Lesson 10: Supply Chains

What You’ll Learn: Supply chains aren’t just for mega-corporations. Every business large and small has a supply chain in one form or another and maximizing its efficiency, flexibility and redundancy is essential to your success. We’ll show you how to build a chain that supports your current and emerging needs, ensuring that it will grow and mature as your business does.

Supply Chains (continued)


  1. Research your supply chain. Think about your business plan, product offerings, fulfillment and customer service models. Who would be potential suppliers? Why would you choose one over another? Is there more than one supplier?
  2. Consider your business model. Are you the low-cost provider in your market space? Is customer service more important than price? Do you plan to offer less selection at lower prices, or do you want greater selection to be a market differentiator? How will this affect your supply chain? Feel free to return to your Business Canvas to map these things out and make any adjustments to your plan.
  3. Explore your metrics. It’s easy to lose control of your metrics once you’re up and running. What will help you manage metrics and gauge the effectiveness of your supply chain? Will a spreadsheet suffice in the beginning to track all this? What software solutions are out there on the market to help you control inventory and manage the supply chain? At what point will one offer more efficiency than the other? At what point will you need to a new team member to handle this for you?
  4. Find weak links in the chain. Think about your product or products. What factors could disrupt your supply chain or create scarcity or unavailability, either short- or long-term? What is the workaround for these situations? What is the threat to your business if a weak link fails partially or entirely? What are the risks to your business in terms of customer satisfaction, lawsuits, recalls, etc.?