Ask us about our complimentary Data Assessment to clean and enrich product data, improve conversions, avoid cart abandonment, and enhance customer experience. Learn more now!

Supply chain management (SCM) is an ongoing process. When you think you’ve got it down, things change, and you must re-optimize your approach.

 We’ve collected a few essential dos and don’ts to ensure your SCM system consistently runs at peak efficiency. 

Keep reading to learn what actions to take in 2023 to streamline your supply chain management system, fulfill orders promptly, and minimize shipping delays for your customers. 

Supply Chain Management Dos

Let’s start with what you should do. Implement the three tips below to ensure your approach to supply chain managementis on point — particularly when adjusting for SCM in eCommerce.

Do Leverage Your SCM System to Automate Your Warehouse

According to recent research, 62% of shoppers expect free shipping orders to arrive within three business days, which means warehouses everywhere need to fulfill orders faster. Unfortunately, labor shortages aren’t helping.

Robotics and AI can solve this problem for many warehouses. Those who invest in these new technologies can automate physical tasks, such as retrieving items for packaging orders within a warehouse. 

AI, on the other hand, can augment decision-making processes to help speed the fulfillment process. The right warehouse management system (WMS) will help your warehouse workers —including robots — to pick and pack orders more efficiently, decide where to store products in a warehouse to boost productivity, etc.

How quickly can you deploy this technology? Faster than you think. Pivotree and GreyOrange have joined forces to provide advanced robotics-based supply chain management solutions for warehouses and distribution centers. 

By combining GreyOrange’s advanced fulfillment orchestration platform, GreyMatter™, with Pivotree WMS, the partnership offers customers increased visibility, accuracy, and cost efficiency powered by state-of-the-art robotics technology. This innovative technology helps businesses streamline warehouse operations, reduce costs, and improve order fulfillment capabilities.

A final note: It’s essential to take a people-first approach when implementing new robotics into your supply chain management systems. Uncover where you have gaps and consider effective ways to reallocate labor for even greater efficiency. Change management and training can also help your workforce adjust to — and embrace — using advanced supply chain management technology.

Do Prepare Your Supply Chain Management for Peaks and Problems 

Is your SCM system prepared for the ebbs and flows of inventory demands? Don’t let a specific season or supply chaindisruption catch you flat-footed. Instead, implement a proven supply chain management strategy to deliver orders to your customers on time — every time.

While this is easier said than done, a future-proof order management system (OMS) can help you navigate seasonal peaks as well as supply chain disruption. It’s an essential SCM system for gaining inventory accuracy, visibility, and forecasting. 

An OMS improves visibility and accuracy by tracking inventory levels in real time, reducing the risk of stockouts or overstocking during peak periods. This helps companies optimize their inventory management and fulfill orders in the most efficient way possible. 

Do Map the “Get” Experience for Customers

The “get” experience is an essential phase of frictionless commerce — i.e., helping your customers get what they want, where they want it — every time. Your supply chain is critical to delivering this seamless experience, particularly SCM in eCommerce.

There are several elements of a frictionless “get” experience to consider, including:

  • Channels: Which channels do you use to deliver products? The more, the better. Some customers are willing to pay for same-day delivery. Others prefer BOPIS and curbside pickup or ship-from-store options. 
  • Promises: The fastest way to lose a customer is to break your promise to them. So, do what you say you’re going to do. To make this happen, ensure your supply chain management system delivers complete visibility, accuracy, and control.
  • Profitability: The best commerce companies create frictionless buying experiences. But you must balance those experiences with profitability. Your OMS and WMS should help you determine the fastest, most cost-effective route to fulfillment — factoring in inventory availability, store and warehouse locations, carrier costs, and more.  

Supply Chain Management Don’ts

Let’s move on to the don’ts of supply chain management. Adopt these guidelines to avoid many of the pitfalls and risks that can hinder your supply chain success.

Don’t Neglect Reverse Logistics and Returns Management

The returns problem continues to push supply chain management to its limits — especially SCM in eCommerce, where returns rates are hitting 20%.

It’s time to ask yourself, “Am I focusing enough on reverse logistics within my supply chain?” Finetuning your returns process can help boost customer satisfaction and reduce strain on your supply chain management systems.

Here are a few tips to help:

  • Have a Clear and Visible Return Policy: Your customers should have a clear understanding of return windows, expected product quality, how long it takes to process refunds, and the type of refund sent. 
  • Automate the Reverse Logistics Workflow: This will minimize costs and inaccuracies when processing returns. It will also help your company respond to return requests in a more efficient manner, which will elevate the customer experience.
  • Integrate Outbound Shipments With Return Pickups: By incorporating reverse logistics into your outbound shipping processes, you can handle returns quicker, while saving money. Plan delivery routes with this in mind.

Don’t Add More Technical Debt to Your Supply Chain Management Systems

It’s common to attempt to solve a business problem by adding more technology. Unfortunately, this can lead to “technical debt” — i.e., tacking on more costly systems that can’t speak to one another, can’t scale with the business, and won’t meet your objectives for the long term. 

In a supply chain environment that requires significant agility, technical debt will hold you back. So will an inflexible monolithic platform. The solution? A WMS that leverages a composable model for supply chain management

While there are intricacies involved in a composable model, the crux is this: You can deploy only what you need to your current solution — moving at a manageable pace toward a WMS platform that is truly future-ready. The integrations are seamless, meaning you can add supply chain technology like robotics without causing issues to your current SCM system, or adding on cumbersome technical debt. 

Don’t Overlook the Importance of Supply Chain Integration

To keep your supply chain management running smoothly, most companies use a variety of complex systems that must be connected — everything from OMS to WMS to product information management (PIM) or enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems. 

Why is connectivity such a crucial element? Because these systems must be able to quickly exchange information to support effective and efficient supply chain management. Without that connectivity, errors can occur, orders take longer to fill, and customer satisfaction takes a hit.

However, connecting SCM systems with different architecture styles like microservices can be challenging. To address this issue, consider using an integration platform with an API-centric approach. For example, Pivotree Connect allows for any-to-any connectivity, making it easier for businesses to connect disparate systems related to orders, inventory management, suppliers, and more.

Commerce Growth Depends on Strong, Adaptable Supply Chain Management 

Your customers demand an experience that requires a flexible supply chain — which means your SCM system must be up to the challenge. 

As you can see, there are plenty of Dos and Don’ts to consider in supply chain management. That’s where Pivotree can help as your trusted, proven partner.

Pivotree provides leading OMS and WMS solutions that are fully integrated, secure, and flexible enough to grow with the market and meet your customers’ demands.

With extensive supply chain management knowledge and experience, Pivotree enables your business to win and retain customers by keeping your delivery promises and wowing them at every step.

To know more about Pivotree WMS please click here


About Pivotree: Pivotree designs, builds, and manages frictionless commerce experiences for brands and their customers around the world. We provide end-to-end solutions and services in Commerce, Data Management, and Supply Chain for hundreds of brands globally.