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    9 Questions to Ask a Potential Supply Chain Partner

    Posted by David Haan on Dec 20, 2019 11:10:31 AM

    One of the biggest mistakes we see companies make is not doing their due diligence when choosing their supply chain partner. Not all supply chain solutions are created equal and there are many out there that don’t offer full scale services.

    When choosing a company to build your supply chain, you want to choose a partner who will help grow your business and protect the integrity of your brand. 

    Here are a few questions to ask potential partners to make sure you find the right supply chain solution for your business:

    What does your product roadmap look like?

    It’s imperative that each Supply Chain Partner has a plan in place to evolve and improve their

    solutions. Understanding the functionality of each piece is critical but having the ability to develop the product for a more customized or personalized approach, gives you the opportunity to automate or streamline a process, saving you time and money.

    What expertise do you offer to suSupply Chain Partnerpport your products?

    Having a supplier that is well versed in both thermal management and temperature monitoring gives you the opportunity to have a complete solution for your thermal needs. If you are trying to manage the temperature of a product, you more than likely want to ensure it stays within range. And vice versa. Having a supply chain partner that is willing to assist in the implementation and process along the way is instrumental in onboarding a new product or fully integrated solution.

    Do you offer a fully integrated solution?

    Wouldn’t it be ideal to look at your overall process and determine ways you can save money by automating or reducing the number of steps in your supply chain? Having a fully integrated solution, along with a partner that understands the number of steps you are taking to complete your logistics chain, will only benefit you in the long run. They will be able to help you identify areas of time, savings and overall manual tasks within your process.

    Do you offer sustainable solutions?

    Sustainability and even “Well” products focused on the greater good of humankind has become a hot topic. Identifying a solution that can be reused, recycled or create a reduction in waste is a key element for most brands. If they don’t have a sustainable solution, you may want to ask if they are willing to work with you to develop one. Innovative companies that have the ability to customize and even personalize solutions may be the best fit moving forward as a Supply Chain Partner.

    Do you support an IoT strategy for your solutions?

    Having your solutions connected to the internet provides an automated process to digital record. Reducing the number of manual touch points during the process, alleviates possible errors along the way. There are a number of regulations, including the FDA 21 CFR Part 11 clause for the Life Science industry, that standardizes the process for all digital records, versus handwritten information. Having an IoT strategy streamlines the ability to be compliant.

    What are your temperatures of interest?

    It’s really important that your Supply Chain partner understands what the critical temperatures are for your product. Time can also play a role in temperature excursion and knowing this key data will create a recipe of success for your product to move throughout a complex chain and reach the end customer safe and effective.

    What temperatures are experienced in your shipping lanes?

    Do you currently have a process to temperature map your shipping lanes? Having this data will provide a means to anticipate the possible temperature excursions your product could reach throughout the supply chain. You will be able to make quick and accurate decisions on the packaging you use and the monitoring you put in place. When this all comes together, you will have a safe-proof method of shipping quality product.

    What happens to the payload at temperature extremes? Or why do you need protection of the payload?

    Do you know that your product becomes unsafe at certain temperatures? Does each person in the supply chain understand what happens if the product goes out of spec? Protection around the product means a protected brand. This increases satisfaction for the end customer and in the end, revenue for you.

    How do you plan to test a new solution?

    Some industries are regulated around the way they must validate a solution. Knowing this upfront helps your Supply Chain Partner support you through the process to reach a successful overall solution.

     

    Looking for a new supply chain partner? We’d love to talk to you! Here at Microtek, we’re committed to providing you with the proper thermal management solution to increase comfort and performance for the end consumer.

    Topics: Cold Chain, Supply Chain, Industry Knowledge, Phase Change Materials

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