2017 is finally here! It’s time for us to look back on the past year and remember our highs and our lows. January is the month of resolutions; what do we want to achieve in the coming year and how will we do it? For many of us, resolutions are easy to make, but also easy to break. Each year the same goals come to mind, but what if one year we actually stuck to them and achieve what we have longed for, actually going to the gym or sticking to an insanely healthy diet. We always want to improve ourselves at the beginning of the year and make it our year to shine.
So what can supply chain managers do to make 2017 a year to remember? January is the month of planning and decides which direction the company will take for the year. A reflection on the previous year will help decide how to improve operations or maintain success. Here are 3 things every supply chain manager should have on their 2017 resolution list:
Sustainability: think big, start small
Sustainability: it should not be a race but rather a slow development. There is no better time than in 2017 for managers to analyze their supply chains and look how they can become more sustainable. Looking at supplier operations could be a starting point, working together to minimize their effect on the environment. A supplier’s actions have a direct impact upon the company, which is why it is important for them to be consistently monitored.
Companies can also focus on the use of renewable energy. Having a ‘green image’ can contribute to competitive advantage and lead to a better reputation amongst consumers. Managers can analyze environmental burdens at each stage of the supply chain and try to amend them one step at a time. Google, for example, stated in 2012 it would reach a 100% target for renewable energy, to be used in its data centers and offices. The company will achieve this goal by 2017, but it has been a slow and steady process of investments in wind and solar farms over the years.
Supply chain managers have time to invest in becoming more sustainable by working slowly through their operations. Each little improvement will help a company’s environmental stance and could decrease its costs through cheaper power sources.
Don’t hate, cooperate
Efficient communication throughout all departments is a key element of successful business operations. It helps to retain knowledge and ensure harmonious processes. Without a confirmed method of communication, important information might not be passed on to the correct people, which could lead to delays and disaster. Workers at all levels and departments need a constant flow of communication to ensure all information is stored and considered. Without this, products may be incorrectly marketed, designs could be misinterpreted or the wrong person might be hired.
Internal cooperation is a major key to success, and something that should be considered by supply chain managers, as it is a factor that is often responsible for major failures if not managed properly. Data collected in 2011 from 400 U.S. and U.K. companies showed that an estimated $37 billion was lost yearly due to employee misunderstandings. The loss is too high to ignore. This year, take the first step toward constructive and efficient interdepartmental communication.
Supply chain managers need to think outside the box – get innovative in 2017! Innovation can lead to drastic improvements in operations. It can increase efficiency in tasks and speed up production times. An example of this would be the introduction of the ProGlove by Audi; a glove with a built-in barcode scanner. It reduces working times, eliminating stages in the process and reducing physical effort. Wearables such as the ProGlove not only help with time-management but also employee satisfaction.
Change is good for a company. It can help set companies apart from competitors and deliver a more reliable service. Focusing on innovation may not just have an effect on one company’s supply chain, but could also change everyone’s practices for the better. It could revolutionize how operations are handled throughout the supply chain. Perhaps this list of The Top 10 Supply Chain Innovations of All-Time will help inspire you to innovate.
This is a resolution that will have to be revisited each year, and should always be at the top of a supply chain manager’s list. Innovation can lead to making your network simpler. It can better your relationship with suppliers and customers by helping to meet demand and ensuring an up-to-date operating environment with ever-growing potential.
Supply chain managers have a lot to think about in January. These suggestions are not the only relevant resolutions, but are focused on improving supply chain operations as a whole. The creation of a sustainable supply chain that promotes a valuable and effective connection between employees and encourages an innovative culture will certainly improve operations in 2017.
What’s on your New Year’s resolution list for 2017?
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Photo in text: dolphfyn/shutterstock.com