A Practical Look At Supply Chain Management For Small Business

Here’s a closer look at the supply chain and four steps to apply and refine supply chain principles for your small business.

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We found a quaint cobbler that had been making shoes all of his life. As we tried to talk with the cobbler and his wife in our broken Italian the cobbler showed us all the designer brands that hired him to make shoes.

The cobbler had logo engravers that would stamp a designer brand name onto shoes ordered for that day. If you have compared designer Italian handmade leather shoes and noticed similarities, it’s likely because they were made by the same person.

The shoe cobbler could be the best in the world for making a particular type of shoe. At the same time, he represents a small aspect of a designer label’s Italian shoe collections sold to the public.


Supply Chain Tips

Here’s a look at four steps to apply and refine supply chain principles for your small business:


  1. Focus

    Discover your company’s strengths and compete based on the strengths of the organization. Focus on what you do best.

  2. Define

    Map your entire go-to market process from beginning to end. Outline the various steps a product or service will go through to get to an end user.

  3. Outsource

    Hire and outsource work to other companies who are the best in areas that your company is not.

  4. Refine

    Focus on improving the quality of the customer experience continually with both internal activities as well as activities you manage through your company’s supply chain.

Every small business can achieve operational excellence through managing their supply chain and focusing on their strengths.


References: Collins, J. (2001). Good to Great. New York City: HarperCollins Publishers, Inc.; Friedman, T. L. (2006). The World is Flat: A Brief History of The Twenty First Century. New York, NY: Farrar, Straus and Giroux.; Welch, J., & Welch, S. (2005). Winning. New York, NY, USA: HarperCollins.


This article has been edited and condensed.

Jason Crowther is currently the Dean of Enrollment for Grace College of Divinity. He has a background of starting several small businesses and is the process of acquiring his MBA in entrepreneurship from Regent University. Connect with @gcdivinity on Twitter.

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