Not only should a supply chain be able to stay transparent to itself—informing employees on its progress—but it should be able to demonstrate to clients its awareness and how it tracks product. This is especially the case for 3PL providers whose companies survive on accuracy and transparency.
Here are a few ways to improve the transparency of your supply chain. Whether you’re a 3PL working with vendors and manufacturers, or if you’re in charge of an independent supply chain, these tips can help you identify weak points in your distribution model.
Real-Time RF Scanning
Radio Frequency scanners (RF guns) provide real-time updates to your inventory numbers, cycle-counts, and product locations. Rather than using a paper trail to track the receiving, picking, and shipping of product, RF guns give your employees portable access to the company’s data system.
Here’s how this allows your supply chain to be more transparent to clients: when clients are looking through your inventory data, they need to be sure that the quantity that shows in the computer system is the actual quantity in stock. When using real-time RF guns, your data is updated immediately so your clients know that what they see is what’s actually in stock.
Further, with real-time RF scanning and integrated systems, your clients have the ability to track their product as it’s shipped.
Activity & Performance Monitoring
You know that your employees can’t be summed up in a single picking-rate or error percentage. But activity and performance monitoring can help you see the different strengths of your employees and how you might improve upon their weaknesses. For example, if you notice errors from one of your best employees, this is a good chance to speak with them about the problem at hand.
If your department is doing especially well, activity and performance monitoring will help identify your strengths so you can improve other departments and your supply chain as a whole.
Missing & Lost Product
Know how much product your supply chain loses or damages each quarter. You might be hemorrhaging money you can’t afford. Instead, with an accurate account of your lost and damaged product, you can identify the places in your supply chain that need to be improved.
Accurate Cycle Counts
Especially if you’re dealing with a high inventory turn, it’s crucial that you pay attention to each month’s cycle counts. If you use RF guns and have the system direct frequent system counts, discrepancies can be found and corrected while still being able to continue shipping and receiving product. The ability to integrate cycle counts into your daily processes will also help to eliminate costly back-orders or overstocking of items.