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Supply chain management 101: A checklist for B2B businesses from North America to New Zealand

Teresa Cherukara
May 16, 2022
Warehouse employees examining plans

For B2B companies around the world, prioritizing supply chain management has become essential for survival. In Australia, 55% of Australian manufacturers plan to reshore manufacturing operations to Australia by 2023.

The price of not prioritizing supply chain management can be severe. For North American businesses in the opening months of 2022, grocery out of stock rates rose 50%.

Though COVID-19 is often blamed for the acceleration of the supply chain crisis, shifting geopolitical conditions, technological growth, and increased regulatory scrutiny have meant permanent changes have been a long time coming.

For manufacturers, distributors and wholesalers trying to keep afloat, an innovative approach is necessary for continued growth. E-commerce adoption and optimisation have been an integral part of both surviving and thriving in the current economic landscape.

Supply chain survival checklist

If you’re looking to implement a plan for supply chain management within your business, it might be helpful to go through a checklist:

  • Map your supply chain

Supply chain mapping involves identifying key stakeholders, understanding supplier relationships, and establishing cost and timings involved in each part of the chain. Once this is done, you can identify risks and track the flow of data between touchpoints to identify where processes might be streamlined.

  • Improve workforce planning

Implementing an integrated e-commerce solution allows you to prioritise what’s most important to the continued functioning of your business – the people.

  • Invest in communications

In times of crisis, speaking with a unified and clear voice indicates strong leadership and direction. But effective communication exists beyond good PR or marketing. Your customers manage their expectations based on the information you provide them, so staying transparent and as accurate as possible is integral to productive relationships, especially during supply chain bottlenecks.

  • Strengthen customer relationships

Each of your customers are different, as are each of your customer relationships. Having this reflected on your web store can help boost revenue and leave them feeling personally catered to without overextending your sales or customer service teams.

The benefits of choosing the right e-commerce platform

When you take advantage of process innovation, you deliver better experiences to your customers. Digital transformation allows companies to improve transparency, reliability, and convenience in the purchase process.

Moreover, a great e-commerce store should allow you to:

  • Display relevant information: The online platform should provide accurate and real-time information about products and parts, inventory levels, delivery, payment terms, returns and pricing – including information optimised both for prospective buyers looking for potential solutions or suppliers, as well as for current customers looking to place an order.
  • Offer optimized functionality: At the very least, buyers should be able to pay and check out, place a (repeat) order, track their orders, manage their returns, and pay invoices online quickly and easily.
  • Handle the complexity of B2B orders: The e-commerce platform should have the right structure in place to process complex orders, including those based on complex pricing and discount structures.
  • Prevent order errors: Product information, pricing and inventory levels should be accurately displayed in the web store 24/7. And the online platform should provide customers with order history and account data to assist them in avoiding entry and selection errors.
  • Provide agile, scalable and future-proof solutions: Integrated e-commerce as well as a cloud-based solution ensures your digital transformation strategy puts you ahead of the competition.

Time to get supply chain ready.

Use our brand new report to access the latest insights on supply chain survival.