One of the biggest challenges for a modern business is managing vital global supply chains that can often have a huge impact on your profit margins. The global market opens new possibilities for small businesses looking for the supply of materials or production for lower costs. Increasing your profit margin and competitively pricing your product can be key in positioning yourself in the market and selling at volume. But problems in your supply chain can damage your reputation and stall sales. That’s why we have put together this guide with tips on perfecting your global supply chain to help further grow your business.
Hiring Overseas Contacts
One of the biggest challenges in effectively managing a global supply chain is staying in contact with suppliers overseas and having strong lines of communication. For example, if you are buying supplies or products from China, there may be language barriers between you and your supply contact. You can alleviate some of these concerns by hiring a representative in the region to manage contact with this area of the supply chain. This person would ideally be bilingual and could communicate needs and concerns between both parties. Having a local representative could save in unplanned downtime and gaps in your supply chain. Similarly, there are global supply chain management companies with experience in local areas.
Set Buying Schedules
If you have hired a representative in your supplier country, this can make it much easier to confirm buying schedules and patterns with your global suppliers. Communication can be key and letting your suppliers know when you need to scale orders at short notice can allow you to fill gaps in the market and surges of interest. For example, marketing campaigns can often see a boost in conversions on your website, but if you don’t have the product to meet the demand this can be a missed opportunity. Your contact in the country can also sit in on forecasting and business meetings to make sure they are fully aware of the pipeline.
Build a Working Relationship
Another key to perfecting your business’ supply chain is making sure that you build a strong working relationship with your suppliers and offer goodwill and understanding where possible. In many cases, suppliers will be providing materials to a number of contacts worldwide and have several orders to fill. Allowing flexibility on fulfilling orders in certain periods or allowing them to drop your delivery volume could help to build a strong relationship. Your local contact or supply chain management company can be vital in this process as they can communicate issues in supply and negotiate reduced terms directly with you.
Build a Supply Network
It can be a good idea to expand your global supply network outside of just one supplier. It is more than likely that your supplier won’t be the only one in the region, so why not reach out to other suppliers. This can help you maximise your potential and also push your current supplier to ensure all of your orders are fulfilled. In periods where there is a gap in supply or you need to drastically increase the product, you can get in touch with your additional supplier for the product. Your local employee can be really useful here again, as they can source or contact additional suppliers on your behalf. If they speak multiple languages, this could be an added benefit with the ability to contact multiple regions.
The one main tip for perfecting your global supply chain is clearly to ensure you hire somebody local to manage this for you. Although this might seem like a significant outlay, the cost and savings on materials can be extremely beneficial for your business. If you are unsure about hiring someone locally, consider a global supply chain management company instead.