Paul Leslie-Smith is the Vice President of Supply Chain and Fulfillment for Boosted Commerce. With more than 20 years of experience in supply chain, operations, and general management for companies like Unilever, Sappi, and SABMiller, he is an expert in end-to-end supply chain management for sellers with operations of all sizes.
Understanding and successfully managing your supply chain is a crucial part of being a successful FBA seller. But even in the best of times, there are a lot of moving parts, and right now is nowhere near the best of times. Maximizing the efficiency of your supply chain is an ongoing goal that can be an overwhelming challenge, especially for a small team. Having built, refined, and fined-tuned supply chains for more than two decades, and now doing likewise at Boosted Commerce, our focus is on maintaining and improving supply chains for companies who want to exit, even in the face of unprecedented struggles.
Big or Small, the Same Principles Apply
No matter the size of the business, they all face similar supply chain challenges, and the current climate is especially company-agnostic. Management and reporting remain particularly critical, whether that’s a small team relying on Excel spreadsheets or a larger team tracking everything imaginable with custom software tools and granular measurements. None of your other business practices matter without access to your product, and when your product is inaccessible (such as during a supply chain crisis), knowledge about your supply chain is the next best thing. Maintaining fundamental supply chain practices is the key to both maximizing efficiency and weathering storms.
As a result, we’ve focused on creating and fine-tuning infrastructure to implement and manage these fundamentals at Boosted Commerce. We’ve developed an end-to-end, integrated software platform to professionalize and manage the supply chain as well as address pain points that occur without that functionality.
Maintaining Supply Chain Visibility
This infrastructure is designed to improve accuracy, streamline inventory management, and most importantly, improve visibility. Keeping track of shipments as they make their way through the supply chain provides key information in managing the volatility of Amazon and balancing the production/inventory push with the sales pull. As stockouts become more likely, shipping lines get bottlenecked, and uncertainty stretches into 2022, this information will become crucial in maintaining honesty with your customers. They will want to know when your items are back in stock, and if you’re able to give them more accurate timelines, it could make the difference between keeping and losing them.
Another key element behind improving efficiency is the implementation of functional specialization. Rather than a jack-of-all-trades approach, we engage experts in their fields, including planning, logistics and shipping, vendor management, and supply chain development. Creating this focused, expert-centric approach allows the people who know the most about their discipline to implement it most effectively, creating a stronger end-to-end process. And when something goes wrong, there’s now an expert in place to help get things back on track.
Three Supply Chain Keys for Sellers
Our philosophy at Boosted is about more than a simple handoff. Selling to us means that we’re here for the long haul to make sure your brand continues to grow. Part of that transition involves incorporating your existing supply chain into our infrastructure. There are three things you can do to ensure a more effective, productive transition.
1. View the sale as part of an ongoing process for the brand itself. While your role might be ending, the brand isn’t. Approaching the process as a transfer rather than a final chapter will help you better prepare us to take care of your hard work.
2. Have a clear outline and understanding of the supply chain process. This will help us create a more seamless transition. Everything from the physical movement of the product, to the list of key players, to the timing of key steps in the supply chain gives us the information we need to step in.
3. Introduce us to all the vendors, freight forwarders, and 3PLs. This is an important part of our due diligence process, and it allows us to know who we’re working with as well as understand the current ways of working.
Remember that we’re here to help reward you for your hard work and continue to grow the brand you’ve built. You’re trusting us with it, so the more we know about the process, especially as it relates to end-to-end supply chain management, the better equipped we will be to continue this growth.
Handing off the Supply Chain
With supply chain issues likely to persist into next year, it could be tempting to make an exit now. But after all of the work you’ve put into growing your brand, it might be tough to feel like you’re just passing the supply chain issues on to someone else -- you want to make sure your brand will be taken care of.
That’s where Boosted’s proactive strategy and end-to-end implementation come in. We’ve been anticipating these issues, so we increased inventory early for the holiday season, focused on the longer-term planning horizon using an S&OP process, and even used faster and more reliable shipping services when needed. If you’re ready to sell your business, and trust that it will continue to grow, contact us today.