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How to Manage Your Supply Chain

Good customer service means meeting or exceeding customer expectations on a consistent basis. What customers expect is that you’ll have what they want, when they want it.


Effectively managing your supply chain is a key component to meeting these expectations.

Why Bad Supply Chain Management Will Cause Lost Customers

If you don’t have good supply chain management, you’re at risk of not having the inventory necessary to meet your customers’ demands. Having to back order an item for a customer isn’t a competitive way to do business, especially in the internet age. The search engine has leveled the playing field for consumers. If your business doesn’t have what the customer wants in stock right when they want it, they can very easily find it somewhere else. With a global sourcing and fulfillment economy, you’re no longer just competing with local businesses – you’re competing with companies all over the world.

How the Internet Affects the Process

In addition to creating a global market, the internet has made information and knowledge more readily available. Before the internet, you would have had to hire experts in warehouse management, or learned by trial and error, to have an efficient distribution system in place. Now, with easily created websites, drop-shipping, and affiliate programs, new distributors can enter the market in a very short order and can appear to have the same expertise that it took you years to develop.


Then there is the addition of software and business management systems like enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems. These tools, due to their high price tags, used to be reserved for big corporations with big budgets. As the software for smaller businesses has become more sophisticated and affordable, however, another playing field has been leveled: the one between small distributors and large distributors.


You just can’t continue doing things the way you used to.


Changing the Way You Manage Your Supply Chain

In order to improve profitability and exceed customer expectations, you need to be able to forecast demand and manage supply more accurately. Many distributors are buying from overseas – Mexico, China, South America, etc. – and ordering overseas changes the way you do business. As an example, China’s warehouses don’t operate the way those in the United States does. Although you may have requested expedited shipping on items ABC, DEF, and QRS, the shipper in China may also have shipped item XYZ even though it was on a different purchase order.


Tracking all these purchase orders, their status, billing, receiving and clearing them through customs (if arriving from overseas) is where you can differentiate your company through the management of your supply chain. If you attempt this in Excel, you need information like: “containers XX and YY are on vessel Z. Vessel Z is scheduled to arrive on X date.” For the overseas orders you have to then anticipate the customs processes and delays and it only gets more complicated as your volume of purchases and number of vendors increases.


Not only is this process tedious and time consuming, it’s also prone to errors. For example, it’s very easy to transpose numbers or type a 3 instead of an 8, especially if the information you receive is written versus typed. Spreadsheets or self-built databases only increase the potential for lost or corrupted data.

Learning how to manage your supply chain with software that automates many of these processes will make you a stronger, more competitive business. This is one of the key areas where we help our clients exceed expectations.


Can we help you as well? Contact us to learn more.

How Inventory Issues are Affecting Your Customer Base On-Demand Webinar

About Southeast Computer Solutions

Southeast Computer Solutions is based in Miami, Florida, and has additional operations in Mexico. For over 30 years, we have positively impacted the success of small and mid-sized businesses with effective business management implementations that improve our clients’ operations. We listen, we are accessible, and we care. Learn more by visiting our website or calling 305-556-4697.


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