solutions consider fluctuations in purchasing behavior, market trends and insights, social media chatter, weather data, and much more to anticipate potential demand levels. With these predictions, you can ace demand planning and manage your inventory levels to best meet customer demand all year. For best results, use a cloud-based inventory management platform or a software solution that integrates with your existing system. 

Fragmented or missing data can make AI predictions less accurate and negatively impact inventory planning. 

2. Maintain Optimal Inventory Levels

Supply chain professionals understand the risks of carrying too much or too little inventory. If your inventory doesn’t meet customer demand, you risk providing bad customer service and losing out on sales. Too much inventory costs you money to store, and you eventually have to find a way to unload it. 

With supply chain planning tools, such as inventory management software, you can keep your inventory at the right level to meet customer needs all year. In addition to data-driven forecasting, you can automate parts of your warehouse management processes and you know your inventory data will be accurate. Instead of your employees working with paper orders and tracking slips and updating inventory in the system manually, you can choose a solution that tracks orders and shipments and automatically updates inventory levels. 

With these tools, you can set alerts when supplies are running low and order more stock. 

3. Leverage Technology To Gain Real-Time Visibility

Supply chain planning systems aren’t limited to inventory management. A robust solution will give you visibility into each part of your supply chain. Use these tools to track inventory from beginning to end or to monitor transportation. This data will help you better estimate your average time to consumer so you can manage customer expectations from the start. 

Choose a solution that also alerts you of delays. Supply chain disruptions happen, but knowing about them can help you offer better customer service. If you know about a delay in advance, you can call the customer and work on a solution. 

With real-time visibility into your supply chain operations and assets, you can optimize shipping routes, manage your warehouse operations, and optimize production capacity. 

4. Develop Robust Risk Mitigation Strategies

If the past few years have taught us anything it’s that supply chains are vulnerable. Planning in supply chain management allows you to anticipate risks and develop strategies to tackle them when they arise. Common risk management strategies include: 

  • Auditing your suppliers
  • Assessing how potential risks could impact your business
  • Diversifying suppliers
  • Researching each supplier
  • Verifying insurance coverage
  • Sharing information

Use a supply chain management planning system to perform these tasks and develop protocols for market fluctuations, environmental risks, and vendor-associated risks. Some planning supply chain solutions allow you to run risk assessments directly in the software. With this data, you can create contingency plans and be prepared when disruptions occur. 

5. Promote Collaboration Among All Supply Chain Partners

Communication is key to an agile supply chain. When all members of the supply chain can collaborate seamlessly, your business becomes more resilient. Involve your partners in the planning process. Ask them to contribute historical data for demand management, forecasting, and production planning. 

Collaboration is not limited to external partners. Make sure every department involved in production and logistics participates in the planning process. Your front office team may not be as familiar with distribution center or dock workflows. Tap into your dock managers, warehouse team, and front-line employees while operations planning. 

Each member of your supply chain can offer valuable data you can use to streamline supply chain processes and make them more efficient. Collaboration strategies include: 

  • Real-time data sharing
  • Supply chain visibility
  • In-context messaging and communication

You can achieve seamless collaboration with collaboration software that integrates with your other supply chain planning solutions. 

6. Continuously Monitor and Evaluate Your Supply Chain Metrics

Supply chain planners are always trying to improve efficiency, and the right software gives them the tools they need to make it happen. Supply chain planning software makes it easy to set goals and track key performance indicators to meet your goals.

By tracking data, you can identify your strengths and weaknesses and develop strategies for improvement. After tracking time to customer, you might notice a supplier that is consistently delaying your processes. Or you might notice parts of your operational workflows you could improve to speed up your manufacturing time.

With this data in hand, you can make changes to processes and procedures or look for new vendors that will allow you to meet customer needs more effectively. Continuous monitoring also helps you understand which supply chain disruptions are temporary and which may require you to change your processes. 

Let Surgere Transform Your Supply Chain Planning

Planning is an essential part of supply chain management. The right software solution gives you real-time visibility into your whole supply chain and allows you to make better decisions. Surgere’s solution gives you end-to-end visibility with accurate data to drive your decision-making. 

Our IoT solutions can help you with inventory management, warehouse management, operations planning, and much more. We offer a one-step solution to improve communication and collaboration between your team and your external partners. 

Use our planning tools to better manage your inventory and logistics and get a leg up on your competition. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you. 

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