Whether you are looking for help in choosing the right supply chain management solution or advice on how to make your supply chain work more efficiently, the following tips are a guide to help you make improvements to your supply chain management.

1. Select a supply chain solution that is tailored for your industry.

There are hundreds of off-the-shelf supply chain software packages or component modules on the market today, and most implementations end up requiring some level of customization and integration with other systems. Do your homework and research systems that were designed for companies in your industry, or that are similar to yours in a key aspect. The systems may need some customization, but they will at least target the majority of your industry needs.

2. Establish metrics.

Despite decades of encouragement and hundreds of millions of dollars dumped into information technology, most companies still don’t have their supply chain metrics under control. Enterprise-wide balanced scorecards, cascading supply chain metrics and management dashboards can provide timely insights that help supply chain managers react to disruptions — and opportunities — in today’s markets.

3. Involve your employees.

Give employees visibility into how they impact the customer. Create a metrics program that links every step of the process so employees can see how their work impacts the customers’ needs and the company’s objectives.

4. Manage information rather than information management.

Enterprise solutions should facilitate proper collection, identification and easy access to allow for rapid decisions. Collecting irrelevant information to meet the criteria of an enterprise solution is not effective business management. Collect relevant information that also aligns with business objectives. Then, ensure the information is easily accessible.

5. Integrate sales, operations and finance.

Integrate what Sales plans to sell, what Operations plans to make and what Finance has forecast into a single consensus driven plan. This plan, commonly called Sales and Operations Planning, provides the best balance between customer demand, production capabilities and corporate financial performance.

6. Implement tracking and mobile technologies.

Take advantage of the many technologies to improve efficiencies and minimize costs and inaccuracies. Mobile options, warehouse automation systems and warehouse management systems can be implemented to help you track important data that you might be missing.