In our previous blog post in this series on distribution center best practices, we examined how you can use technology to your advantage at your distribution center. In this post, we’ll discuss how asking your vendors for insight can help you streamline and improve your operations — and as a result, better meet customers’ expectations.
Gain Visibility of the Entire Supply Chain
As a distribution center, you don’t operate in a vacuum. You’re an important link in the supply chain that takes a product from the manufacturer and ultimately delivers it to the customer. However, thanks to e-commerce and the rise of different sales models, you have to be capable of working with a wide range of vendors. And to do so effectively, you need complete visibility of the supply chain so that all parties can coordinate with each other and as a result, streamline their processes.
To achieve visibility of the entire supply chain, you need to ask your vendors for insight into their operations. You should know how they process purchase orders and how long cargo sits before it’s shipped to its end destination. You also need to be aware of how they manage documentation and what methods they use to update inventory data. And of course, you need to know whether or not they’re compliant with all SLAs and applicable regulations.
When you collaborate effectively with your vendors, all parties concerned can make adjustments that improve their processes. Let’s say a vendor is having trouble keeping up with demand for a product. When you know that, you can examine how to deliver more units. One solution could be to leverage technology that automatically scans the dimensions of units and recommends a highly accurate packaging size, which could allow you to ship more units per transport.
To effectively work with your vendors, try implementing vendor management software, which will enable you to monitor factors such as documentation processing compliance, shipping windows, accuracy of container manifests and container utilization. Better yet, it provides a data-driven foundation that you can use to have conversations with your vendors on how to improve the supply chain.
At the same time, with data from a good vendor management system, you can measure and compare the performance of the various vendors. Doing so in turn allows you to determine which vendors deliver quality service and which ones don’t. That way, you can ensure you work only with companies that are as dedicated as you are to maintaining the highest possible level of quality.
Leverage a Top-Notch Vendor Management System
At Clients First, we understand that to efficiently meet your business objectives, you need to work with vendors that are aligned with your processes and provide seamless service that keeps the supply chain functioning smoothly. Fortunately, we can help you implement vendor management software that will assist you as you manage order processing, analyze sales and margins, optimize inventory levels and increase your cash flow. For more information on how we can help your distribution center, contact us today.
Stay tuned for our next blog post — on how you can benefit from collecting data automatically.