As common as eCommerce businesses have become, many in the industry still haven’t developed a full grasp of the distinct challenges that this specific business model entails. While the absence of a physical location is liberating to a certain degree, it also means that other aspects of an eCommerce business may be at risk of slipping off course over time.
Sure, additional flexibility emerges, but how can business professionals keep their objectives in place and ensure that every aspect of their operation goes as planned? As it turns out, tightening up your supply chain is a good place to start.
What Is the Supply Chain?
On its most basic level, a company’s supply chain refers to the complete network of players involved in the production and distribution of your products — i.e. the roadmap that leads from your hands into that of your customers. This includes any business partners your company may work with along the way and the many associated processes you utilize to facilitate timely delivery to your loyal customer base. Because the supply chain is essentially the underpinning structure that governs so much of your business, supply chain management plays a vital role in your potential success.
Why Is a Sound Strategy So Critical?
Your eCommerce supply chain strategy often decides whether you positively leverage your company’s potential for profit or allow opportunities to slip past you untapped and, as is frequently the case, unnoticed entirely. As a business professional, your focus should always be on achieving the lowest costs and fastest production cycles — whether that means acquiring raw materials, manufacturing and distribution costs or (most likely) a combination of all of the above — you can manage while maintaining the quality products that keep your customers coming back. For each product, you need to identify that tenuous balance between supply and demand.
Forming the right partnerships with reliable manufacturers and distributors can sometimes prove to be the key to sharpening your supply chain. How much your business pays across the board will, of course, factor into later stages of your supply chain and ultimately your bottom line.
Being an eCommerce business, you’ll need to value flexibility above all else, since your products are delivered to customers directly. So while your customers’ needs will always be paramount, this is the case even moreso when it comes to the eCommerce world, wherein supply chain management is the ultimate lynchpin on which your business’s fate may hang.
(Supply) Chain of Command
While the specific strategy that works best for your niche may vary greatly, the fact remains that the framework you put in place for your supply chain will inevitably affect your business as a whole. Just as a strong plan of action will bolster your efficiency and success, a short-sighted or hasty one will take a toll on your supply chain and, by extension, your long-term relationship with customers. That’s not a price you should be willing to pay, especially when a comprehensive supply chain strategy can have limitless positive effects on how you do business.
Now that we’ve demonstrated the significance of a top-notch supply chain, the time has come to make the necessary adjustments to your own operation. After all, without implementation, all the knowledge in the world serves little purpose. So don’t delay in updating the way you conduct business to suit the specific needs of your supply chain.
Moreover, for more strategy tips and invaluable insights into how your eCommerce business can make the most out of your supply chain, check out our new eBook, “The Black Belt Guide to Optimizing Your eCommerce Supply Chain.”