Creative Ways to Improve Your Supply Chain

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Via Flickr by John-Morgan

Increasingly today, the work of a CFO has become much broader in the corporate world. They are often looked to by CEOs and other members of higher-management as a resource for information and assistance with other company-wide issues.

Finding opportunities and figuring out profitable ways to use corporate finances is an important and vital part of a CFO’s duties. Regardless of whatever additional work a CFO may take on, they are always going to be on the look out for investments, and for other ways to keep the corporation financially stable and healthy.

One way for a company to improve its efficiency and financial situation is to focus on improving their supply chain. The better a supply chain functions, the smoother and more profitable a business can be, however large or small. Supply chain disruptions can cause dramatic financial problems such as increased costs and stock value depreciation.

There are some creative ways that many companies have found to improve the efficiency of their supply chains. These improvements don’t involve a large amount of capital to initiate either – they simply need to be well-thought out.

1. Use infrastructure already intact

BookFool, a book reseller, deals heavily in reselling used books to students all over the country. The business struggled logistically because those stores and people sending in books would use a wide variety of different systems. Business was becoming sluggish and hard to track this way, until the founder decided to adopt FedEx’s Ground Package Returns Program. This gave all of his affiliates one simple way to send books to BookFool, and the company did not have to rely on its own supply chain – FedEx did that work for them, reliably.

2. Look at everything as an opportunity

A furniture company in New Jersey had its own delivery teams and drivers, but their supply chain was not nearly as efficient as it could be. Their trucks and crews returned to the depot from deliveries, wasting fuel and labor hours on the return trip. Instead of considering this an inevitability of having their own teams to make deliveries, the owner began contracting his trucks and drivers to carry other furniture on their return trips. Since backhauling started, the company has been doing very well.

3. The Little Things Count

Whether your company is multinational and deals with a highly complex supply chain, or a small to medium size business with a simple supply chain, it’s important to pay attention to even small issues at times. Something that seems completely unimportant, like how a product is packaged, could cause reactions in customers. A founder of CanvasPop learned this when he had to deal with his own company’s excessive packaging. From that experience, he realized that there are always better ways to improve the small things in the supply chain, which can often improve efficiency and more importantly the customer experience.

What unique ways has your company found to improve its supply chain?

[via Entrepreneur.com]

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