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Tag Archives: Supply chain

Reducing The Risks With Technology In Business

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Every business owner wants to know the way to maximize their revenue and profitability and reduce the risks they are at. Leading companies, in the supply chain industry, have identified risks to their own supply chains and have created strong mitigation strategies to offset any negative effects.

Natural events can have a huge impact on the supply chain and this cannot always be considered when creating strategies to avoid negative effects. In the aftermath of the Japanese earthquake in 2011, there was a global part shortage – this was due to factories being destroyed. These events seriously disrupted their supply chain – leading to delays in taking products to the market. This then had a knock on effect and damaged sales and increased costs in worldwide markets.

It is not just the environment that can cause havoc with the supply chain, economic crisis, political unrest, demanding customers, technology changes, terrorism, short product lifecycles and the interest can all affect the way businesses operate across the globe.

Through utilising intelligent data from your supply chain, in combination with external market information, it is possible to advance your business’ ability to plan for the future wisely.

You first need to identify your risks:

1.       Inventory Risk

Inventory risk is often the biggest risk that any business can face – it is the result of a mismatch in projections and actual market demand. Maintaining excess inventory can become a liability and can hugely affect your finances. If you fail to predict an accurate probability of internal and external triggers of disruption – you will not be predicting the future correctly.

2.       Procurement Risk

A procurement risk is to include unpredictable natural events which can affect the supply chain. Natural events can create shortages of materials and products and increase prices quite dramatically.

3.       Financial Risk

What are your financial risks? Is your capital tied up in business investments? Or do you have slow incoming capital? If so, this will be identified as a financial risk. By making yourself aware of the security of your finances – you can be sure to have a secure financial future.

Technology Lowering the Risks

The ability of the technology available today is tremendous; business owners are able to practically foresee the future of their supply chain when entering appropriate data. Further technology in the form of analytics can also be used to feed data from their existing risk management systems into analytics and dash boarding applications. Analytical information can be used to spot key trends, patterns and potential future disruptions.

 

Leading freight company, CC Freight, has been providing European freight services since 1925. They understand the importance of using technology to reduce supply chain risks.

 

 

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Putting The Trust Back Into The Supply Chain

supply-chainTo say this year has seen some scandals in the global supply chain would be a huge understatement. The horsemeat scandal has continued to dominate the headlines for the best part of three months now, and with the Asian market recently discovering rat meat being sold as lamb, this is clearly not something which is just going to blow over. The question is not only how long has this kind of fraudulent activity been going on, and what is going to be done about it?

Pressure is Building

Without knowing exactly how long this has been going on, and I think it is safe to say we are unlikely to never know the true scale of these scandals, it is impossible to say what the cause is. However, if this decision to substitute meats for cheaper alternatives without informing the consumer is a reaction to the current state of the economy across Europe, then there is at least some sense behind these crazy happenings.

Somewhere, decisions have been made to try and maintain the dwindling profit margins of companies and reducing their overheads by using cheaper meat products enables this. However, clearly this is at the expense of the consumer who is left paying over the odds for beef and lamb when they are actually buying lower quality and much cheaper produce.

Similar scandals have not been found to such a degree outside of the global food market supply chain, but what is clear is the pressure which is being put on companies which trade within it, and this pressure is likely to be felt across all supply chains worldwide as profit margins grow tighter and consumer demand continues to rise. The issue is, will consumer demand continue to stay as high as it is, especially when buying online, if there are questions asked about the confidence they can have in businesses if even going to their local supermarket for something as simple as meat can come back to bite them?

Trust Must be Restored in Supply Chains

It is all well and good saying restoring consumer trust must be the first port of call in moving onwards, but how exactly can this be managed? The first step must be for businesses that have been caught up in these issues to hold up their hands and admit they have made mistakes and are looking to put steps in place to make sure it does not happen again.

From there, the obvious step seems to be to put into place a series of rigorous tests on produce which is being traded throughout the supply chain, both before they leave the factory in which they are made, and once again when the retailer takes stock of the goods before selling them on to consumers. That way, if any issues are flagged up, there will be accountability, which in turn results in consumer trust being restored.

This can also be helped by firms using trustworthy companies to ship their goods across the globe; ones who they know will not compromise the quality of their products during what can be a very testing process, shipping produce across the globe under tight deadlines. Espace Global Freight is such a company, offering three kinds of top quality international freight; namely road, sea and air freight services.

By combining accountability, stringent testing of products and trustworthy companies handling the goods which are being traded within the supply chain, consumers can once again sleep well, knowing they are buying exactly what they expect when they next go to the supermarket for some meat.

Steven Capocci is a freelance writer who has studied supply chain mechanics in-depth and realises using trustworthy companies such as Espace Global Freight guarantees quality.

 

 

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What Do I Need Warehouse Services For?

You may find that your business is expanding and growing quicker than you originally thought. If this is the case then you may need some more help with storing and distributing stock. If you are currently trying to distribute and store stock on your own then it may be useful for you to think about employing a third party logistics company to your business. This way you will be able to hand over all the logistic responsibilities to them.

What Will 3PL Be Responsible For?

If you do decide to employ a 3PL (third party logistics) company to your business then you will be handing over a lot of the responsibilities concerning your stock over to them. You can ask for different services off a 3PL. You may only want to use them for warehouse storage. If this is the case then you should find out the location of the warehouse prior to signing any contract. If the location is right for you, then you will be able to store your stock in the warehouse for an agreed monthly fee.

If you believe you will need more help from your third party logistics company, then you can also employ them for your distribution needs as well. You will be able to use the 3PL to be in charge of distributing your stock to your customers. However before you decide to use them for distribution you should check that they have the correct type of transport for your goods. If you work in food manufacturing, you may need a cold storage truck to transport the goods. You may also need to transport goods by train, air or sea. Not all 3PL will offer the same services, so it is important that you look around to pick the logistic services which are right for you and your business.

Some 3PL will also offer supply chain management. This will mean that they are completely in charge of your stock management. The 3PL company will track your stock and finances. They will control what stock you have in your business and alert you when you need to order more. If you are currently struggling to keep track of what stock you have in your company and where it is going, then it is a good idea to choose a third party logistics company who can offer you supply chain management services.

Employing a 3PL to your business is a good idea, if you are struggling with controlling your stock. Having someone else in charge of your stock and distribution will give you the time to concentrate on different areas in your business.

George runs his own business and uses http://www.fullers-logistics.com for his third party logistic needs.

 

 

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How Businesses Can Keep Customers Safe From Product Injuries

The urgency to protect customers from injuries that can be inflicted by consumer goods is not only the responsibility of manufacturers, but of suppliers as well. In fact, they must ensure that the goods they offer in their business are not banned and meet all the necessary safety standards associated to them. As such, if a manufacturer fails to meet safety standards for his goods, yet distributes them, the possibility of saving customers from injuries will still be great if suppliers make an effort to make certain that the goods are safe. One way for manufacturers and suppliers to determine if their products are safe, is by having the goods tested by independent specializing companies.

How Can A Business Ensure Safety

There are a few ways for a business to acquire written evidence or certification that indicate the products are in compliance with safety regulations.

Businesses can:

  • Commission accredited independent laboratories to reliably test products regularly and provide test reports.
  • Conduct product and material testing by adding necessary facilities, equipment and specializing professionals.
  • Request safety compliance certification from material suppliers or manufacturers, or have third party certification including test report copies.
  • Commission a certification agency to assess the products and provide compliance certification along with safety standards. This option will allow businesses to use the certification on labels on respective products.

How To Choose A Testing Agency

Not all testing agencies or laboratories will carry accreditation, but it is to the advantage of businesses to commission or receive testing and reports from accredited agencies. This is because the agencies are often subjected to vigorous and regular assessments by an independent agency and their reports are considered highly credible in the event a court case is filed against the business by a customer.

It is essential to remember that just because the accreditation of the agency allows testing for a specific or a part of a standard does not imply that it can test for an entire or another standard. Thus, it is important that the accreditation for a specified testing is checked as well as any relevant factors.

In order to determine if the accredited testing agency or laboratory meets the business standards and product needs, here are a few questions to ask before doing business:

  1. What does the agency’s accreditation cover?
  2. Is the agency accredited to test for specific standards or parts of standards?
  3. What is the accreditation reference number?
  4. Is the accreditation directly related to the required testing?
  5. Is it a current accreditation?
  6. If the accreditation is limited, in what way is it so?

What Customers Can Do

Although it is the responsibility of suppliers and manufacturers to provide safe products that pass testing processes, customers can also play their part in ensuring that they are getting safe products. Many customers turn to the internet to make and read reviews about numerous products. As such, customers can base their shopping decision on these reviews or they can also run a background check on the business, the product and the certification the products claim to hold. In the event that a customer is injured due to neglect on the part of the business, then the business can be held liable. However the business in turn can also hold the testing agency or laboratory liable for possible negligence during the testing process that was supposed to identify flaws in order to prevent injuries.

Citations:

Valerie Hanks is a freelance writer specializing in product testing and business management. She regularly contributes articles to Professional Testing “EMI”, Inc. and other business and testing websites.

 

 

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How Global Supply Chains Bring Products to You

 

 

Carlsberg factory

The process of delivering goods and services has become more complex over the last century. Very few products are actually produced in the country where they are sold, and the supply chain is comprised of so many interlocking mechanisms that it’s difficult to say where something actually comes from. This enables companies to deliver products at lower prices because they’re able to hire laborers and buy materials from the regions where the things they need are cheap and plentiful. The modern world exists because of globalization, and it’s a process that everyone should be somewhat familiar with.

Where it Starts

Most supply chains begin with the regulation of various resources. While each element is at least somewhat important, the key thing is the political aspect. Local politicians need to be on board with what companies want to do before anything else is possible. Once that hurdle has been overcome, laborers can extract and refine the raw materials that will eventually become consumer products. This stage can have dozens of different parts to it depending on the materials in question, and sometimes companies will trade with each other in order to simplify certain parts of the process. The materials are then shipped to various storage units across the globe, and then they are finally transformed into products and delivered to stores.

The Different Kinds of Supply Chains

Different methods work better for different processes and products. Sometimes cost efficiency isn’t the only goal; economic growth in a particular area can serve as motivation for companies to utilize a supply chain that’s either less efficient or less lucrative. When profit is the sole concern, a globalized supply chain is usually the most favorable option, and even supply chains that focus on manufacturing items in specific locations may still involve imported materials.

The aim of all supply chains is to accomplish the stated goals in the most efficient way possible with the least amount of inventory. The incentives for choosing particular models are almost always wholly economic, but certain companies opt for more roundabout methods if they can gain something else of value for doing so. Since the push for globalization has destroyed a lot of manufacturing jobs in America, items that are produced within the US are very popular within the country, and the goodwill that’s earned by moving jobs into US communities can help ensure a business’ long-term viability. Sometimes the loss of efficiency can also be offset by raising prices, and that makes it so there’s no downside to establishing factories in areas with a higher standard of living.

Supply Chain Obstacles

As with any long and complex process, there are a lot of things that can go wrong between gathering materials and getting them to the final recipients. The fact that such errors are routine and yet no one ever notices is a testament to how stable the system is. Of course, sustainability is a big question going forward; there are plenty of issues with the current methods of production that could be problematic as resources dwindle, but the beauty of the supply chain model is that it’s extremely adaptable. It takes a lot of careful management to keep things moving as smoothly as they should, but at least the process keeps going even in sub-optimal conditions.

Dana Monty writes for several higher ed blogs. Interest in manufacturing and supply chains? Several universities offer MBA degrees including onlinemba.ohio.edu and www.unc.edu.

 

 

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How to Start Cost-Cutting in Your Small Business

Do you want to trim off the excess fat in your business budget but don’t know where to start? Have you done the basic ways of saving money such as recycling, getting second hand furniture, etc. but think that there are still some ways where you can cut off cost? Well, you are right. Here are some areas that you need to cut cost on.

Business telephone system

Call up different suppliers and ask them to review your present telephone system. Be ready with your bill. You would be surprised to find out that you are actually not using some of the features you are paying for. There are also some areas that you can completely take off your package. Analyze your needs and talk with different suppliers to come up with a special package for you.

Also, you might want to re-think your current system. If you are not using VoIP, you are missing a lot. Consider changing your whole system to VoIP to enjoy tremendous savings.

Representation expenses

These include meals or entertainment for clients. Make a written policy that requires all those who regularly use these allowances to find less expensive places and services. Set a budget and stick to it. If they go over the budget then they would have to shoulder the excess cost from their own pockets. A lot of employees abuse this allowance and making each employee accountable for his own budget will help you save a lot of money.

Free or cheap software, tools and apps

Instead of investing in new equipment or buying new software, check out the Internet for cloud programs, apps and other tools that are free or less expensive. If you worry about security, find a supplier that has a trusted network. They usually require a small fee but it is nothing compared to buying a new equipment or software of your own.

Outsource

If your company is growing at a speed you did not expect, consider outsourcing your processes such as supply chain management, logistics, etc. It is wiser to let the experts do it instead of investing in your own equipment and hiring new personnel. These companies already have a secure, working system in place so you don’t have to worry.

Ban overtime

Don’t allow your employees to go overtime especially during off-peak seasons. For peak seasons like holidays and Christmas, consider hiring extra part time employees who will only work during this season. You will save more by paying them a regular wage instead of overtime pay.

The key to saving money is by planning your budget thoroughly whether it’s weekly, monthly or yearly. Inform your employees of your plans so that you can get their full cooperation.

 

 

 

If you are thinking about changing business phone systems, check out businesstelephonesystem.org

 

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Supply Chain Management

Depending on the type of product or service you provide, Supply Chain Management can be a complex job.  There are few companies that are lucky enough to be self-sufficient.  Most businesses rely on suppliers and outsourcing for at least part of their business, producing a delicate supply chain which can quickly fall apart if something disturbs any piece of it.  Supply Chain Management Software (SCMS) is designed to make monitoring and managing supply chain transactions easier.

There are several things that SCMS can handle, including:

  • Customer requirement forecasting
  • Purchase order processing
  • Inventory tracking
  • Warehouse management
  • Delivery tracking
  • Supplier management

While there are lots of vendors in the SCMS industry, there are a handful of key players that own the majority of the market share.  They include:

JDA

JDA offers Supply Chain Management Software for a huge range of industries, including grocery stores, aerospace and defence companies, pharmaceuticals, and the hospitality industry.  They offer a one-stop solution that covers supply chain management, transportation, and retail.  Their software is aimed at major enterprises.

SAP

SAP is a company that specialises in providing software for businesses.  Their Supply Chain Management solution aims to “transform your linear supply chain into a responsive network”.  It covers supply and demand planning, logistics, fulfilment, and delivery tracking.  SAP offers a range of solutions that will cater to most sizes of business.  They also offer SAP events where people can learn more about their products.

Intelex

Intelex have been producing business software for 20 years, and service hundreds of major businesses.  Their SCM software makes it easy to track supplier performance, evaluate and rate different suppliers, produce performance reports, and follow up on issues.

3PL

3PL Warehouse Manager is an enterprise-level supply chain management application aimed at the logistics market.  It offers automated reporting, EDI, and barcode scanning.  This software makes billing, logistics and tracking a breeze.

Accuware

Accuware’s ProActive Inventory Manager is a web-based inventory solution which has been built to run on Microsoft ASP.net and Microsoft SQL server.  This software is available in two forms – a self-hosted version, and a SAAS version hosted on ProActive’s servers.  ProActive Inventory Manager has a standard, inexpensive version for small and medium sized businesses, and a more sophisticated enterprise version.

Choosing Supply Chain Management Software

It’s important that you find the right supply chain management software early in your business’ life.  Investing in the wrong version can cause costly mistakes which could damage your reputation.  Deploying new software, and transferring over your existing inventory and orders can be a struggle.

Before you invest in any SCMS, consider attending a few industry events.  Whether you choose to attend SAP events and JDA events, and shop around in that fashion, or go to one of the major logistics conferences is up to you.  Consider taking up some free trials, and spending a weekend or two running test orders through different systems until you find one that you and your employees like to use.

Amy Fowler writes on technology, this post was written in conjunction with UK & Ireland SAP User Group, organisers of SAP events. For more information on their SAP events, click here.

 

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How a Lawyer Can Assist You with Your Business Concerns

 

Whether your business is small or large, it is helpful to have a knowledgeable law firm by your side to navigate all of the complications that legal matters can create. Having an experienced lawyer on your team can help you to do everything from planning your next financial move to understanding the nuances of contracts.

Here are four major things you can get assistance with when you work with a combination lawyer/accountant.

 

 1. Strategic Planning and Business Plans

If you want your business to succeed, it is smart to have a good business plan in place. If you need some help revising or adjusting your business plan in order to meet new goals and objectives, an experienced financial attorney can help you with this. 

Strategic planning isn’t easy, though. There are many details involved in growing your organization and making it better. In order to craft a realistic and intelligent business plan, it’s important to work with someone who knows what the business conditions are like and how markets are currently faring.

Whether your strategy hinges on hiring additional employees, developing a new product or just raising the finances necessary to enter a dynamic new chapter of your company, the right law firm or team of financially versed attorneys can help.

 2. Supply Chain Management

One integral part of business success is supply chain management. Making sure that you have the resources necessary to provide an outstanding product is what ensures your company’s survival.When your company needs certain materials to provide a product or service, it is integral to be sure that you can get the amount of materials necessary and at a reasonable cost in order to still make a profit.

Experienced lawyers can identify suppliers and supply chains, analyzing the process of procurement and finding out where you can save money and become more efficient. You may find that you need fewer suppliers, less inventory or just better quality of supplies.

3. Contract Consultation

Contracts are all over the business world, and chances are that your company has dozens of them with suppliers, clients and others that you are involved with. Contract law is notoriously tricky to navigate, which is why it’s imperative to have a contract lawyer to help you understand what each contract involves and how you can get the most out of these necessary legal agreements.

4. Systems Implementation and More

In addition to contract navigation, supply chain management and business planning, experienced attorneys can help you with a range of other business elements, too.  You can get assistance with system implementation, organizational planning and development, inventory analysis, business flow analysis and assessment and much more.

 

Go online now to find a tax and finance lawyer that can help you optimize and streamline your business today!

Jessica writes about just about anything. She especially enjoys writing about lawyers. You can learn more about Contract Lawyer at http://allenbarron.com/

 

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Streamlining Business Processes with Contract Management Software

by guestblogaddict

Software represents a big investment for companies. Besides the cost to procure the hardware and licenses for servers, databases and network gear, there is also the very expensive IT overhead cost in salaries and benefits. But the real reason to invest in software—the reason executives require a business case with a positive ROI—is to reduce costs by automating a manual process. It’s why every software brochure contains some language promoting shorter cycle times and reduced labor costs. Businesses should be leery of these claims and include real tests in the evaluation of these promises.

The benefits of contract software can be found with companies such as Contract Logix. The company’s contract management portal lists some significant claims (http://www.contractlogix.com/contract-management-benefits.asp).

Cost in Savings

One such cost savings center includes a reduction in cycle management times by automating steps that are currently done manually and creating visibility in the contract management process. In other older contract management software applications, evaluating one of these claims was difficult and usually involved a contract software demo. The vendor would show up at a business site and show the screens and a few reports without any relevant data to help validate if the system could perform as expected. Only during implementation did the details around the system really come to light.

What if a more hands-on approach were possible to allow business professionals the opportunity to evaluate the software in a live setting? With “software as a service” and other cloud technologies, Contract Logix can prove its contract software benefits. The software is user oriented, meaning it was designed to be configured by a business professional. This software is designed with the contract manager or services writer in mind. Clean forms that are easily configurable make it possible for users to make the form fit the business. Steps to match the current contract life cycle can be mirrored in the software.

Software Features

Each agreement created can reference a contract library of terms and conditions as well as alternatives so that staff and negotiators can leverage the best language to protect the company. Such features are vital to protecting company interests and avoiding costly legal problems later. Collaboration tools make it easy for multiple parties to add, edit and redline documents before final agreements are executed.

Easy Accessibility

Managers and executives can quickly gain access to reports and other contract intelligence to ascertain when agreements are termed to expire, the value of each contract or how much liability the company has with a single supplier over multiple agreements.

All of these features can be easily set up on the Contract Logix site without a significant investment. After a quick proof of concept, companies can begin streamlining their processes and shorten the return on investment period for the implementation of their contract software. Each contract management site can be set up with an affordable monthly subscription that can be terminated at any time.

 

Jessica writes about a wide variety of topics.  She especially enjoys writing about software. You can learn more about contract software at contractlogix.xom

 

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