From technology investments that stretch budgets to supply chain partnerships that share proprietary information, 这些举措可能会让小企业踌躇不前. 这就是为什么他们应该马上投入的原因.

在巧克力比萨公司, 美味巧克力礼品公司, 优质的瑞士巧克力是“贝博app体育西班牙供应链的关键”,瑞安·诺瓦克说, 马塞勒斯号的主人, 总部位于纽约的公司. “Any disruption in this commodity could seriously jeopardize our small business.”

诺瓦克在2010年收购了这家公司, 由于财政紧张,销售不旺,他会根据需要购买巧克力. 这意味着他通常为巧克力和快递支付高价.

销售额在三年内翻了两番. 一个甜蜜的转变, but the practice of buying chocolate just in time limited response times for large orders and cut into margins.

尽管如此,经济仍然疲软,并不能保证持续增长. Novak had to decide whether he and his team could grow sales fast enough to cover the investment needed to procure larger quantities of chocolate. 类似的, could he negotiate cost reductions significant enough to allow Chocolate Pizza Company to become more competitive and pitch to higher-volume customers?

诺瓦克决定他们可以. “We went from buying about 20,000 pounds of chocolate annually to more than 100,000 pounds,”他说. The next step: upgrading equipment so they could efficiently use the larger inventory. 在那之后,“贝博app体育西班牙不得不出售,”诺瓦克说.

卖,他们做了. “在很短的时间内, we went from small-town chocolate shop to emerging brand with national sales,”他说. 随着成本下降, 巧克力披萨能够从大公司那里获得业务, 包括简历, BJ批发俱乐部, 和HMS主机. The decision to procure a larger volume of chocolate set in motion additional investments that accelerated production capacity and fueled greater growth. “But the key was gambling on stabilizing our chocolate supply chain,” Novak says.

当仔细评估和执行, supply chain moves that contain some risk can propel small shippers to greater growth and success. 以下是一些需要考虑的风险.

1. 走出去

Of the nearly 295,000 companies that exported from the United States in 2015, 97.6% were small to mid-sized businesses (SMBs), according to the Small Business Administration. 这些中小企业占了1美元的近三分之一.那一年的出口额为3万亿美元.

出口不仅能让小企业进入更多的市场, 但它可以通过使收入多样化来提高它们的可持续性.

出口的想法可能让人望而却步, especially to an SMB that lacks the resources to dedicate multiple employees to international operations. 有几个步骤可以帮助你.

一是留出时间来评估市场:你的产品适合哪里? 谁是潜在的竞争对手?

另一个步骤是估计对供应链和运营的影响. For instance, does it make sense to find suppliers within the market to which you’re exporting? 要征收多少关税啊?

Knowledgeable partners can provide shippers with assistance and advice on exporting. 这可能是一个第三方物流(3PL)提供商, 一个大学教授, 和/或一个机构,如美国.S. 美国商务部的贸易促进部门.S. 美国商务部的国际贸易管理局.

2. 投资的灵活性

Investments that boost an SMB’s agility and allow it to quickly respond to customers can pay off. 敏捷性是中小企业能够脱颖而出的地方,彼得·博尔斯托夫说, 美国供应链管理协会执行副主席, 一个贸易集团.

考虑Artaic, 波士顿一家设计和制造定制瓷砖的公司, 用玻璃制作马赛克, 瓷, 和石头. The best tile materials come from various locations worldwide; little is produced in the United States. Artaic’s supply chain extends to about one dozen suppliers on three continents.

与此同时,更短的交货期帮助Artaic赢得了业务. 然而, 每个项目都是定制的, 消除公司瓷砖消费中固有的可预测性. “因为贝博app体育西班牙的供应链是全球化的, inbound shipments can easily take three months including production times and sea freight transport,泰德·阿克沃斯说, Ph.D.他是Artaic的创始人兼首席执行官. 考虑到瓷砖的重量,空运成本往往高得令人望而却步.

达到四至八周的交货时间, Artaic与马萨诸塞大学合作, 阿默斯特, 花了四年时间开发一个预测库存订购计划. 来帮助支付费用, Artaic applied for and received a National Science Foundation Research grant, 帮助他获得了博士学位.D. 学生和指导教师.

With its new system, Artaic can order tile regularly, and before it sells its mosaics. Once a mosaic sells, Artaic likely will have all or most of the needed tile feedstock in house. “贝博app体育西班牙大大提高了瓷砖的可用性百分比, utilizing low cost and environmentally more favorable ocean shipping instead of air shipping,”Acworth说.

3. 培养供应链人才

It’s not just systems and technology that are critical to supply chain effectiveness. 人也是. 然而,一些较小的船运公司在投资强大的供应链人才方面犹豫不决.

“他们经常把供应链视为成本中心, 这不是一个他们可以建立竞争优势的领域,Eric Dunigan说, arrival Logistics的总裁兼联合创始人.

合格的供应链专业人员, 然而, are key to helping a small organization leverage its supply chain to better compete.

4. 考虑垂直整合

安妮和迈克尔·墨菲拥有生态遗迹, 一个杰克逊维尔, Florida-based company that reduces landfill waste by reclaiming wood and salvaging usable building materials and then selling them. 生态遗迹也提供古董、五金和其他物品.

墨菲夫妇最近在设备上投资了几十万美元, 包括猛犸象锯, 一个干燥窑, 还有一个平板刨床. These tools will allow them to more efficiently produce wood slabs that they get from local tree services, 树木在一次天气事件后被砍倒, 和其他来源. “使用再生木材是一门艺术,迈克尔·墨菲说, 注意,大小和形状是不可预测的, 不像大卖场里卖的木材. 没有窑炉, slabs can take the better part of a year to dry and are more vulnerable to bugs.

对于这家成立6年的公司来说,这些投资相当可观. 然而, the equipment not only helps Eco Relics further its goal of repurposing wood and other building materials, 但垂直整合提供了供应链竞争优势.

“There are millions of antique and building supply stores,迈克尔·墨菲说. The market for recycled and upcycled wood and building and other materials “is a niche market but a fairly big niche,”他补充道.

此外, few companies are vertically integrated and thus can meet demand with the speed Eco Relics now can offer. 比如说一场暴风雨把房主院子里的一棵树刮倒了, 他们想用这些木头做一个书架. “贝博app体育西班牙可以从原木到成品家具,”安妮·墨菲说. “这让贝博app体育西班牙脱颖而出.”

“在今天的市场, it is essential for businesses to reframe customer empowerment as an opportunity to offer additional value and create a more intimate and trusted relationship,达伦•科克雷尔(Darren Cockrel)指出, UPS全球物流配送总裁.

5. 与供应链专家合作

For an SMB, going it alone can feel safer than committing time and money to partner with other firms. 然而, shippers that try to do everything themselves often end up underinvesting in their supply chains, Eric顿尼根说, arrival Logistics的总裁兼联合创始人. 结果? 随着业务规模的扩大,它们的供应链经常会紧张,然后断裂.

强大的合作伙伴, 是否第三方物流, 咨询顾问, 学者, 或其他, 可以为中小企业提供他们原本可能没有的影响力和资源,顿尼根说. SMBs are better able to leverage their own capabilities and spend more time on their businesses.

6. 与少数客户建立牢固的关系

SMB应该使其客户基础多样化的想法, 无论是通过出口还是其他策略, 当然拥有优点. 如果一个客户遇到了麻烦, 该业务不太可能失去其收入基础的大部分.

At the same time, successful SMBs often concentrate on a handful of customers. This approach allows the business to focus its time and attention on a few key relationships, 而不是管理多个小公司.

一样重要, SMB通常可以利用其主要客户的运营专业知识, 其中许多公司可能规模更大,地位更稳固. “客户可以就选择供应商提出建议, 质量管理, 以创新前行, 并改善履行和交付,Mikaella Polyviou说, 亚利桑那州立大学供应链管理助理教授.

The SMB also needs to monitor the relationship and the customer’s financial performance, 因此,它可以及时了解任何潜在的麻烦变化.


While making moves that contain some risk can pay off, preparation and research are key. “花时间问问题, 贝博app体育外围值得信赖的行业同行, 并进行自己的研究,以减少潜在的商业风险,Darren Cockrel说, UPS全球物流配送总裁.

As part of the analysis, weigh total lifecycle costs against the estimated impact to revenue. 确定可能出现的潜在问题, and how the decision is expected to help the business execute on its strategic business goals. If the investment will require a heightened sales effort or a change to operations, 组织如何实现这一点?

中小企业还可以通过使用提供额外控制的工具来降低风险. 例如, digital systems enable businesses and their customers to track and manage shipments in real time, 这样他们就能对计划的偏差做出快速反应.

最后, 很少有必要一次处理整个项目, Peter Bolstorff说, 美国供应链管理协会执行副主席. It’s often just as effective and more prudent for SMBs to break a project into smaller components, 完成一到两个任务, 评估, 在必要时调整, 然后进入下一个阶段.



图片来源:Karen Kroll / Inbound Logistics,原创文章发布在这里:


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