All About The Supply Chain by Bella C. Fletcher

Managing the supply chain is important for any business. When a small business experiences supply management issues, these can be just as troublesome as for a global company. In fact, the result of inhibited or inefficient growth can affect a small business even more than a larger one. This is because these organizations often rely on growth in order to stay afloat. The status quo is not an option for them, making a smooth-running supply chain essential.

The supply chain consists of every party indirectly and directly involved in fulfilling customer requests. Manufacturers, suppliers, warehouses, transporters, retailers, and customers are included in this chain. Within each category, all the functions involved in receiving and fulfilling customer requests are also included. These are areas like marketing, distribution, operations, customer service, finance, and new product development.

Within a supply chain, which is dynamic, there is a constant flow of product, information, and money. In a small business supply chain, a separate organization may not represent each party. However, the functions and flow are just as important. Customers do not take the size of a business into account when making a purchase. They demand the same level of service when ordering from a two-person organization as from a worldwide company.

This expectation can stretch a small business, which often features a small staff, very thin. Workers often perform multiple duties and when business is booming, errors can result if workers are not careful. A supply source is often a network, so a mistake in one area creates a domino effect. Some businesses learn this the hard way and eventually revamp their operations to ensure quality in all aspects of supply management.

Others outsource certain aspects of the chain so they can focus on the areas in which they are strong, like product development. A separate entity can perform product fulfillment services such as pick and pack, keeping the business updated throughout the process. The price paid for this service is often well worth because it enables the small business to focus on other key areas.

The design of a small business supply chain depends on the needs of the customer and the roles within each of the relevant stages. The chain begins with the customer order and ends when the customer pays for the purchase and is satisfied with the transaction. Steps in between may be performed by the small business or other parties, depending on the strengths of each.

Many small businesses can benefit from order fulfillment services. If you are interested in learning more about order fulfillment services and how using a third party service can help your business, visit BergenShippers.com today.

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