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How to navigate supply chains

Navigating supply chains can be a daunting experience.

Supply Chain -article image

Discussing the supply chain isn’t exactly the most interesting of topics, but it is an important one for business owners and entrepreneurs. However, it doesn’t seem to get a lot of airtime. Successfully tackling the supply chain is crucial for so many businesses and can be an incredibly daunting process — especially for start-ups! Securing a structured supply chain is so important for the execution of your business ideas.

When I first started my bircher muesli business, Yummia, in my parent’s kitchen five years ago, my supply chain was pretty simple. I’d make the products, package them and quickly jump in my car and deliver the goods. Easy, supply chain success!

Often I look back and marvel at the simplicity and ease of it all, but it was such a small-scale business that I knew how much product would be sold and there was never any stock that was wasted.

As my business continued to grow, I found that making the product and delivering them was extremely time consuming and I needed to build a team to support the growth and demand. Little did I know that navigating the supply chain would be a bit tricky at first, and it’s also something that can’t be taught from a textbook.

Here are my top four tips to figuring out and navigating the supply chain:

1. Establish what type of supply chain you are going to model your business around.

Understand what upstream and downstream mean, and explore what works for you and your business. Everyone is different. For me, the outsourcing approach has worked for Yummia so far, but I know that I will need to adjust my supply chain to support the growth and direction we want to go.

2. Always be contactable.

When running a business, there’s technically no time to completely switch off. If something goes wrong, you’d want to hear about it, so ensure that your team is able to contact you any time, any day. There was a time when I was rebooking orders in the wee hours of the night while in the UK, but I was happy that I was told by my team back in Australia what was going on, and I could instantly solve the problem.

3. Learn the lingo.

Understanding the supply chain can be an overwhelming experience for business owners. There’s a lot of new jargon and lingo that you need to wrap your head around, so it’s important to be open to learning new things and immersing yourself in this new field. You’ll be an expert in no time!

4. Quality over cost.

As business owners, we’re always trying to find the most cost- and time-effective ways to run our businesses. Sometimes it’s better to invest in a better quality execution than trying to cut costs and ending up with problems. This also becomes extremely time consuming and isn’t worth it in the long run.

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