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How Suppliers Can Integrate Tech

Written by
Will Harmon

There are very few facets of life nowadays that don't utilize tech in one way or another.  Some businesses that thrived before the tech boom continue to keep on keepin' on in the same way they always have.  Suppliers will always strive to improve operations, but there are some incredible tech efficiencies today that can change any ancient system you might have in place into a powerhouse of productivity.

Optimizing Shipping Routes

Let's talk logistics.  Shipping routes are usually overlooked once they're set in place.  Back-end operations almost always draw your attention away from optimizing your truck routes and delivery methods.  Implementing truck software and logistic solutions are essential to cutting shipping costs down to size.  Idle trucks don't make you any money.  The national price of a gallon of regular unleaded gas is about $2.20. This represents, on an annualized basis, an average increase of more than $400 per vehicle driving 2,000 miles per month according to Transporting and Logistics International.

The most commonly used industry method is manually planning shipping routes for each of your buyers, and as every supplier knows, this is extremely time consuming.  Modern software allows suppliers to automate the entire process so that their trucks will always follow the best routes.  Best practices indicate  that a combination of strategic transportation planning and scheduling optimization are key for cutting fuel costs and enhancing your mileage.  This means putting more trucks in use, spending less on fuel, emitting less CO2, and acquiring new business. Ordering platforms like BlueCart exist to serve the needs of the supplier. Their upcoming Route Management tool helps suppliers efficiently track each of their trucks and optimize their delivery routes in real time.

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Inventory Management

Keeping tabs on your inventory is paramount when you're shipping to multiple buyers.  When orders are coming in from every direction, a robust system to manage your par and on-hand levels will do wonders for your day-to-day operations.  According to Wasp Barcode, 54% of warehouses are planning to increase the number of stock keeping units over the next 5 years.  This means suppliers are anticipating to maintain higher levels of on-hand inventory in the near future.  The market is growing, and it's taking its suppliers with it.  To answer the call for growth, 67% of suppliers are planning to switching to mobile devices to manage inventory.

Tech doesn't just stop at convenience.  A study conducted by the New England Journal of Medicine reports that having a solid inventory management software in place can reduce errors by 41.4%.The tech in this market has evolved to make suppliers' lives easier.  Modifying your operations to implement an inventory management platform will increase your bottom line, reduce stress, and get you home on time.

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The Common Trend

So what patterns are we noticing with how tech can be utilized by suppliers?  Time, time, time.  Tech is all about saving the user time and ultimately money through allowing better business practices to remodel your operations.  It's so easy to forget about processes once their implemented.  Years go by and better methods surface, but suppliers are too worried about acquisition and buyer engagement to see that the answer to their problems is much simpler than they think.  Giving your outdated operations a tech makeover is considerably more likely outperform a new utilization strategy.

If you're one of the businesses that's hesitant to infuse your tried and true methods with tech, don't worry you're not alone.  It's all too common for the "if it's not broken, don't fix it" mindset to take roots in business, especially for suppliers.  Today's tech is structured to implement as smoothly as possible, requiring little setup and lag time on your behalf.  In terms of the future of your business two things will always be true: you'll never be able to avoid the forced "how was your weekend" chat every Monday morning, and tech will always be around.  Better start sooner than later.

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