Some things to keep in mind when managing supply chain operations.

The value of many companies is decided by the success of supply chain operations. The business environment is tough, but one way you can boost your chances of success is to improve the way in which your supply chain is structured and operated. While this study is a couple of years old, the results are still worth considering: companies who think of their supply chain operations as a strategic asset deliver 70 percent better results than their peers, with many reporting revenue growth significantly above the average for their industries.

So, what can you do to start thinking of your supply chain operations as a strategic asset? Well, it all starts with how it’s built. Here are a few tips for ensuring your supply chain is a strategically successful asset.

Choose Third Parties Carefully

Go for Quality

First, the quality of your supply chain operations depend entirely on the quality of the individual components within it. Whether it’s your manufacturer, delivery service, or materials supplier, you’ll need to choose every third party carefully.

Background Check

Ask for reviews and testimonials from past and present clients, and consider choosing entities who already have a working relationship with other parts of your chain—their existing relationship and history working together could see them operating like a well oiled machine. Perhaps you could also find a specialist consultant in your industry to see if your supply chain operations are as effective as possible, learning from their experience and acting on their optimization recommendations.

Real-time Communication

Second, whatever your industry, there’s one thing that’s essential for a successful supply chain: good and immediate communication between all parties. It’s critical that everyone stay informed on salient supply chain updates, which means you may need to implement and maintain a forum that allows for two-way dialogue to discuss efficiency, upcoming plans, and any foreseen challenges. It will provide the perfect opportunity to brief one another on changes and pre-empt associated challenges with change too.

Tighten Security

Good communication invariably means sharing networks and working collaboratively. However, this may weaken the security of your supply chain operations, leaving it vulnerable to hackers that are seeking to take advantage of your processes, products, or other forms of valuable information.

Implement a security policy and identify the weak links in your operations where security is concerned, giving them particular attention to bolster security. Aside from policy, have a plan in place for how you’ll control the damage if your supply chain operations become compromised. Consider how it might affect your customers and ensure you have an action plan in place if there’s a security breach.

Plan for Legal Considerations

Finally, supply chain operations need to be compliant with various rules and regulations—not just in your domestic territory, but anywhere you manufacture, buy, source, or ship internationally.

In order for your supply chain to operate successfully, you’ll need to aware of compliance requirements, meet them, and keep documents to demonstrate your compliance. Failure to consider the legal and regulatory risks in your supply chain could result in penalties, fines, and tax implications. This may also affect day-to-day challenges with your bottom line and delivery schedule delays.

These are just a handful of things you need to consider if you want to build and operate and maintain a successful supply chain, whatever your industry. Consider implementing these tips if you want to maintain an edge over your competitors.