Reduce risk in your supply chain in three steps

While eliminating risk entirely from your supply chain is unrealistic, there’s plenty you can do to reduce it, says Upstream.

Any business that depends on a supply chain has to live with risk. Supply-chain risks include:

  • Unpredictable demand
  • Interruption to supply
  • Environmental fluctuations
  • Financial volatility
  • Physical conditions.

But while businesses have no choice but to accept such risks, how can they reduce them?

‘Claw back control’

Matt Coad, EGM Solutions, Upstream, says businesses should use supply-chain technology to gain as much control as they can.

“Businesses need to claw back as much control as possible to minimise the risk of business disruption caused by supply-chain partners,” he said. “Putting the right technology in place can help provide a higher level of control and visibility.

“Specifically, businesses need to manage information and documentation more effectively for streamlined, reliable supply-chain operations.”

Upstream has identified three key areas in which businesses can reduce the risks supply-chain partners present.

Step 1: Transport and logistics

The transport and logistics side of the supply chain generates a massive amount of paperwork. Reducing the burden of manual processing is crucial to keeping costs down. So adopt digital workflows that turn hardcopy paper documents into electronic versions. Staff can then store, search, retrieve and send them anywhere, anytime.

This means drivers don’t have to carry hardcopy consignment notes or third-party documentation. Everything they need is on a handheld device they carry with them. This approach minimises errors, lowers costs and increases efficiency.

Step 2: Proof of delivery (POD)

Transactional documents such as dockets and invoices are crucial to tracking the movement of goods through the supply chain. Managing these documents well can reduce the risk of something going wrong. It can also help organisations identify anomalies sooner so they can deal with them faster. Digitising the POD process or using automated barcode recognition results in instant storage, search and POD retrieval.

Step 3: Compliance

Compliance requirements create a big administrative burden without processes and systems in place. Their complexity means organisations can struggle to manage their compliance otherwise. Having the right technology is crucial. It lets businesses implement compliance workflows, track documentation, prepare quickly and comprehensively for audits, keep information secure, and ensure no aspect of compliance slips through the net.

Summing up, Matt Coad said: “The crux of good business operations is information governance. By managing paperwork and documentation in a streamlined, automated, digital way, businesses can significantly reduce their supply-chain risks.”

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