In almost every business, inventory is of constant importance. Many businesses need it to determine their profit margins, their overall losses, and their overall costs. Some companies, especially those that are relatively small, keep their inventory elsewhere rather than on their actual location. Third-party vendors often operate these storage facilities. A supply chain consultant is an expert in inventory and vendor management and can help manage these wares.
Signs that you might need a supply chain consultant
So why would a company turn to a supply chain consultant? Or rather, why would your business decide to turn to a supply chain consultant? Sometimes inventory and vendor management takes far more time than you would like to invest in it, or sometimes it becomes a problem that you do not have the actual expertise to solve.
When you do hire someone to help your business, your supply chain consultant is going to advise your business on how to improve your supply chain process, or they can take over the management and dealings with the vendor altogether. This is going to depend on your preferences and the ability for that particular consultant to invest time in your company. It does mean that you do not have to worry about someone coming in and ‘taking over’ if you are uncomfortable with that idea.
Oftentimes a supply chain consultant will have years of experience with incoming and outgoing shipments, price negotiation, procurement, freight cost management, and managing multiple vendors. While they may be new to your company, it does not mean that they are new to the concept of improving your supply chain. They can bring that experience and immediately identify potential issues that they have seen in other businesses throughout the years.
The greatest asset for a supply chain consultant
Perhaps a supply chain consultant’s greatest skill is the ability to assess inventory costs almost instantly and start to develop plans that can help reduce the impact of those costs. Sometimes these solutions are straightforward, while other times they are a bit more complex. Solutions may include using economies of scale to lower freight on incoming and outgoing parts and lower purchase prices, or it might include reducing vendors into a select few.
Oftentimes a supply chain consultant has expertise in vendor consolidation. This means that they have the ability to look at your company’s requirements and decide what inventory management practice best works for you. While you might have a few different vendors who offer the best prices on select items, consolidating the vendors (and thus reducing overall transport costs etc.) may actually be the smarter choice
Targeted to your needs
Supply chain consultants will often try to utilize an inventory management approach that matches with the company’s business philosophy, customers, industry, and market. This might provide you with the option to lower your month-to-month carrying charges of inventory. This may not just increase your profits, but might also decrease your overhead enough to where you are able to challenge your competitors.
The truth is that most businesses can continue with their current supply chain. They might have a few snags here or there, but they would not notice the benefits offered by a supply chain consultant unless they experience them themselves. If you believe that your business needs to be run as cost-effective as possible, if you believe that you need every edge that you can get in a highly competitive marketplace, it is a good idea to see if there is an outside source that might be able to help you. What you end up doing with the information is ultimately up to you.
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