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David Poole, Managing Director Sales, UK South at FedEx Express, discusses the necessity of streamlining the supply chain to expedite business success.

Whether an SME operates solely within British shores, or sends goods abroad, streamlining the supply chain is a necessity, enabling you to keep up with demand and provide the high level of service required to cultivate loyal customers. Moreover, to streamline the supply chain is to trim costs, with the avoidance of unnecessary and costly complications in the procurement and distribution of goods.

However, there is certainly more to optimising your supply chain, than simply ensuring goods get from A to B. Accuracy, access to tailored knowledge, use of the right software and a strong support network are but some of the factors to make sure your supply chain procedures boost rather than hinder your business. As such, we have compiled a few tips to help your business get its supply chain in tip top shape:

Tailor your approach

Know your customer. No business is alike; therefore it is crucial that you gather the right information to create a range of supply chain strategies that meet the different needs of your business and customers. There are a number of different delivery methods to choose from, for example: same day, specified delivery windows, after-hours and weekend delivery. Similarly, where consumers and businesses want to receive their goods is changing: home or business address, in-store pick-up, storage lockers, pinpoint delivery to exact location, sometimes even changing location mid-delivery to a different address. Tailoring your supply chain for different customers, product and locations can help boost profitability, reduce cash flow leakages and the potential for a loss of sales. Make sure you have selected the best way for your particular goods to travel, to avoid overspend and easy to avoid damages.

  • Get to know your customs regulations

A lack of insight into the regulations and customs rules concerning shipping a particular item, or to a particular country, can cause delays which your business can ill-afford. For example, failure to provide a certificate of origin or a form detailing the potential health and environmental effects of chemical substances may delay customs clearance significantly, so do your research. When importing or exporting goods, make sure accurate descriptions are provided in shipment documentation so it is easier for officials to calculate duties, and speed up the process. If in doubt, be sure to seek advice, as this is a key area when traversing international trade.

  • Get procurement right first time

A strong procurement strategy will ensure that the right stock is in the right place at the right time, allowing you to avoid bottlenecks, and keep your business agile. For instance, the more accuracy you have in the procuring of stock, the less time and money lost overall, so ensure you have the right replenishment and invoicing team and/or software in place to support. Strong supplier relations and a keen eye on the supplier marketplace along with regular audits are also vital for smart spending. With the correct amounts of stock and an ample cash flow, you can avoid timely and costly delays in your supply chain.

  • Make logistics work for you

Asking the correct questions of an established logistics provider can grant your business, regardless of its size, the extensive support necessary to advance its unique objectives. The right express delivery company can provide your business with a whole host of information ranging from guidance about the physical movement of goods and customs and duties regulations to monitoring inventories across borders and securing access in new markets. Most delivery companies are ready and waiting to put information at your fingertips, which will ultimately equip you with the tools to render your supply chain seamless and better manage your business.

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