Supply chain management is an umbrella term that encompasses a plethora of concepts related to the management of the entire manufacturing process. It starts with sourcing the raw materials for a product and ends with the final goods getting delivered to the customers.
More often than not, there can be several loopholes in this entire process, such as a lack of visibility or high operational costs. All these ultimately result in supply chain delays and poor customer service.
Therefore, to tackle such challenges, the implementation of an efficient end-to-end supply chain process is highly crucial. This brings us to the two most vital questions, which are,
- What do we mean by end-to-end supply chain process?
- What are the steps involved in an end-to-end supply chain?
If you are looking for answers to these questions, you have arrived at the right place. The following article will give you a detailed overview of the whole end-to-end supply chain process, its importance as well as the steps involved.
So let’s get started!
What Is End-To-End Supply Chain?
End-to-end supply chain, commonly referred to as E2E supply chain, refers to the complete sequence of processes and operations starting from procurement of raw materials to the final delivery of the finished goods to the customers. It encompasses the entire flow of materials, information and financial transactions across varied stages and departments involved in the supply chain.
The ultimate goal of E2E supply chain management is to provide seamless integration of all activities involved in the supply chain. This also includes minimising costs and delivering value to customers. An efficient E2E supply chain management system brings several benefits to the table. Such include enhanced supply chain visibility, improved operational costs, and reduction in supply chain delays.
Steps Involved in E2E Supply Chain Process
As mentioned, the E2E supply chain process involves multiple steps starting with ecommerce inventory to managing the post-purchase experience. Although the specific details might vary depending on the organisation or industry, mentioned below is a general overview of the multiple steps involved in the E2E supply chain process.
One of the most common rookie mistakes that businesses tend to make is the assumption that the supply chain commences after the raw materials have already been sourced or received. However, the actual truth is that one of the first steps in the E2E supply chain process is procurement logistics. This includes the sourcing of all the raw materials, components and services from suppliers. Any change during this phase carries the potential to disrupt the whole supply chain process, especially inventory management.
For example, if there is an increase in the price of production inventory, then the final price of the finished goods will go up as well.
After production comes distribution management which is yet another crucial step of the whole E2E supply chain process. It usually involves managing warehouse operations, including receiving, storing, picking, packing and shipping products. During this stage, the implementation of a multi-channel retailing strategy is also essential, which means selling the finished items across multiple sales channels. Efficient logistics and distribution management ensure timely delivery to all customers and help to cut down on transportation costs significantly.
In order to ensure a seamless warehouse picking process, storing the inventory in an efficient manner is highly important. There are multiple ways via which you can store inventory. Such include renting a warehouse, self-storage, or simply in a fulfilment centre. Based on the needs and demands of your business, you can select any one of these above-mentioned methods accordingly. When not managed in an efficient manner, storage can result in huge costs, especially when it is a variable cost.
During the initial stages of a business, many organisations tend to opt for self-storage, as it provides them with ample opportunities to focus on other crucial aspects, such as fulfilling orders. As the business expands and more orders start to come in, you might want to consider outsourcing your storage to a 3PL. In this manner, you will not only be able to enhance order accuracy rates but also save a lot on logistics costs.
This step involves the movement of goods from the warehouse or distribution centres to the final destination, which is the doorstep of your customers. In order to optimise cost, speed and reliability, you must select your transportation routes or carriers accordingly. It will not only help to enhance customer loyalty but also increase customer satisfaction. Multiple organisations use various shipping incentives for this purpose.
For example, some tend to offer 2-day shipping or free shipping to their customers so as to retain their loyalty. Additionally, tracking and monitoring shipments is also necessary during this stage, as it helps to boost visibility throughout the entire supply chain process.
Providing excellent customer service is one of the paramount responsibilities of any business. Be it a small-scale organisation or a large scale, every business strives hard to offer quality service to all their customers. This involves the performance of various crucial tasks, such as addressing customer inquiries and managing returns or exchanges. When all these are done in an efficient manner, it helps to ensure customer satisfaction. Timely communication, order tracking, and effective problem resolution are some of the many key ingredients of a positive customer experience.
To Sum Up
An effective end-to-end supply chain process aligns the various chains of the supply chain and also plays a crucial role in optimising all operations. From enhanced customer satisfaction to overall reduced costs, all these benefits ultimately contribute to strengthening the organization’s position in the competitive marketplace.
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