When it comes to project management, are you a firefighter, or a forecaster?
The term “firefighter” is one you might find when researching project management. It refers to someone who spends all their time putting out fires at work. And figurative workplace fires are like real ones: emergencies, which means there’s no time for long-term planning.
By joining forces with the right contract manufacturer, commodity managers can transition from being firefighters to forecasters, able to see the broader picture and plan ahead. Learn how you can reclaim your schedule – and your sleep – with these important guidelines.
Avoid Firefighting With Planning
Planning can be difficult. And when you spend all of your time putting out fires, it’s difficult to think about long-term projects.
But there are ways to break the cycle:
- Think ahead. Know where the project’s landmines are, and figure out a way to diffuse them before you get started.
- Keep your ears open. Listen more than you talk to make sure you get the information you need.
- Invest in a history lesson. Look at what worked and what didn’t work for past projects.
- Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Doing things on your own can sometimes make things worse.
Overcome Supply Chain Challenges
One way commodity managers can streamline their schedules is through supply chain management (SCM).
Here are some tips for overcoming supply chain challenges from the University of San Francisco:
- Don’t presume SCM technology can fix everything. Before you rely on it too heavily, you must first have a specific level of control over your supply chain relationships. SCM technology works best when you’re on the same page with your logistics providers and trading partners.
- Don’t rely on past performance to predict future sales. Instead, keep track of sales as they occur. Your supply chain network will react to changes in consumer trends.
- While sales data is important, it shouldn’t be the only thing you measure. You should also use factors such as cash flow, real-time inventory levels, and financial ratings when making crucial decisions about your supply chain.
- Remember to communicate. You should stay in touch with suppliers and customers as often as possible. By nurturing personal relationships at both ends of the supply line, the entire supply chain process will be embraced by everyone.
- Know the supplier’s capability. When you understand what a vendor can do during critical times, you can measure your response time to changes in demand. A good supply chain manager will communicate with suppliers to review factors like lead times, burst capacity, and quick turn capabilities to ensure the supplier can meet the company’s needs.
Utilize Vendor Managed Inventory
Another way commodity managers can ease their burden is by working with suppliers who offer vendor managed inventory.
Vendor-managed inventory (VMI) is a process in which the buyer of a product gives the vendor the responsibility for maintaining a set inventory at the buyer’s location.
It allows your supply chain to run more smoothly and prevents a number of the errors that can occur when suppliers and buyers operate separately.
If you think VMI could benefit your company, contact Mars International. We’ll provide you with peace of mind by giving you access to the cost benefit of overseas manufacturing without having to deal with the overhead of managing your supply chain.
Mars International will be happy to work with you so that you can spend less time putting out fires.