Timing is everything: how to speed up your supply chain.

It’s the greatest truism in business – “Time is money” – and the more ways you find to shave time off certain functions in your supply chain, the more profit you stand to make and the fewer headaches you’ll have to endure. Here are some specific actions you can take:

Negotiate to get faster turnaround times.

Discuss lead times and production schedules with your suppliers to work out arrangements that are mutually beneficial. If your relationships with them are strong, you should be able to come together on a better situation.

Reduce transit times and costs.

Identify the fastest shipping route(s) within your budget. It might be that one option is less expensive but not as expeditious. You need to balance those factors to determine the choice best for your company.

Minimize lead times.

Have your manufacturing or assembly operations located as conveniently as possible. Proximity to suppliers, transportation hubs and end market is key.

Talk to local suppliers.

Find out if they can match the quality you require and if their costs can live within your budget. They should be able to be provide faster deliveries as well.

Coordinate logistics with the manufacturer.

When orders are shipped as soon as they’re ready, holding times and costs are reduced, and your supply chain moves along faster.

Stay on schedule and avoid delays.

How? One way is to develop a detailed project plan that tracks timelines for each process.

Consider doing pre-production samples.

This can accelerate the product-development process by minimizing the need for multiple rounds of sampling. Chalk up more savings in time.

Provide faithful input samples of your product.

You’ll avoid misunderstandings and delays when you give vendors input samples that they can replicate accurately.

Clear Customs faster.

Make sure you have all your required certifications and approvals in hand. A delay in Customs can throw everything off schedule since their duration can be unpredictable.

Keep production on track.

You need someone to coordinate production by providing timely feedback to factories and conducting followups.

Resolve design and structural issues.

Product engineers and industrial designers have the expertise to identify and fix problems that affect product quality and generate costly delays.

Monitor your technical product documentation.

On a regular basis it’s wise to proactively audit this documentation to discover any gaps that may cause delays.

Be ready with backups for raw materials.

You never know when politics or Mother Nature or some other force will make needed raw materials suddenly unavailable. Contingency planning is especially vital for materials that take longer to source or require custom manufacturing.

Think of Plan B’s when it come to molds.

Contingency planning is clearly critical for any products that involve molds. You need to have reliable alternatives in your back pocket to avoid production delays if your primary source can no longer deliver in a timely fashion. Again, you need to have solid relationships with vendors and suppliers in order to gain the cooperation needed to handle the unexpected.

Be ready for increased consumer demand.

You need to make certain that your vendors have the capacity to come through for you during periods of high demand and keep your customers happy. Stress the importance of realistic estimates and expectations.

Master the art of timing.

Create then implement robust demand forecasting and planning processes to ensure that you order materials and products at the right time with consideration for lead times and market demand.

Get expert help to achieve maximum savings in time.

Clearly, the number of factors you need to juggle in making supply-chain decisions is daunting, and doing-it-yourself is loaded with downsides.

For such a critical part of your overall operations, you need to partner with a company like Glovendor that is dedicated to optimizing supply chains for all manner of companies and industries.

What is described in this blog is their basic framework for helping companies understand and improve their supply chains by implementing changes that, among other things, speed up processes. Their G360 Audit™ covers this ground and is offered free of charge by Glovendor. You simply need to ask.