Supply chains are what make any product possible. While it may sound like something only used for large businesses, it is not. Every business has one, whether you realize it or not. We’ve mentioned supply chains before in our Kickstarter Manufacturing post, but I wanted to dive into it more. I cannot stress the importance of your supply chain enough.
Understand Your Supply Chain
Understanding and maintaining your supply chain, even if it’s just one or two people or companies is important. Just to get a single pen for you to use at your company involves a pretty long supply chain. From gathering the raw materials, to manufacturing, to distributing, to you receiving the product. Your product has a supply chain as well. It might involve just a couple suppliers, one distributor, and the end customers, but it still exists. A breakdown in that chain can mean company failure, bad press, or profit loss that affects you for years.
When sourcing for companies, we look at as much of the supply chain as we can see. Hiring Your Outsourcing may be a valuable use of assets depending on your company size. Many companies keep their exact supply chain hidden in order to keep ahead of competition or many other reasons. The longer the chain the more potential issues can arise. Always look for the shortest chain possible, go direct to manufacturers instead of buying from end distributors for sourcing your products components. Longer supply chains also make for more expensive parts.
When possible, always create backups for your suppliers in case something goes wrong. While you can’t always have this, especially if you use specialty suppliers, you should always try to have a backup. Manufacturers close down, change services, make certain products obsolete, stop producing a product, etc. Unfortunately many of these issues can appear with no advanced warning, causing other issues for you.
Supply chain management and set-up is an investment. The cost of a poor supply chain can be more than the cost of setting it up right. It can also cause long term damage to your company. Because of this, I advice every start-up to rethink, even if you think that the investment is too high. An investment like this will seem small after you’ve successfully weathered suppliers closing, product failures, and other issues. This means you are still providing the best product possible to your customers and that is a win in my book. You’ll also benefit from happy customers by ensuring you can provide your product to them without issues.