Supply Chain 101 with Neil Bakshi of Bite
Insights from Bite's supply chain manager Neil Bakshi
Managing a supply chain is extremely difficult, especially since COVID. Neil Bakshi is the Supply Chain Manager of Bite, an oral care startup that is best known for its zero-waste toothpaste. We asked Neil a few questions about supply chain, and here is what he said!
Welcome Neil! So what makes supply chain so challenging?
Always expect things to go wrong. This might sound negative, but it's more about being prepared for adversity and challenge before it happens. The world of supply chain is ruled by unexpected external factors that will complicate your plans (e.g. recent covid issues - labor shortages, raw material shortages, port congestion, China shutdowns, etc.). If you expect everything to go right all the time, you'll have a tough time being successful.
What is your number 1 supply chain tip?
You can only mitigate so much risk, so my biggest advice is to control what risk you can, and then be ready to quickly react when things don't go as planned. Better yet, anticipating issues often requires you to have a Plan B and C in place to minimize the disruption to your business.
What tool is critical to your supply chain operations?
Ideally, a well-maintained ERP System (enterprise resource system). This should really be the core tool for many supply chain functions since it can house all your core master data related to SKUs, manufacturing, supplier details, accounting, invoices, financial data, reporting, etc.
Aside from that, Excel is the obvious and boring answer, but even with amazing systems and automation, you still need to be able to quickly slice and dice data to make critical decisions at a moment's notice.
Are there any other tools that you use to manage your job?
A non-supply chain tool that I truly can't live without is a digital to-do list. Supply chain is high volume by nature and I never want to be found in a position where I forgot to make note of a to-do item or an important detail.
I use a software called "Todoist" which can be very simple or robust depending on how you use it. I prefer simplicity and being able to reprioritize quickly, so this works perfectly for organizing a large task list.
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