A supply chain professional looking at their laptop, cell phone, and tablet while working wondering how to improve communication in the supply chain
A supply chain professional looking at their laptop, cell phone, and tablet while working wondering how to improve communication in the supply chain

How to Improve Communication in The Supply Chain

Your supply chain depends on reliable and clear communication. However, it can be difficult to keep up with all of the phone calls, emails, messages, and other forms of communication that you have to juggle. And that’s just internal communication!

Think about the external communication required with vendors, suppliers, and other partners in your supply chain. Each entity has its own communication preferences, making it very difficult to keep up with, especially when under pressure from increased order volumes and tighter deadlines.

No wonder companies are thinking about how to improve communication in the supply chain. To get started, you need to find the root causes of communication waste and inefficiencies to implement the right solution. Let’s examine the issues that need to be addressed!

Improve Supply Chain Communication By Identifying Problems

For years, studies have been conducted to figure out how to address communication issues in the supply chain and drive toward improvements. In summary, we believe there are three main areas that you should focus on:

  • Your Processes
  • Your People
  • Your Technology

If there is a breakdown in one or more of these areas, you will experience rising costs, lost time, and wasted resources. That’s why it’s important to delve into the issues that affect each of these categories so you can take corrective actions to improve communication!

Problems with Your Processes

A core problem that affects many supply chains is poor management of the processes that support communication. For example, what’s the process for communicating a change order to each affected party?

Every supply chain is different, so there could be issues with how the change order process was strategized, implemented, and followed. Consider the Plan-Do-Check-Act cycle that you’ve likely encountered in various management systems:

  • Did you plan the appropriate communication process for a change order?
  • Did your people follow the process that was implemented?
  • Did you check to see whether the process was followed?
  • Are you acting on issues that continue to pop up in supply chain communication?

A lack of oversight will eventually lead to gaps in whether processes are followed. This affects both your internal team and external stakeholders that you expect to follow the processes you implemented. Over time, these gaps could become wider, creating a host of people issues that need to be addressed.

Problems with Your People

If you’ve spent any period of time managing aspects of the supply chain, then you know that people have their own communication preferences! The key is to get your people (both internal employees and external stakeholders) to buy into your communication processes.

If left to their own devices, people will fall back on their communication preferences and create silos around their particular area of the supply chain. You’ll end up with errors, discrepancies, misunderstandings, and a lot of unnecessary back-and-forth exchanges.

If this is a problem area for your supply chain, then we encourage you to identify the root cause of why your people are not following communication processes. Ask some questions:

  • Do you understand the processes?
  • Are you properly trained on the processes?
  • Are you motivated to follow the processes?
  • Do you have the appropriate communication tools?

Find answers. Uncover causes. Stay on top of common issues. Continue to motivate your people to follow processes. This way, you can help your people remain engaged by encouraging them to follow the supply chain communication processes.

It also helps to have the right technology in place to give your people the tools they need to follow processes.

Problems With Your Technology

Over the years, companies have tried many different pieces of technology to improve communication in the supply chain. Companies have set up multiple systems, tried broad software tools like Excel spreadsheets, and used supply chain-specific tools like TMS applications.

Here’s the bottom line: tools do not solve problems by themselves; sometimes, tools only make things worse. Think about it. If you don’t have the appropriate processes and your people are not motivated to follow them, then everyone will use whatever tool they are most comfortable with. And, if everyone is using a different tool, then no one is on the same page.

We recommend uncovering root issues about how technology is being used internally and externally so that you can drive toward improvements:

  • Understand the technology hangups that stakeholders have.
  • Identify why certain tools are not being used at all or not being used properly.
  • Look for inefficiencies caused by cumbersome tools.
  • Find opportunities for improvement if your people have access to the right tools.

At the end of the day, the formula should be to optimize processes, support your people, and have the right technology in place to centralize communication. We can solve that formula with our CloudLogix all-in-one supply chain logistics platform.

Utilize CloudLogix to Improve Supply Chain Communication

CloudLogix is the right solution to improve communication in the supply chain. We built a robust platform to serve as the central communication hub for your supply chain:

  • Connect and manage your shipping processes using one simple platform.
  • Enhance communication with your people by bridging gaps with each stakeholder.
  • Implement a right-size technology solution that meets the needs of your supply chain.

We are passionate about helping companies eliminate communication waste and find areas for improvement. That’s why we published a whitepaper that takes a deep dive into how to address communication in the supply chain.

We encourage you to download our free resource. You’ll learn more about how to break down siloed communication, standardize processes with all stakeholders, address people challenges, and use the right technology to bring everything together.

After reading the whitepaper, let’s have a conversation. Our team of experts can help you take the next step to improve communication in your supply chain!