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StrategyDriven Tactical Execution Article

When You’re Tied Up In Supply Chains, You Need A Strategy

According to estimates by supply chain management organizations, the global supply chain market is worth more than $10 trillion a year. In short, it’s an enormous business, consuming some 6 percent of total world GDP, more than military spending and education combined. Getting our goods from one location to another is just really, really expensive.

As a company, managing your supply chain, organizing shipments and coordinating your efforts with other companies takes a lot of planning and effort. Here’s how to execute a great supply chain strategy without getting tied up in knots.

Get Better At Returns

Even in the most solid of supply chains, there’s a risk that either you or those further down the chain will receive goods they don’t want. This is an inevitable part of business and something which can never truly be eradicated. But it can become costly, especially if you don’t have the processes in place to reprocess or return items quickly.

StrategyDriven Tactical Execution Article
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Returns management should be a major focus. You need to inform all staff on a standardized return process so that if a return is required, it can be dealt with as quickly as possible without imposing further admin costs. With a good returns policy in place, your company can stand to benefit too. If you notice the same items coming back to you, again and again, you can collect data and use that information to improve your processes. Collecting proper records of returns helps to reduce defects and deliver a better quality product to your clients.

Monitor The Performance Of Vendors

StrategyDriven Tactical Execution Article
Photo courtesy of David Pogrebeshsky via Wikimedia Commons

As a business, you also depend heavily on the performance of your vendors. If they continually make late shipments or fail to supply adequate products, it can have a knock-on effect on your business. Making sure that your vendors are regularly monitored is essential. Monitoring provides you with direct evidence of their performance and allows you to target specific issues of concern. Today’s modern vendor management software provides all this information on an easy-to-understand dashboard, allowing you to see their performance in real time.

Improve Your Distribution Network Through Standardisation

If you’ve ever watched a large commercial logistics operation at work, you’ll have noticed something: everything is standardized. The reason for this is that standardization makes things predictable and easy to manage. Having the same model of truck, or the same kind of docking bay at a warehouse helps keep maintenance costs low and predictable. If you need a particular kind of truck, you can find a dealer here. Utilising the same equipment across your entire fleet allows workers and drivers to use any machinery that happens to be available without having to be retrained.

Use Data At Every Stage Of The Process

Businesses are beginning to realize that data holds the key to greater efficiency and profits. With the right data collection methods, you’re able to collect information about precisely what’s in your inventory, what’s on its way to your warehouse or facility, and what needs to be shipped in the next hours, days or weeks. The gives you an unprecedented ability to control and manage your stock and provides you with clear guidelines about which jobs have to be done by when.

Reduce Waste, Shrinkage, And Fraud

Supply chains aren’t impervious to human error or malicious acts. They can be exploited by criminals within your organization, or become the victims of accidents. Some companies never fully investigate leakages like this, while others make a point of it. A leak in your supply chain could ultimately wind up costing you a lot of money. That’s why leading companies always make sure that the numbers reported in their software matches up to the figures after a physical count.

The best way to do this is to use scanning technology. Rather than have workers go out and manually count all the items in your inventory (with all the human error associated with that process), it’s much better to count items both in and out of your facility so that you can isolate problems in your supply chain. Running a tight ship will quickly tell you whether shrinkage problems are arising upstream or downstream from your facility. Once this happens, you can then pass on your data to the affected parties and help them resolve any security issues they may be having.

Automate Everything

Automation technology has come on leaps and bound in recent years. The annual demand for tactile robots is doubling, and by 2020, the market for robots will be nearly 10 times what it was in 2010. With so many robots coming onto the market, the cost of automating supply chain processes is going to fall dramatically: in fact, it is already.

Currently, the majority of robots are software-based. They do things like buy inventory automatically if levels start to fall, negating the need for human administrators. They’re also able to monitor inventory levels and issue warnings if levels fall too low and production is jeopardized.

In the future, robots will become an increasingly important part of the entire supply chain process. Driverless trucks will deliver payloads to robotic warehouse robots, which will then ferry components to their designated areas. The only job for humans will be to supervise the process, and fix the robots when they go wrong.

Get Your Team To Understand The Cost Of Managing A Supply Chain

A supply chain is an interdependent economic construct. Each element in the chain depends, indirectly, on the costs imposed by every other link. Although it is difficult to communicate across companies and coordinate, getting your own team to cooperate on matters of cost is a lot easier. Make sure that senior managers in your company are talking to each other and understand how costs they impose on their part of the supply chain impacts other departments. Knowing exactly where your business is spending money is a surefire way to improve the performance of parts of the business which are not so cost-sensitive. Having a central database of departmental costs across your entire company will make it easier for you to streamline your operations.

Want to Run a More Digitally Savvy Business? Here’s How to Make That Transition

Your business is not going to carry on being successful if it gets stuck in a rut. These days more than ever, businesses are expected to be up to date and to move with the times. Right now, that means running companies in more digitally savvy ways. Is that something that you’re going to be able to do? And if not, what future does your business even have? These issues need to be given your thought.

Making the transition to a more digitally savvy approach to business doesn’t have to mean stepping out into the dark, though. It’s perfect possible for your company to make that transition smoothly and swiftly. If you want to make that happen, you just need to take these steps.

Set Up Profiles on the Most Relevant Social Media Platforms

If your business does not currently have profiles on all of the relevant social media website, this is something that has to change fast. But what makes a platform relevant to your company? Well, it all depends on who your target customers are and who you want to engage with. If you want to connect with young people, then sites like Tumblr could be really useful. And it tends to be the case that older people are more likely to use Facebook over all other social media platforms as well.

Market Through Content

Good content is a really important factor that your business should be making the most of if it isn’t already. It’s not just a way of offering something to your customers, it’s also about marketing your company. Content marketing is a big deal right now. You can outsource this to an external company if you want to, or you can do it alone. It covers everything from setting up a blog on your business’s website to guest blogging and making contact with important industry influencers in the blogosphere.

Track the Metrics That Matter

Metrics are important when it comes to measuring and assessing the effectiveness of your website. If you want your website to do well, it needs to be easy for people to use. If that’s not the case, if it’s hard to use or hard to find what people want, your metrics should let you see that. When you have that information at hand, you can then have changes made to your website, so that it will be easier for future visitors to make use of your website in the way that you want them to.


Photo courtesy of Pixabay

Make Use of Mobile

Everyone has a mobile phone, and your business should make use of that if you want to make sure that your business is operating in this century. The mobile-friendly website is an essential asset. If your business does not have one, you could be alienating a large part of your audience. As many as 50% of people now use their phones as the primary way to browse the internet, and that means your website too. You could also make use of an app if you want to make it easy for people to buy from you. It will then be possible to send out push notifications too.

Understand the Role of Search Engines

Search engines are massive these days, and you can’t afford to ignore them if you want to run your business in a way that is digitally savvy. For most people, search engines are the conduit through which all new websites that they use and buy from are found. This is the norm now, and it means that you are going to have to be able to use search engines to your advantage. When you have a website, you want it to be found, so use SEO techniques to make that possible. Your ranking will steadily rise, and so will your traffic.

Develop Your Online Audience

Your audience is out there using the internet, whether you engage with them or not. So, it makes sense to jump on this and start engaging with them as much as you possibly can. If your business doesn’t do this, there will always be another business out there that’s willing to make those connections and to help people if you’re not able to. You don’t want to open the door to other companies. Your business should be the one out there that captures people’s imaginations. You should use influencers to engage with your audience and to develop it too.

Start Making Use of Automation

Automation is one of those things that can seem scary and daunting. It’s often only talking about in negative terms, but that doesn’t need to be the case. Automation can actually open up a world of possibilities for your business, and you shouldn’t forget that. If you automate many of the things that your business does, you will be able to offer people a services that is faster and more efficient. It can even make it easier to manage your office and take care of the small but time-consuming duties that everyone hates so much.

Know Where Customers Head to When They Want What You Offer

If you want to succeed in a digital landscape, you need to be aware of where to find your customers. There are plenty of ways in which people use the internet to find the services that they are looking for each and every day. There are websites where companies can list their services for people to browse. As well as that, Google allows businesses to list their services. If you make the most of this, people will be able to find what you offer via Google Maps. That’s a pretty big deal, and it can really increase the amount of customers you get.


Photo courtesy of Pixabay

These days, it’s only the most digitally savvy businesses that find success and do well in the market. If you can’t get up to date and run your business in a properly modern way, you probably won’t do very well, so take the tips above seriously and put them to use.

StrategyDriven Tactical Execution Article

Don’t Get Left In The Dust! How Inefficiency Can Cause Serious Problems For Your Business

When it comes to your business, there is one resource that is more valuable than any other. Many people will assume that this resource is money, and while that’s certainly a valid answer, it’s not quite the correct one. The single most valuable resource in your business is, in fact, time. This is because time is the only thing that, once you’ve spent it, you can never get it back. There’s no way to undo wasted time which means the most important thing for you to do is to make sure that you’re using your time as effectively as possible. However, many businesses end up falling into the trap of becoming incredibly inefficient simply because they don’t understand how to manage their time correctly. In order to prevent that from happening to you, here are some ways to make your business more efficient.

Planning and scheduling

StrategyDriven Tactical Execution Article
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One of the most common mistakes that a lot of new business owners make is that they attempt to jump right into something without planning it carefully first. This desire is pretty sympathetic, after all, most people want to be doing something genuinely productive with their time. However, this actually ends up wasting more time because trying to play things by ear always leads to mistakes getting made and pointless threads being followed. The best thing that you can do is to take the time to plan out every move you make in regards to your business, both on a macro and micro level. Think about the overall trajectory of your business, think about the small, day-to-day interactions that you’re going to have. If you can plan everything down to the smallest detail, then you’re always going to be able to handle whatever new information is thrown at you.

Employee management

There’s no denying that your employees are one of the most important parts of your business as a whole. However, there are plenty of occasions where they can cause issues in terms of the efficiency of your business. For one thing, you want to make sure that you’re bringing in the right people who will always try to push your business forward. Similarly, the use of workforce management software can be incredibly valuable. It allows you to monitor when employees are clocking in and out as well as managing everything from paid leave to payroll.

Delegation

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One of the most common reasons that a lot of smaller businesses end up failing is that the business owner simply attempts to take on too much at once. Because of the level of personal investment, you have in your business, handing over parts of it to other people can be difficult. However, trying to handle everything yourself if not only going to be dangerous for your personal health but is also going to cause serious problems for your business. By delegating tasks to managers and supervisors, you’re able to ensure that each and every aspect of your business gets the attention and care that it requires, rather than attempting to spread yourself so thin that nothing really gets done.

StrategyDriven Tactical Execution Article

Why Does Elon Musk Insist On Bamboo Flooring In His Car Plants?

Tesla hopes that by the end of next year, it’ll be churning out more than half a million cars a year, a significant uptick from the current rate of about 100,000. And where will all of those cars be inspected? On a bamboo floor right at the end of the factory’s production line.

Why you might ask, would Tesla CEO Elon Musk insist on a bamboo floor to inspect cars? What is so special about the flooring? As always, Musk has his reasons. He believes that if you’re going to inspect a product for quality, then whatever is framing that product must also be beautiful and flawless. Bamboo flooring is, by most accounts, stunning. And so by using this flooring, Musk hopes that it will emphasize any defects in cars coming off the production line. It’s almost like the cars themselves have to graduate from an art masterclass before they’re allowed out onto the streets.

StrategyDriven Tactical Execution Article
Photo courtesy of Maurizio Pesce via Wikimedia Commons

What can this level of attention to detail teach other businesses? Why does something as apparently insignificant as a bamboo inspection floor mean so much to people like Musk?

It all comes down to the environment. Musk doesn’t see the elements of his company in isolation. There’s not an executive, a board, a marketing team, a production team or any other arbitrary group. Instead, the whole business environment is a living, breathing entity – and like other entities, it’s affected by its environment. Can you emulate this approach to environment in your business?

Cleanliness

Factories are supposed to be dirty places full of oil, dirt, and dust. But to talk a walk in Musk’s Fremont plant in California is to enter what seems like a clean room that just so happens to be making cars. Musk says that working environments need to be perfectly clean to ensure that no compromises are made on the product. A clean environment is an environment which employees unconsciously respect, whereas, in a dirty environment, they are more likely to make careless errors and accept second best.

StrategyDriven Tactical Execution Article
Photo courtesy of Maurizio Pesce via Wikimedia Commons

This is why professional commercial floor cleaning is such big business in offices up and down the land. Bosses realize that in order to get the best out of their team, they need to work in a spotless environment.

Stunning Lighting

Musk’s car factory is one of the largest buildings in the world by footprint. But despite that, it’s also one of the brightest. When the factory was first bought, it was a dark and dingy place. But since moving in, it’s become light and airy, thanks to the installation of hundreds of skylights and LED ceiling lamps.

StrategyDriven Tactical Execution Article
Photo courtesy of Bill in SF via Wikimedia Commons

Why is this important? Well, it turns out that employees who are exposed to natural light are more productive than those who aren’t. If natural light isn’t possible in your offices for any reason, try supplementing it with naturally-coloured artificial lighting instead.

Allow Desk Customisation

Finally, allow desk customization. Research shows that employees who are able to make their desks a little more homely work harder and longer than those that aren’t.

StrategyDriven Entrepreneurship Article

Outsourcing: The Hottest Thing In Business

StrategyDriven Entrepreneurship Article
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When you’re in business, it’s very hard to fall behind. So many new advances, trends, and ways of doing things pop up all of the time – meaning you hear about them pretty much as soon as they land. Some will benefit your business, others will be irrelevant, and then you’ll find the trends that stick. Because some of them will just work for your business. One of these is likely to be outsourcing. It’s nothing all that new, but as trends go, it’s certainly making waves out there in the business world right now. If you want to grow your business, improve your productivity, and generally operate well, here are some of the key areas you could consider outsourcing.

Sales

Not everyone is comfortable with the sales process, and that’s okay. When you own your own small business, or you’ve just started out, it’s highly likely that you’ll be tackling the majority of the sales process yourself. And if you’re not a natural, it can be something that you dread. So, instead of suffering, why not look at outsourcing it to an expert? With a sales consultant, their compensation is often results lead, so you’ve got nothing to lose.

Production

Then there’s the actual administering of your business operations. If you manufacture a product, why not look into outsourcing it? Even if it means you have to send cutting services to one expert, R&D to another, and packing to a specialist, if it speeds up your productivity and is cost-effective, it makes sense. Even if you provide a service, you could outsource some areas of the work to free up your time for more important things.

Marketing

As a small business or startup, do you often find yourself saying that you’ll market more, and never find the time for it? If you’ve answered yes, don’t feel guilty, you’re not the only one. When you wear different hats, and you’re just trying to get your work done, marketing and promotions often get put to the bottom of the priority list. But that’s one of the benefits of outsourcing your marketing – it gets done for you. Plus, it will be experts handling your strategy, meaning they could probably do a better job that you anyway.

Finance

If you’re not a natural when it comes to numbers, you probably hate having to deal with them. Looking at budgets and forecasts and even filing your taxes can be a lot of work. So, outsource it. You can hire an accountant to take care of the regulatory stuff and even filing your taxes. And if you really don’t want to deal with anything yourself, get an assistant in to run the day to day stuff for you too.

Administration

When you’re really busy and are trying to put all of your efforts into growing your business, you’ll probably find that you just don’t have the time to take on all of the admin that needs to get done. Or, worse, you’re spending your time and efforts on the admin and not growing your business. Either way, you need a VA. A virtual assistant can take on all of the annoying admin that you hate doing, and probably get it done a lot quicker than you could too – because they’re a pro!