Why robust supply chain management is a fundamental pillar for customer success

Simon Williams, Waste General Manager at Suttons Tankers, discusses the benefits of a robust and resilient supply chain.

The concept of having a robust supply chain is centred around the ability of the supply chain itself to resist or minimise change. Such change can result in detrimental impact on service levels, performance and ultimately businesses’ bottom line. There are many factors that impact the stability of a supply chain and businesses often look to consultants for advice on how to strengthen it.

Supply chain management is a broad term that differs for each industry. In the bulk haulage industry, the main points to focus on are production source, storage, and transport. Most businesses outsource many streams of their supply chain, meaning that keeping a close eye on efficiency can be difficult. A large proportion of manufacturers also use a network of different hauliers which can add further challenges to an already complex supply chain.

The risk of change, balanced with the risk of not changing

Businesses can create optimised supply chains based on efficiency but the real demands and volatility of the operation can often lead to disruption and an inability for the supply chain to work. Moving out of our comfort zone is something that unnerves many of us. Change is often associated with risk, and with a tough economy, a lot of companies simply want to sail through unscathed.

Ironically, that common resistance to change poses even more risk to businesses. Processes and operations that do not get proactively challenged are never able to be optimised. Service levels are not able to be improved and cost savings are not realised when things remain unchanged. At Suttons Tankers, we help you to review and change your supply chain in line with external changing factors.

With all this in mind, approaching consultants, inducting them into your business so that they can understand your supply chain, and not to mention, paying them an eye-watering amount of money, is not something that is easily done. That’s why Suttons Tankers’ bespoke supply chain solution design proposition is so unique in the industry, setting it apart from its competitors.

Benefits of building resilience into your supply chain

Redesigning supply chains to bring optimisation should be high on the agenda for all businesses. There are many benefits that can be realised including cost savings, improved service performance, decreased emissions, flexibility and, arguably most importantly, facilitating growth.

Reducing cost to serve is incredibly important, but it must be recognised that it is often not the cheapest provider that delivers the biggest cost savings, as contradictory as it sounds. Cheaper providers, particularly when it comes to haulage, can often mean compromising on other areas, such as service, safety or reliability. The analytics team at Suttons have conducted research into many of our customers’ operations and have found efficient ways to reduce their cost to serve through optimising their supply chain.

One of the prime ways to ensure a robust supply chain while reducing costs is to optimise resource profiles. This can involve double shifting vehicles, trunking product where appropriate, and tweaking shift patterns. These amendments balance efficiency while also providing a level of flexibility, giving customers a more effective operation.

From the work we have conducted at Suttons, we often see customers seeking out the lowest cost option, but then choosing a solution which has an optimal blend of flexibility, supply chain resilience as well as delivering cost savings.

Strategically positioning resource and storage locations is another valuable way to strengthen the supply chain and we have seen this be a successful tactic at Suttons with many of our bulk waste customers. Analysts can look at optimal placement of resource, depots, and satellite locations to find the best solution which ultimately drives consumer value and satisfaction.

The value of continuous improvement cannot be underestimated. That’s why at Suttons we are so focused on solving our customers’ pain points and providing them with a bespoke solution which strengthens their supply chain and delivers value to their business.

Investing in the most appropriate fleet and specifying this to each individual customer’s needs is also, ironically, a way to drive cost reductions. Having an optimal fleet can increase the payload, meaning that more product can be delivered per consignment, and often can increase the load & discharge times. Our team of fleet engineers and procurement specialists at Suttons have strong buying power and can consult with customers on the optimal fleet solution.

Get in touch with us today to find out more about how we can optimise your supply chain and design a unique solution which brings efficiencies, cost savings and scalability to your operation.

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