Supply chain mapping is an essential element of a business, as it helps organizations track and analyze data related to their supply chain activities. It provides visibility into the different components of the supply chain and allows businesses to identify areas where they can create efficiencies and reduce costs. By understanding the complexities of their supply chain, businesses can better manage inventory levels, optimize resources and ensure that goods are moving through the supply chain efficiently. Furthermore, understanding a company’s entire supply chain can help managers decide where to source materials or services.

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What Is Supply Chain Mapping?

Supply chain mapping analyzes, visualizes, and optimizes the flow of materials and products in a company’s supply chain. It involves understanding the different stages of production, looking at how each step is connected to the next, and identifying any potential problems. By mapping out a company’s supply chain, organizations can gain insight into how their materials are moving through their system, enabling them to make better decisions about their operations. Additionally, supply chain mapping allows organizations to identify opportunities for improving efficiency and reducing costs.

Why Is Supply Chain Mapping Important?

Supply chain maps give you a greater understanding of the supply chain issues like supplier shortages and lost orders that your business might face. It helps to implement rapid, responsive strategies for these issues. It allows you to take action more quickly and gives you a competitive advantage over competitors that lack this knowledge.

How To Create a Supply Chain Map

Supply Chain Mapping is a five-step process that helps you plan and visualize all facilities, activities, and functions in and around your business. It enables you to identify risks, recognize inefficiencies, reduce costs, and more at each stage.

  1. Identify Key Players/Stakeholders In The Supply Chain

Make a list of everyone contributing to your product’s production, storage, and distribution. Include your business name along with contact information for each supplier. If you have multiple supply chains for different products, use paper or supply chain planning software to keep track of everything.

  • Do you consistently communicate with your returns contractor using the most effective means? Create a dedicated space for real-time communication with that company on Slack.

2. Understand Relationships With Suppliers

It is essential to understand the relationships between all parties involved in the mapping process (e.g., are they your only suppliers or one of many?). 

  • Ask your significant suppliers to participate in the mapping process; they can send the same invitation to second-tier vendors. Each company in a supply chain is responsible for determining what it sells, to whom, and what it then buys from other companies in the chain. As you expand your supply chain, you and your suppliers learn more about the potential risks and benefits of working with individual suppliers and companies with long lead times.

3. Establish Timings & Costs

It can be helpful to break down the cost and schedule of each part of the circuit.

What features provide the most value to your business, and which offer the least? It can be helpful to think of the supply chain as a “value chain” regarding how inputs and periods create or destroy value. When estimating how long a project will take, add time to account for the small things (like responding to an email from a vendor) and the more important things (like delivering items to your customer).

4. Acknowledge Risks

It means understanding the risks involved in each entity, including potential disruption due to political, legal, economic, and environmental issues.

Are there invisible silos? Are they increasing your risk of disruption? For example: between purchasing and marketing, or your company and suppliers or customers? Can you eliminate them through knowledge-sharing processes?

5. Data Tracking

Ensure that the flow of information in the supply chain is from high-level executives to low-level employees. It can help you keep an eye on costs because effective information communication, including orders and shipments, can be just as essential to cost control as moving physical goods.

Can you use automation software to streamline your workflow and keep track of payments and invoices?

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Supply Chain Mapping

Benefits Of Creating Supply Chain Mapping

Mapping your supply chain can bring several benefits to your business, including:

  • Improved risk management: You can more effectively comprehend and reduce the risks related to your operations by identifying the crucial nodes in your supply chain.
  • Enhanced sustainability: By mapping your supply chain, you can identify areas where you can reduce your environmental impact—for example, by choosing more sustainable transportation options or working with suppliers with robust sustainability practices.
  • Reduced costs: Streamlining your supply chain can reduce inventory, transportation, and other expenses.
  • Improved efficiency: When you understand the flow of goods and materials through your supply chain, you can identify potential problems early and take steps to prevent them from impacting your business.
  • Increased visibility: Mapping the flow of goods in a supply chain allows decision-makers to keep track of inventory and anticipate future needs.
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Supply Chain Mapping

At Zetwerk, we will work with you to design a customized Supply Chain Management plan that fits your manufacturing needs. We can streamline current processes and add efficiency to new processes from start to finish. We specialize in helping manufacturing companies do this most cost-effectively, yielding the greatest return on the company’s investment.

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