Effective communication is essential to success in supply chain management. In this industry, building and maintaining strong relationships is crucial to refining your business processes. It promotes growth and healthy partnerships, which are especially vital if you’re dealing with global and international partners.
Strategic management of communication requires understanding, flexibility, and transparency, which ultimately helps with achieving improvement and increasing productivity.
For your learning, this blog post will discuss what you need to know about supply chain management communication, what it involves, and how it can be done effectively.
Breaking down supply chain management communication
Supply chain communication is all about efficiently exchanging information with suppliers and stakeholders.
Whether it be to discuss new ideas, provide updates on shipments or products, communicate new information, collaborate, or negotiate, having a conversation in real-time or typing out an email requires the right amount of tact and effectiveness.
Imagine you're a grower-shipper who wants to introduce a new product into your dealings. You’ll need to coordinate timelines and delivery with suppliers, stakeholders, and marketers for a successful launch. This will only be possible with open and regular communication.
Not sufficiently updating each party on the expected process and timelines could lead to the plan falling apart, resulting in shipment delays and customer dissatisfaction.
Fortunately, most issues are preventable. For example, consider solutions like simply giving your business partners more lead time and including them in regular meetings. Being open and transparent with new information will ensure all parties in the supply chain can adjust their processes accordingly.
Let’s go over some strategies that your supply chain management business can implement to better communicate with partners.
Create a clear plan from the beginning
First things first: make sure to be clear. One of the best practices when forming a new partnership with another business is telling them what your expectations are. This will be the foundation for your relationship moving forward.
When preparing for your first meeting, consider what information your supplier needs and what tools you want to use to communicate. You may need to be flexible to ensure that everyone can adjust accordingly.
When deciding on a communication tool, make sure that it’s easy to use for communicating back and forth. It helps if the platform has a notification system, allows you to program and adjust status alerts, and offers a way to share numbers and identifiers.
Keep suppliers and business partners in the loop about any upcoming changes or forecasts—this will keep everything moving as intended and allow your suppliers to also plan for the future.
Connect with stakeholders
Building relationships with stakeholders, whether it be retail or marketing partners, is an ongoing process. This will make reaching out when there are challenges much easier.
Knowing exactly who you’re communicating with and getting to know them on an individual level is vital in this regard.
Mapping out and identifying each stakeholder's role can be immensely helpful, letting you determine key players, those needing consultation, and those needing to be informed.
Prioritize supplier relationships
Relationships with suppliers are one of the most important to foster in this business. However, not all suppliers have the same impact on your business. With this industry being so fast-paced, having a limited amount of time means you’ll need to determine who requires your attention first.
When deciding which stakeholder to prioritize, consider these factors:
Revenue amount from the partner
Whether they’re single-source suppliers
Suppliers that cover your largest regions
If they’re sale-source suppliers
Partners who provide essential materials
Being open is important because it allows partners to adjust their operations to meet your needs. Transparent communication means that you can more effectively work together to resolve a problem.
Planning ahead will help to keep operations transparent. Suppliers can better prepare when they know when they are needed.
The importance of communication in supply chain management
Communication, in summary, means the building and maintenance of business relationships.
Internal supply chain management can be tough, and it becomes even more challenging when communicating with an external partner. Transparent communication is therefore a requirement for supply chain risk management. By prioritizing communication, forecasting challenges and managing potential issues related to freight transport, delivery, and logistics becomes simpler.
Talking upfront, for example, allows you to devise problem-solving tactics to address staff shortages and delays in delivery.
Establishing an open policy for information exchange at the beginning of the relationship helps with customer relationship management, ensuring excellent customer service and the ability to deliver.
Additionally, providing realistic expectations about the supply and demand and the availability of your inventory will help protect your reputation and establish you as a trustworthy and reliable partner.
Improve supply chain operations with Silo
Sending constant emails, texts, and updates can be time-consuming. Reducing your workload means making use of technology to automate your communications processes.
Silo’s ERP software solution makes it easy to seamlessly communicate with suppliers, customers, and internal stakeholders. Use Silo’s all-in-one platform to access and communicate all important information and documents, including historical data and real-time transactions.
If you’re looking for the funding to invest in advanced communications improvements, consider Silo Capital. With Silo Capital, you can increase cash flow to invest in better operations and physical assets to better improve your communications with your suppliers and customers. By increasing your investment into communications, the effectiveness of your communication with your customers and suppliers will improve, which often means improved revenues over time.
Because banks often favor large corporations and require small business owner to navigate time consuming red tape, alternative funding solutions like Silo can prove to be a better option.
Silo Capital solutions like Silo Instant Pay and Silo Cash Advance can quickly provide business owners with the capital they need to improve their purchasing power.
Book a demo with Silo today to learn more about inventory management and capital solutions that can help you improve your internal and external communications.