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3 Warning Signs of a Siloed Supply Chain – and How to Fix Them


Business moves fast. Very fast. Supply chains need to move even faster. But a siloed supply chain will slow down your company, frustrate your customers, and ultimately waste resources and lose business.

How do you know if you’re stuck in a siloed system? Here are a few warning signs to look out for:

  1. You’re operating on a geo-specific basis

    In today’s global economy, your business should operate without boundaries. Sadly, many companies are laser-focused on specific geographies when considering their supply chain needs and vendors. But just as your business must operate globally, so too should your supply chain. Instead of assessing country- or region-specific needs, adopt a “think global, act local” strategy. Consider how your entire supply chain, across the entire business, would work with a vendor that can take a 10,000 foot view to cut costs, streamline processes, and leverage scale, while still being able to implement and execute at a local level that takes into account factors such as labor markets, language, cultural norms, and more.

  1. You use multiple vendors for different parts of the supply chain

    Planning, procurement, manufacturing, distribution, delivery, support, and returns: how many separate vendors do you use throughout this supply chain process? Three? Five? Maybe more? Having many solutions to solve one problem is practically the definition of a siloed environment. It’s the equivalent of taking five different buses to work instead of one car. Some of the buses will inevitably be late, meaning you’ll miss your connections and your schedule will have to change- which, in the real world, means you’re not making deliveries on time and your customers are left unhappy. Look for vendors that take the car approach, an end-to-end solution that can manage the supply chain process from planning all the way to returns.

  1. There is no line of sight

    So you have different people managing different parts of the supply chain, but who is overseeing the whole process? If you don’t know the answer to this question, you have a line of sight problem. To keep with the methods of travel analogy, having no oversight of the entire operation is like sending out a crew of buses without a central dispatch ̶ people are going to get lost and some will end up crashing into each other. All aspects of the supply chain need to be moving towards a single goal; they need to be on the same page, running as one machine. Take warehouses for example. Warehouses have become key problem areas in the supply chain process simply because there aren’t enough workers to keep up with the demand for products, especially with the boom from increased online shopping sales. But if other parts of the supply chain, say procurement and manufacturing, don’t know that the warehouses are treading water, they will keep moving along as if all is business as usual, not realizing that the supply chain is coming to a slowdown at the warehouses. Fully integrated, end-to-end supply chain management solutions provide that line of sight so many companies are desperately missing.

If you’re finding yourself stuck in silo after silo, it’s time for a switch. ModusLink offers multiple, integrated supply chain services to create a true end-to-end solution, enabling companies all over the globe to plan, respond, and innovate at the speed of business.

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