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How Do I Choose the Best Supply Chain Process?

An illustration of a supply chain.
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  • Written By: Felicia Dye
  • Edited By: Heather Bailey
  • Last Modified Date: 28 July 2014
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    Conjecture Corporation
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A supply chain refers to the flow of materials, information, and services from the first production stages until the sale of goods or execution of services. The number of elements involved in the supply chain can greatly vary. However, these elements and the coherent and effective flow between them can greatly affect a business. To choose the best supply chain process, you need to have a thorough understanding of what your supply chain requires, avoid wasteful structures, and ensure that your choice is manageable.

Choosing the best supply chain process requires you to understand exactly what a supply chain is and what yours needs to include. Every supply chain is not the same because all businesses are not the same. If you produce a product, your supply chain begins with the manner in which you obtain the raw materials.

Consider, for example, that you have an organic tea business. In the event that you buy the tea pre-bagged, your tea bag supplier is the beginning of your supply chain. In the event that you make your tea bags, the suppliers of the organic tea and the tea bag materials are the beginning of your supply chain.

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Realize that you may be the beginning of your supply chain. For example, you may grow your own tea. When choosing the best supply chain process, you must not exclude yourself and the role you play at any point in the process. Once you have established the starting point, you need to consider every element until the service is delivered or the sale is made. This includes factors such as production and shipping.

The best supply chain process will be the one that effectively accommodates your business but which does not include wasteful elements. You need to make sure the flow between all elements in your supply chain is coherent. Problems at any point can cause other areas of the supply chain to become problematic. For example, if the transporter of raw materials is inconsistent, it can cause problems with the supplier and the producer, which can cause your business to drastically suffer.

Although you want to make sure your supply chain process is efficient and coherent, you do not want to be wasteful by including elements that are unnecessary. Closely examine your process and reduce waste by streamlining. This could involve increasing the duties or responsibilities of certain elements, including yourself. For example, a process that involves shipping products to a third party storage facility after production may be streamlined to allow for on-site storage.

Remember that your supply chain extends until your services have been rendered or your products have been sold. This means your supply chain may be quite long and complex. You will only be able to claim that you have the best supply chain process if it is one that can be managed. Make sure that as you consider the best process, you also consider the structure and strategies required to oversee and manage it.

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