Recommended Reading: 3 Keys to a More Successful Supply Chain

Gain a competitive advantage through strategic investment and planning.
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Adaptation is crucial for success. If supply chain partners don't keep up with new trends and advancements, they can quickly get left behind. In order to maintain a competitive advantage, follow these three tips for a better supply chain:

1. Invest in technology. Investment is important, especially in economic downturns. Investing in supply chain advancements – specifically technology-based – can greatly increase the efficiency and effectiveness of a company. The use of automation, sensors and other sophisticated inventory management processes can help distributors and manufacturers establish themselves as valuable supply chain partners, while also increasing profits. (Read more in Distributors Adapt to More Sophisticated Supply Chain.)

2. Focus on efficiency and sustainability. In addition to technology advancements, make sure there is little to no wasted time or inventory in a facility. The need for fewer mistakes and more consistency has renewed interest in lean principles. (Read more in Distributors Seeking 'Lean' Supply Chain.)

Sustainability efforts are also growing among distributors and manufacturers, with more than 100 signing a pledge to combat climate change. While the initial cost is a concern for some, sustainability initiatives can improve processes and save energy, while also improving the brand image of a company – leading many executives to see it as a competitive advantage. (Read more in Supply Chain Sustainability Efforts Grow.)

3. Predict and prevent disruptions. Natural disasters and other unpredictable disruptions are known to cause huge headaches for the supply chain, but predictable, and preventable, disruptions such as implementing a new business system can be just as disastrous. Supply chain partners should identify and prepare for these types of disruptions properly through communication and planning. Having a strategy for these situations can make a huge difference. (Read more in Preventing Predictable Disruptions.)

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