All businesses need to increase sales to survive, and yours is no different. But how can you go about increasing sales without making new, heavy investments. One successful way is to streamline your supply chain and to make it as efficient as possible. Even if you are heavily dependent on several suppliers, you can still streamline the process to make it as productive and effective as possible. So, how can you do this and where should you start?
Analyse Where You Are At To Begin With
Before you look at making any changes you first need to establish what suppliers you currently use and what service and value they are offering you. When you look at beginning a supply chain analysis, you need to look at several areas, including choice and selection of inventory available, delivery times, availability of inventory, costs and transportation. As each of these areas can have knock-on effects into other areas it is wise to cover all of them, but to break them down into manageable chunks and focus on one at a time:
Inventory Available And Availability Of Inventory
You need to look at what you are getting from suppliers – are they providing you with a good selection of inventory that will keep your customers happy, and is this inventory readily available? If you have delays in securing inventory this will have a knock-on effect and will eventually hit your sales, as your customers do not want to be waiting around to receive goods. If you get a bad reputation for being slow to produce customer goods and orders, then you will struggle to appeal to and attract new customers.
Delivery Time And Transportation
How are you receiving your goods from your suppliers? Are you receiving them in a timely manner, and how much is transportation costing you? Air transportation is of course quicker but more costly than sea transportation. You also need to factor in how long goods take to get through customs control if they are coming from overseas. Transportation and delivery time will be one of the biggest headaches you face when streamlining your processes as you need to receive goods quickly, but also cost-efficiently.
Adding Up Your Costs
How much are your suppliers and products costing your business and how much are you making on each subsequent sale? Buying or purchasing in bulk is of course cheaper and will save you money, but is this feasible for the products you are selling? Can you try and negotiate further with your supplier to get an even better price, or do you need to start looking at new suppliers to ensure that your products remain competitively priced, and that you still earn a decent profit for all of your effort, time and hard work?
When you cut the costs and you cut the time down within your supply chain it frees you up with more time and energy to focus on driving those sales. However, it is important to remember that you should not cut down quality just to speed up the process, as this is counterproductive.