The supply chain is a vital part of a manufacturing process. Without the materials you need, your business loses money rapidly – if it doesn’t come to a grinding halt.

And it’s not just about simply getting materials, either. It’s about getting the right ones: The most reliable, the most cost-efficient, and the most easily obtainable.

But no supply chain is perfect, and there are bound to be occasional problems. It’s what you do when those problems occur that will make the difference between you and your competition. Here are some of the most common areas where supply chain problems can arise, and how to address them.


It’s vital to keep track of how your supply chain moves from end-to-end. Where are your raw materials coming from? Where are they stopping along the way during shipping?

This is information too important to ignore. Without those facts on hand, it’s almost impossible to know how to resolve an issue you may having with, say, slow deliveries, or difficulty getting a particular material.

Vendor relationships

What do you know about the customer service and general performance of your vendors? Do they have reliable reputations? What are other businesses saying about them?

It’s not always about the best price for your materials, though that certainly is a concern. It’s important to know you’re working with vendors who can provide you with the best service for your money.

Keeping track of your data

Every movement in your supply chain generates data, from the financial transactions required to get the materials, to product testing, to how promptly your emails were returned.

Make sure that you know the facts on how things are moving, because that data can change from one moment to the next.

Staying efficient

Are all your systems optimized? Your check-in processes, to your warehousing, to your shipping?
It’s no small task, obviously, but keeping your technology and procedures up-to-the-minute can be a great shield against potential supply chain problems.

Risk Management

Do you have a risk management strategy that takes the worst-case scenarios into account? It’s not a pleasant thing to consider, and you may never need one, but having a contingency plan of some kind is key.

What happens if there’s a disruption in the transport or production of your raw materials? Do you have backups in place? Emergencies happen, and the more prepared you are for them, the better off you’ll be.


it’s one of the most threatening problems in the business world today: How do you protect your information from cybercriminals? This can affect your supply chain, as well.

Edna Conway, the Chief Security Officer for Cisco Systems, says in a recent Q&A that there are often security flaws in vendors’ systems than can expose a company’s personal information to a hack or other breach. In addition to optimizing your own systems, you may want to check in with your vendors to see if they’ve done the same.

Security in the modern age is a team effort, and your supply chain vendors should be on board.


Yes, it’s important to keep expenses low, but too much budget-cutting can be harmful, especially when it comes to your supply chain. Have you stretched your staff too thin?

Is it easier now for your company to be caught by surprise if there’s a supply chain disruption?

Think about it before you slash that budget.

Lack of resources

Some companies simply don’t have the resources – whether that means time, personnel, software, or money – to manage their own supply chain end-to-end.

That’s why one of Pivot’s services is supply chain management. Along with our product development and manufacturing services, we can help you project what you’ll need and what you won’t. We can provide greater security when it comes to your company’s information. And we can help make your distribution run smoothly.

Pivot takes responsibility for your supply chain from end-to-end. With our Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) and Manufacturing Resource Planning (MRP) systems, you can rest assured that any product or supply-chain issues will be resolved quickly.

A disruption in your supply chain can cause major problems for your product and your company. Reviewing these areas and addressing potential problems can give your product-based business a much higher rate of success.

Learn more about keeping your supply chain moving along with our Supply Chain Management infographic.