The modern supply chain is complex. This complexity, however, offers great opportunity when integrated and managed effectively. How? By implementing a supply chain integration strategy that addresses the needs of the business while working within a stable environment that is supported by reliable processes. Working with suppliers to get a reliable flow of goods is as much about communication as it is about trust.
Suppliers need to be able to trust that what they promise will be delivered on time and in good condition. They also need to have confidence that your end products are going to be up to their standards too — hence the need for effective supplier management.
But if you’re reading this article, you know all of this already and are looking for some actionable steps you can take now to implement and improve your supply chain integration and last mile processes. Keep reading for more details on how integrating your supply chains will not only save money and increase profitability but also reduce risk by implementing a last mile strategy.
What is Supply Chain Integration?
A supply chain is the integrated network of companies, people, and information that moves the goods and services needed to keep a business running. Finding ways to link all the different steps involved in producing and delivering a product or service is crucial to ensure a reliable and efficient flow of products. Supply chain integration can be defined as the linking of the activities and organizations involved in a product’s production, transportation, and distribution. When supply chain integration is in place, the various functions involved in producing, transporting, and distributing a product or service are linked together so that each step in the process works seamlessly with the others.
Supply chain integration is especially important for companies that rely on a complex, multilayered supply chain. In such cases, along with the logistics challenges related to managing the complexity of the supply chain, the companies face additional challenges related to sourcing and managing their suppliers. Supply chain integration is a process that emphasizes communication between the various components and departments in a company’s supply chain. The process enables companies to avoid unnecessary delays and bottlenecks in the chain, increase efficiency and reduce costs.
What is a Last Mile Strategy?
With the communications and information-sharing capability of the internet, it’s now easier than ever to manage your supply chain. But if integrating the various elements in your supply chain isn’t happening, then your last mile strategy is failing. A last mile strategy is a way in which you plan to deliver your products to the end customer. This is the “how” of your business model. So, it’s important to consider your last mile strategy carefully.
The last mile strategy is critical for companies that want to increase their profit margins by reducing the cost of goods and services. As the last mile is all about delivery, this strategy is especially important for companies that use on-demand services.
When you’re looking to reduce your costs, it’s important to consider the entire supply chain from start to finish. This includes the cost of goods, transportation, warehousing, and distribution. By reducing the cost of any one of these components, you can have a significant impact on your bottom line. And, by reducing the cost of your last mile, you can have an even bigger impact.
How to Make Supply Chain Integration Work Up to the Last Mile
There are a number of ways to make supply chain integration work, but here are the key strategies:
- Use Supply Chain Software: Supply chain software can help you manage the various elements of your supply chain and last mile strategy. By using software, you can automate many of the tasks involved in supply chain management, such as tracking orders, managing inventory, and coordinating shipments.
- Supply Chain Analytics: Supply chain analytics can help you identify areas where your supply chain is inefficient and pinpoint opportunities for improvement. By using supply chain analytics, you can make your supply chain more efficient and reduce the cost of your last mile.
- Transportation Management: Transportation management can help you optimize your shipping routes and reduce the cost of your last mile. By using transportation management, you can ship your products more efficiently and reduce your shipping costs.
- Implement a Lean Supply Chain: a lean supply chain is a supply chain that eliminates waste and unnecessary costs. Lean supply chains are characterized by shorter lead times, higher levels of customer satisfaction, and lower costs.
- Outsource Your Last Mile: If you’re not able to manage the last mile yourself, you can always outsource the delivery to a third-party company. There are a number of companies that specialize in last mile delivery, and they can often provide you with a cost-effective solution.
A successful last mile strategy starts with a well-developed supply chain integration strategy. Ensuring that all the various components in your supply chain are communicating effectively is crucial to ensure your last mile strategy is successful. By making sure all your partners have the capacity to handle increased demand, that all your customer orders are delivered on time and in good condition, and that all your goods are delivered to your customers intact, your last mile strategy will be successful.