Optimizing your supply chain

Effective management of your supply chain can improve how you do business.

In simple terms, supply chain management is the coordination of all your activities related to filling client orders, from pre-production to delivery of the product. During this process components of the product will change hands many times, from your suppliers to manufacturing, to storage, to shipping and, eventually, to the point of delivery and consumption. How does a small business begin this chain of command?

Supply chain model

When implementing a supply chain management system, you should consider looking for ways to improve efficiency in the following types of activities:

  • Forecasting and planning the balance of supply and demand
  • Sourcing raw materials
  • Manufacturing, storing and delivering your product
  • Handling possible product returns
  • Dealing with feedback on customer service and improving your process, if needed

Where do you start?

Here are some ideas on implementing a supply chain management process for your business.

  • Improve collaboration with your buyers and suppliers by sharing information to modify or improve your manufacturing processes
  • Keep inventory levels low by using just-in-time manufacturing or made-to-order products
  • Outsource your manufacturing, if needed, to lower costs
  • Invest in technology that will quickly transfer your requirements to suppliers and improve your time to market
  • Use information technology to forecast sales, procurement, purchase, orders, shipments, deliveries, and so on
  • Engage in dynamic discounting with suppliers
  • Use customized software solutions to help manage your supply chain system process

The supply chain management process is a series of relationships between your business and other organizations. Any changes you make to your supply chain management process should be a positive experience for all concerned, in order to keep a good long-term relationship with both suppliers and customers.


Learn more about supply chain management and access resources that can help you improve your supply chain management.

  • Supply Chain Collaboration Program (Alberta)
    Only Applies to : Alberta
    Learn how to build stronger, collaborative relationships with your supply chain partners. Follow-up coaching is included.
  • Supply Chain Management Association
    Learn how to better manage your supply chain by signing up for seminars, webinars, introductory training or a full-scale accreditation program.
  • Linking in to Global Value Chains
    From exporting to outsourcing and more, see how global value chains help your business compete on the global stage.
  • FleetSmart
    Find out how to make your fleet or trucking business more productive and how to reduce fuel consumption and emissions.
Date modified: