Companies with efficient supply chains enjoy lower production and distribution costs and can quickly get products into consumer hands. A dependable supply chain also creates happier customers – something which bodes well for business success.

Supply chains start by procuring raw materials and components from various providers, before manufacturing transforms these raw materials into finished goods.

1. Sourcing

Anytime you need continuous replenishment, just-in-time inventory management or on-demand deliveries, having reliable suppliers is key to creating efficiency in downstream processes. Sourcing is an upstream process that can increase efficiencies through building relationships with suppliers and negotiating contracts.

Strategic Sourcing involves conducting extensive research, vetting and selecting suppliers that align with your supply chain operations at the lowest cost. Additionally, strategic sourcing may involve creating a network of supplier partners who work collaboratively on forecasting, inventory, transportation and warehouse management issues.

Tactical sourcing focuses on short-term purchases to meet immediate needs. It can incorporate social and environmental criteria into supplier selection processes. Responsible sourcing includes considering a supplier’s environmental practices and ethical standards as well as their costs and quality analysis.

2. Manufacturing

Businesses must ensure consumers can access the materials and finished products they need for business operations, which requires various supply chain management functions like production planning and quality control as well as warehouse storage until it’s time for shipping, as well as building relationships with delivery vendors.

As part of this stage, supply chain executives also manage returns if a product is damaged during transit or does not meet expectations in terms of quality. Due to geopolitical pressures such as changing trade policies that alter how raw materials can be sourced. To ensure transparency across their supply chains and ensure visibility at every stage, supply chain executives should implement processes for tracking orders at every level in the supply chain.

3. Logistics

Logistics encompasses all the functions, such as warehousing and transportation, that connect products from their manufacturer to customers. Additionally, this encompasses customer service, forecasting, inventory control management and inventory administration.

Companies depend on logisticians to set up networks of warehouses, distribution centers and trucks to transport raw materials, parts and finished goods across a range of environments. Their challenges range from controlling transportation costs and improving environmental sustainability of operations, to meeting daily operational demands of running their operation efficiently.

At its core, successful logistics strategies balance efficiency with speed to meet customer satisfaction. For instance, keeping large inventories of one product may not be cost-effective when considering potential cancellations or lost deliveries from customers; hence, top logisticians take such considerations into account to design cost-effective supply chain solutions.

4. Distribution

Supply chain management also involves getting goods and services directly to customers through warehouses, transportation companies and distribution centers.

Company with efficient distribution networks can reap significant financial gains by selling products at lower prices or providing superior after-sales support. Their supply chains also enable customers to quickly obtain what they require.

Channel intermediaries typically take care of all aspects of distributing goods, leaving producers free to focus on production. Channel intermediaries may consolidate similar stocks for greater efficiency – for instance 12 large Grade A eggs into one carton while allocating medium Grade B eggs separately – or combine lines of women’s dresses sold to the same customer separately. In addition, channel intermediaries often break bulk stocks down into smaller volumes as their product progresses down its channel path.

5. Customer Service

Customer service plays a vital role in any organization’s supply chain. Customer service representatives frequently serve as first points of contact between their customers and products/business purchased.

Maintaining exceptional customer service can be challenging in today’s complex supply chain environment, but companies can do their part to make customers satisfied by tailoring their supply chains to individual consumer needs from purchase through shipment delivery. This may involve custom transportation provisions for clients with specific shipping needs as well as collaboration between customer service staff and those responsible for packaging orders before transport.

Communication about shipment status and delays helps businesses satisfy customer needs. By modernizing global supply chain operations with advanced technologies, businesses can reduce delivery times while providing efficient updates to customers.

By Rob