How To Create A Good Relationship With Your Suppliers

Suppliers provide the crucial goods and services that you require to successfully run a business. This is why it is important to create a good relationship with them. Often businesses can fail because they haven’t worked on establishing a good working relationship with their suppliers. It’s best to think about what each supplier offers rather than the cost. Of course, you need to think about managing costs overall however building a good relationship and having an excellent level of understanding between you and your supplier is just as important.

StrategyDriven Tactical Execution Article | How To Create A Good Relationship With Your Suppliers

Suppliers can provide quality materials and help you acquire what you need. If you have great communication levels between you they will often have a quick turn around. Meaning that Gasket Seal that you need pronto to complete a job is more likely to arrive promptly. In order to meet deadlines and targets, you will find that you sometimes have to ask them to go the extra mile and having a relationship with a supplier can go a long way into making this possible. Just like when creating a client base, you need to create a solid record of professional and timely behavior combined with the added personal touch.

Have a look below at some of the ways you can help to create a good relationship with your suppliers:

Pay On Time

You have to remember that your supplier is also a business, and this means that they want to earn money and get paid just like you do. If you know that you might have problems meeting your obligations, make sure this is worked into the contract you have between you before signing. It’s always best to be upfront when experiencing problems with payment. So, give your supplier a call as soon as you know of a problem and reach out to them in order to arrange a payment date. This is a much better working practice than leaving it and waiting for them to chase you for payment of overdue accounts.

Make An Effort To Know Them

It’s far to easy to keep things online and via email nowadays however phone calls and face-to-face go a long way in business and should be considered as important. Although everything can be done with emails it’s best to get to know your suppliers and catch up once in a while. Try visiting their office or inviting them to any company functions. Coffee or lunch is a great none pressured way to network with existing and potential suppliers, it enables you to build a personal rapport.

Make It Easy For Them

You should aim to give your suppliers adequate lead time and always communicate your needs. Crises can’t always be avoided, however, your suppliers won’t appreciate your custom if your their client that always rings last minute for supplies. Your suppliers aren’t going to be able to anticipate your needs although on occasions they may be able to supply at last minute.  What you order may need time to prepare, and sometimes they need to order in parts themselves. Work with suppliers closely and make sure they understand what your future needs may be. The more they know the better.

These are just three ways that you can help to create a good relationship with your suppliers, do have any others that you can share in the comments section below?

Logistics For Your Business

It can become somewhat of a conundrum. Working out how to get your products from the manufacturers, to the storage, and then from that warehouse to the customer. All of the logistics need to be worked out and in play pretty early on in your business planning. Setting up your website, working on getting finances sorted, they are all part and parcel of a startup too. If you are selling a physical product then you’re going to need your logistical situation setup or at least well thought out and ready to go.

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Before we take a look at the different points that go into logistics it is important to know how it will impact your business and what it actually is.

Many people get logistics confused with supply-chain. It is a part of it, but the two terms aren’t interchangeable. Logistics is the movement of goods and supply chain is that movement – however, it is also sourcing, cost of goods, relationship management and everything else.

“Leaders win through logistics. Vision, sure. Strategy, yes. But when you go to war, you need to have both toilet paper and bullets at the right place at the right time. In other words, you must win through superior logistics.”
 
Tom Peters – Rule #3: Leadership Is Confusing As Hell
Fast Company, March 2001

Priorities

It is something that most of the tie you don’t even think about. Because we are so used to having our deliveries the next working day, or same day. And when we go into a shop, we expect the products to be on the shelves. But behind the scenes, there are a lot of logistics in play. It has to be a well-oiled machine. When you are a customer, you get irritated when things aren’t available when you think they should be. When you are the owner – you need to make sure everything is where it should be.

Speed and cost will influence each other, and your customers too – what matters more? Speed or cost?

Planning

The whole process relies heavily on your ability to plan production and demand. You will know that you need 6 weeks for X product to arrive from China, and 3 weeks from mainland EU – so you can opt for a lower price for a longer shipping time. And you will then have a longer lead-in time for the product launch and release.

Process

You are going to want to try out a few different types of freight methods. If you have planned correctly, you can choose to have a more extended travel time, slower, but ultimately cheaper way or you have time to find the right contract logistics company for you. Your internal logistics matters here too. How fast can you process orders? Working on the basis that your initial planning has gotten products from manufacturers to your warehouse in good time, you’re ready to ship to customers.

If you are promising a specific shipping date, then you should make sure that you are 100% sure that is what you will be doing. Managing your customer’s expectations is always the aim. The whole logistics process is what will keep your business running smoothly and your customers happy.

Warehouse Working Tips

StrategyDriven Tactical Execution Article |Warehouse|Warehouse Working TipsWorking in a warehouse or owning a warehouse as part of a business as is a unique way of working. Instead of sitting behind a desk in an office all day you’ll be categorising, organising and sending out products from your location and coordinating deliveries to the business.

A warehouse is an important component of any business and this year we are going to see exactly how it can benefit you this year with these easy tips.

Review and mend

The first tip for effective working in a warehouse is to review the effectiveness of current processes and work out how to change them. Now and again you will need to think about the best way to review your processes and this could be something which changes the dynamic and productivity of the space.

Warehouse layout

The layout of a warehouse needs to make sense. There’s no point in having the least sold products right at the front of the warehouse where they are easier to access and the highest sellers in an awkward place. It is always important to have a receiving area and office next to the doors where trucks will load and unload items. And also make sure that your packing area is close to the doors for easy distribution.

Forecast ahead

The warehouse of an office needs to always keep an eye on the future when to comes to products. For example now that winter is slowly on its way you may receive shipments of Christmas gear and you will want to leave this in an easy access location as these will be used very soon. Always think about what will be trending and which products will move fast and arrange your shelves accordingly.

Keep on top of stock

The most basic thing you need to be able to do as a business owner is keep in the loop with your stock and know when you should be getting more of a product ordered. You should have a spreadsheet which marks down the inventory every time an item is ordered and this will ensure that you always know where you stand and that you can always make the most of your deliveries to the office.

Train your staff

Working in a warehouse is a lot different to working in an office and it is incredibly
Important that you train your staff and keep them safe. For example when products need to be moved around the warehouse you will need to train your employees with a forklift operating licence to ensure that they can move items safely. You need to also train those who don’t have a licence to be careful when a forklift truck is on the move and to always wear a hi-vis jacket and stay in sight of the machine. Accidents can happen in a warehouse so make sure that your employees are aware and know how to stay safe.

6 Tips for Making Your Warehouse Profitable

Warehousing and logistics is an industry in significant flux right now. External factors like the meteoric rise of eCommerce and the trucking capacity crunch have created an environment where few can predict what the next day will bring. In such a time, it’s critical for warehouses to operate with both efficiency and flexibility — but many businesses still haven’t taken a good hard look at their warehouse and logistics operations for opportunities to streamline processes and reduce waste.

With so many big changes rippling through the warehouse industry, now is the time to take advantage of recent advances to make truly impactful improvements. Whether a business is getting a new warehouse set up for the first time or seeking an efficiency boost for existing warehouse assets, there are some key best practices that will help use today’s best technological assets to create a productive and profitable work environment.

StrategyDriven Tactical Execution Article | 6 Tips for Making Your Warehouse Profitable
 
1. Get the data needed to make the right choices.

A business that doesn’t have the right data will find it much harder to make the right choices, particularly when it comes to logistics. Businesses must ensure that their data tracking is relevant, accurate and robust. A few key questions to determine the state of a warehouse’s data tracking include:

  • Do inventory monitoring systems provide an accurate picture of what’s actually in stock?
  • Is it easy to pull up a report on KPIs, including historical performance data?
  • Are returns efficiently tracked and managed?
  • Do the currently targeted KPIs give an accurate picture of profitability drivers?
  • Is data accessible in real time as orders flow through the system?
  • Are all lots fully traceable?

Many warehouses are still lagging behind in data collection capacity. For those with room to grow in this area, it’s time to begin looking at solutions that collect data, consolidate it and make it easy to use.

2. Optimize information flows with an ERP system.

Today’s business has to deal with a head-spinning array of data streams, so it’s critical to have a platform that can collate them all and help find the narratives in the numbers. Many businesses don’t want to admit that their data collection on their warehouses isn’t as robust as it could be. However, there are some technologies that can help, namely enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems.

ERP systems first came to prominence in the ’90s, but today’s sleek, cloud-based ERP models have little in common with the bulky and hard-to-use software of the earlier era. These high-performance distribution and manufacturing software products provide a common platform to collect all of a warehouse’s most important data, including:

  • Inventory burn rates and reordering thresholds
  • Inventory carrying costs
  • Backorders and backorder rates
  • Order lead times
  • Picking accuracy and time
  • Receiving and shipping data
  • Customer information

These powerful platforms are often now available on a software as a service model, reducing the initial investment required as well as the work needed to install them. In an economy plagued with continued uncertainty, ERP systems have emerged as a key tool to reduce waste and create more efficient logistics strategies.

3. Analyze and refine the picking process.

In many warehouses, the picking process forms the bulk of the average employee’s job. Thus, any warehouse that can find ways to reduce costs while maintaining efficiency in picking will find itself at a significant advantage in becoming profitable. Many businesses even pay warehousing consultants to refine their processes, but it’s possible to start a little smaller and still see great results.

One of the simplest ways to increase picking speed is to organize inventory more effectively. The “ABC System,” which organizes items by which ones are most frequently picked, is one of the most widely known and effective. But there are numerous organization schemes a business can employ to create an efficient warehouse, and the most important thing is to choose one that suits the company’s unique needs.

StrategyDriven Tactical Execution Article | 6 Tips for Making Your Warehouse Profitable
 
4. Evaluate technology training practices.

If the employees aren’t trained to use it fully and correctly, having the latest technology won’t create the benefits most businesses are looking for. Many warehouses operate in an adequacy mindset, where employees know how to use the technology just well enough to perform their required duties. One of the best ways to maximize the profitability of a technology investment is to offer in-depth employee training that helps users gain a more thorough understanding of the technology they use.

One great place to start? Many technology companies offer webinars and training materials that are targeted to help workers use their products more effectively. Warehouses should take advantage of these resources, as there’s no better way to learn about a technology than to work with the teams who built it.

5. Maximize the value of inventory real estate.

Storage space is the bread and butter of a warehouse, so it’s important that the use of that space be optimized. A business is paying for every square foot of space they rent or buy, and most businesses have some square footage in their warehouse that’s simply not pulling its weight value-wise. Some strategies to improve the value of space assets include:

  • Reducing on hand inventory of slow-moving items
  • Using forecasting models to guide inventory decisions
  • Creating vertical storage systems that allow more inventory storage per square foot
  • Ensuring an accurate count of inventory
  • Renting out unused space in the warehouse to other businesses

6. Automate where it makes the most sense.

Automation is one of the most prominent trends in the warehousing and logistics sector, but each business must find its own way to harness the power of these technologies. Any or all of the following can create great results when applied to the right business model:

  • Using pick process algorithms to generate pick route maps for employees
  • Creating a system that automatically selects shipping and packing methods based on product type
  • Using collaborative robots to work alongside pickers and packers to make processes more efficient
  • Implementing an RFID system to make scanning and inventory faster
  • Using automated route planning systems to optimize routes and minimize trip and idle times for vehicle fleets

One important caveat: While automation is the wave of the future, the technology still isn’t fully mature yet, which means that there will likely be many more periods of growth and change to come. Businesses should be careful about betting too heavily on one kind of automation technology that could become obsolete in the next few years.

StrategyDriven Tactical Execution Article | 6 Tips for Making Your Warehouse Profitable
 
While the unsettled current state of logistics poses challenges, it’s also a time of significant growth and opportunities. Businesses able to harness the new waves of logistics tech and combine it with solid grounding in the fundamentals will find that new pathways are opening up every day for those with the vision to see them.

3 Reasons Why Your Kitchen Staff Are Underperforming

StrategyDriven Entrepreneurship Article | 3 Reasons Why Your Kitchen Staff Are UnderperformingCustomer wait time is one of the most important metrics in the restaurant industry. You could have everything right, but if the service times are too long, this will eventually play against your establishment. How good your kitchen staff are will have an effect on that, but you could also be making mistakes that are hindering workflow and making things more difficult for them. Here are some of the possible reasons why your staff aren’t performing as well as they should.

Your Kitchen Doesn’t Reflect Your Current Needs

If you’ve bought an old establishment and kept some of the equipment as part of the deal, then it might not fit the current demand. For instance, if your cold room is too small for your current needs, not only will it make things difficult when staff are trying to find things, or go in and out, you could end up facing some health violations because you ran out of space and had to cut corners.

If that is the case, we strongly suggest you invest in a bespoke cold room. This will allow you to build one that will take minimal space in the kitchen while still being efficient. You’ll be able to organise the storage in a way that fits your needs the most. Companies like fridgefreezerdirect.co.uk can build all types of cold rooms and walk-in freezers according to your exact specifications. Look for a provider that can build one that will fit the best within your kitchen’s floor plan.

You’re Using Time Wasting Processes

In many cases, you could get things done much faster if you reconsider some of your processes. For instance, if you only have a few burners available, but have a huge convection oven, you could use the convection oven to cook rice by using rice, water, and foil covered metal containers instead. You shouldn’t be afraid of the freezer either. There will be little difference between a frozen soup base or tomato sauce and a fresh one, so consider cooking more in batches and use the freezer when you can without sacrificing quality.

The Floor is Unsafe

If people don’t feel safe in the kitchen, they will not perform as well. They will constantly be afraid of causing an accident or seriously injuring themselves. This is why your kitchen’s layout has to be organised with safety in mind first and foremost.

With an ergonomic design, you’ll be able to reduce the amount of movement your employees have to make. Proper lighting and ventilation are essential as well. No one wants to work in a smelly, smoke filled kitchen. Your employees have to be able to see what they’re doing as well to avoid accidents.

Improving your kitchen’s productivity comes down to a few simple principles. Make sure that you take a look at how your kitchen is designed and look for possible pain points. And don’t be afraid to ask your staff for recommendations either.