Three things to do before expanding your supply chain


supply chain visibilityWith several sectors in the economy in an upward trend, many businesses are opening up to the prospect of market advancement for the first time in several years. Looking to expand into new markets, nationally or internationally, naturally comes with many factors to consider.

Growth in your business and customer base is desirable for any business manager, but taking a step back and looking at your business processes can help to ensure your current supply chain management system will effectively handle the increased production demand placed on it. Before extending supply chain operations or capabilities, make sure you do these three things.

1.    Scrutinize from the ground up

This may be one of the few articles you ever read encouraging you to micromanage; but in the case of supply chain expansion, it’s necessary to achieve optimal efficiency. There are so many pieces of the supply chain: individual warehouses, contracted service companies, transportation, inventory and parts, just to name a few. When executives become too caught up in ROI and quick expansion, certain important aspects may be left by the wayside. Getting familiar with all aspects of the industry, from the part-time packaging employee to the CEO of your contracted trucking agency, will help you see how all the parts fit into the bigger picturre.

2. Don’t take shortcuts

Cutting corners to achieve growth and increase marketshare is not only unethical; it could get you in legal trouble. Executives must ensure proper supply chain management solutions are in place and have the utmost trust in their supply chain managers to keep up with the countless federal and state mandates and regulations that you will encounter in a supply chain. While each branch of the supply chain operates at some level of independence, they still serve as gears in a high-functioning machine. Investing in supply chain visibility solutions and proper training for managers in safety, HR and legal issues will help avoid costly legal situations in the future.

3.    Protect your capital

When you think of “protecting your capital,” financial and investment protection immediately come to mind. However, the employees you hire and train are also capital; they are an investment your company has made in their future. Thus, taking the proper steps to ensure workplace safety and protection of your employees can make all the difference. Workplace accidents are an unfortunate reality, especially in warehouse and manufacturing jobs dealing with large machinery or sensitive products.

The American Society of Safety Engineers and the Center for Safety and Health Sustainability are joining forces to encourage corporations to implement effective safety management programs and practices throughout supply chains. The goal of the partnership is to provide companies with insight and resources to help prevent devastating disasters or accidents from occurring that not only damage the company's bottom line, but the well-being of employees.

Thomas Cecich, ASSE vice president for presidential affairs, explained that in light of recent events, the need for increased supply chain management and safety regulations has never been more apparent. Factory fires in Bangladesh recently killed more than 100 workers and could have been avoided with more effective supply chain management practices in place.

"Any organization wishing to proclaim itself as 'sustainable' must have a safety management system in place to protect its workers, and in a similar manner any 'sustainable' organization using suppliers from underdeveloped and developing nations must also require those suppliers to protect the safety and health of their employees," Cecich explained.