Article > 10 Ways to Improve Supply Chain Efficiencies for Your Business

10 Ways to Improve Supply Chain Efficiencies for Your Business

The business climate is always evolving, so you can’t be complacent. Even if your supply chain is efficient now, there’s no guarantee it’ll stay that way. As customer expectations shift, your supply chain needs to change alongside them.

That means you need to keep improving your supply chain efficiency. But how do you do it? We’ve got you covered. Read on for 10 great ways to improve supply chain efficiencies!

What Is Supply Chain Efficiency?

Supply chain efficiency is your ability to leverage technology, resources and expertise. Improving supply chain efficiency helps you minimize logistics costs and maximize profitability.

Why Is Efficiency Important in The Supply Chain?

Efficiency is important in the supply chain because as a company, you want to save money and keep customers happy. Improving efficiency lets you meet customer demands while keeping operational costs low. 

Supply Chain Efficiency vs Supply Chain Effectiveness

Supply chain efficiency and supply chain effectiveness have different goals and people to satisfy. Supply chain efficiency means delivering goods affordably to satisfy internal expectations. Supply chain effectiveness focuses on delivering high-quality goods to satisfy customer expectations. 

The main goal of most companies is to balance the two things. You can’t have too much of one at the expense of the other. Too much efficiency usually results in reduced customer satisfaction, and too much effectiveness results in overly-high costs.

Here Are 10 Steps to Improve Supply Chain Efficiency

Good supply chain management means you can save money, prevent disruptions and minimize delays. How do you boost supply chain growth? Here are 10 steps to make your supply chains more efficient.

1. Improve Visibility Over Your Entire Supply Chain

Supply chain visibility is how you can track all your materials, components and finished goods. Great supply chain visibility means you see all your supply chain processes at all times, allowing you to make calls immediately. 

It’s great for decision-making and makes planning strategies easier. Instant visibility also means you save time when making reports for stakeholders.

Moreover, you have a great look at your supply chain performance. That means you can identify any bottlenecks, hitches in productivity, or human errors to fix immediately. The added responsiveness and control let you eliminate problems before they become big issues.

2. Build Better Supplier Relationships

Your suppliers are essential. What they do impacts your ability to make deliveries and satisfy consumer demand. Reliable suppliers ensure you can deliver on time. Even if there are issues, they’ll keep you updated so you can plan your procurement around potential shortages. You want to keep these suppliers and have long business relationships with them.

How do you keep a supplier on board for a long time? Build better relationships with them. Talk to them often and make your expectations and concerns clear. Make them feel appreciated, so they’ll do their best to fulfill your business needs.

3. Prevent Supply Risk by Managing Supplier Data

You also need to keep tabs on your suppliers. Monitor their performance and ensure they’ve followed industry regulations and fulfilled their obligations. Keeping track of supplier compliance ensures regulatory violations won’t blindside you.

4. Improve Time for Old and New Markets

One of the essential elements of supply chain efficiency is minimizing delivery time. This applies to both old and new markets. Try to strike a balance between all your markets so your efficiency measures don’t just affect one side of your business.

5. Institutionalize Sustainable Habits

Sustainability isn’t just a trend these days. Implementing sustainable practices increases supply chain efficiency through better inventory management, energy saving, waste processing and ethical sourcing initiatives. Since sustainability improves efficiency, it pays to practice sustainable habits and build them into your organization. Institutionalize sustainable habits by writing them into your company’s operating procedures and regulations to ensure everybody follows them.

6. Invest in Automation to Improve Operational Efficiencies

Supply chain automation covers many aspects. You can automate anything from warehousing, manufacturing, packaging and even some marketing business processes. Consider making investments in software and hardware that can help improve your logistics management and make your business processes more efficient.

7. Create a Returns Strategy

Your supply chain doesn’t just deal with deliveries. It also needs to handle product returns. Creating a good returns strategy needs reverse logistics. This means you need a way to track the damaged or defective goods from the customer all the way up your supply chain to the supplier. In the case of undamaged returns, you also need to repackage them for resale. 

8. Educate Your Staff

Supply chain improvements also mean improving your staff’s capabilities. That’s why you need to get your team on board and provide them with training on improving supply chain efficiency.

9. Use Quality Software Solutions

Using the right software tools is essential to improving supply chain efficiency. Identify what kind of software and systems your company needs, then get them from reliable vendors. 

10. Continually Seek Improvements

The business landscape is ever-changing, so supply chain efficiency improvement is a constant process. Don’t get complacent. Review your supply chain’s efficiency regularly and make improvements whenever required. 

Supply Chain Efficiency Performance Metrics

We’ve learned how to improve supply chain efficiency, but we haven’t gone in-depth about how to measure it. Most companies measure supply chain efficiency through these three metrics:


The less time it takes to deliver products to customers, the better. Faster order processing times mean the customer receives their items sooner. 

These days, customers demand two-day or even same-day shipping. If you can’t deliver items to them that fast, they might look for alternative sellers.


Part of increasing efficiency is reducing costs. This means you can deliver products more affordably, increasing your profits.

Balancing logistics costs can be tricky. Set it too high, and you won’t make as much money from customer orders. Set it too low, and you’ll likely impact customer satisfaction.


Efficiency is about reducing the time and cost needed to deliver goods. But speed and cost-savings don’t mean compromising product quality and processing accuracy. Delivering products below your quality standard negatively impacts customer satisfaction and sales.

Key Takeaways

Supply chain efficiency means delivering products quickly and at low shipping costs without compromising quality. It means you can satisfy more customer demand and gain a higher profit margin. Cost savings and increased productivity give you an advantage over many companies.

Supply chain efficiency is a balancing act because overly focusing on it can lead to your company delivering low-value products. 

A quality software solution is one of the hallmarks of supply chain efficiency improvement. ShipHero is a third-party logistics partner with robust logistics software that can help you achieve greater efficiency. Contact us today to learn how ShipHero works and how our services can support your business.

Supply Chain Efficiencies FAQs

What is an example of efficiency in business?

An example of efficiency in business is when you can deliver more items faster at a lower cost. So, a company that takes one day and $3 to produce one item is more efficient than one that takes two days and $5 to produce one item.

What are the benefits of supply chain efficiency?

The main benefits of supply chain efficiency are time and cost savings. This means you can deliver more items and get more money with each delivery.

How to measure supply chain efficiency?

You can measure supply chain efficiency by measuring the time and cost it takes to produce and deliver items. 

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