Effective supply chain management is one of the key goals for any firm that operates in the shipping industry. It encompasses a wide range of specific activities that combine to ensure that goods are shipped efficiently from the point of origin to the end of the supply chain (e.g., the end consumer).

Weighting, packaging, handling, and transportation are key activities in the supply chain process and a shipping firm will need to be assured that its suppliers and other stakeholders will work effectively to ensure that shipping contracts are delivered to schedule and to expected standards when the goods arrive at their destination.

Put simply, a shipping firm that has exceptional supply chain management will perform consistently well and will build a reputation for reliability within its sector of operations.

In this article, some top tips will be discussed that promote improved supply chain management in the shipping industry.

Develop strong relationships with suppliers

Every shipping firm will rely on a network of suppliers to enable them to conduct their activities. They may supply vital equipment or inventory to the company with an expectation that it will be delivered to expected timescales. Shipping firms also need to be accountable to their suppliers and ensure that invoices are paid promptly to cultivate a strong and reliable business reputation with them.

Building strong working relationships with suppliers can lead to improvements in the supply chain and may even lead to preferential rates being charged for the supplier's services. Shipping managers should endeavor to cultivate these relationships with effective communication and feedback loops.

When supply chain issues arise, there needs to be an evaluation of how this occurred and how the shipping firm can collaborate with its suppliers to minimize the likelihood of a similar recurrence.

Use software to manage your inventory

Every shipping firm will hold considerable stocks of various forms of inventory and will need to have an accurate picture of the locations and conditions of these items. When they are moved from site to site, there needs to be a solution that ensures inventory does not go missing or get misplaced.

Thankfully, by using a bar code generator via a dedicated inventory management application, the shipping firm will always have an accurate idea of the location of key pieces of inventory.

Bar code scanning of goods can also be an effective way of improving the speed at which the unloading of goods takes place during the process of shipping. This can allow time to be saved while also ensuring accuracy in the unloading or transit processes.

Introduce environmentally friendly practices across your supply chain

Finally, adopting environmentally friendly practices across each stage can improve the supply chain process. For example, shipping firms should insist on using recycled or recyclable materials when packing goods. This helps to reduce the reliance on new materials being produced and can help a firm to reduce its carbon footprint.

In addition, the use of electric-powered vehicles should be explored in the supply chain. Today, improvements in battery technology and the increase in charging stations have allowed trucks and larger vehicles to be electric-powered and be driven for a range of several hundred miles before needing a charge. This can also be a key way to reduce CO2 emissions and create a greener supply chain.