Supply Chain Management: Understanding & Enhancing an End-to-End Supply Chain

For many developing and established direct-to-consumer (DTC) businesses alike, the supply chain is both the most essential and most difficult component of their operations.

Many firms struggle with supply chain delays and bad customer service because they lack visibility into their supply chains. Due to the many steps involved, from procurement to shipping items to end users, it’s all too easy for things to go wrong. It’s no surprise that many businesses have trouble with supply chain bottlenecks and poor client care!

Challenges in today’s supply chain include the following: Inefficiency at every stage of the end-to-end supply chain planning can help you address these problems.

Let’s get started.

What does the phrase “end-to-end supply chain” imply?

The end-to-end (E2E) supply chain covers all element of the supply chain, from logistics ordering to post-sale customer experience.

E2E supply chain management, as the name implies, seeks to deliver a smooth flow from one stage of the chain to the next. The objective is to reduce supply chain delays, enhance supply chain visibility, and lower operational expenses while maintaining customer demand and expectations.

Why is E2E Visibility So Important in Today’s Online Economy?

End-to-end visibility is essential for proper supply chain management. Online merchants will have a harder time making the best judgments or reacting to unanticipated events if they don’t know how operations are progressing across the whole ecommerce supply chain.

Disruptions to any supply chain are unavoidable, whether it’s due to severe weather, accidents, labor loss, natural disasters, IT malfunctions, or cyber assaults.

The COVID-19 epidemic not only disrupted the supply chain of major internet companies, but it also compelled them to reconsider their logistics. The pandemic caused moderate disruption for 56% of merchants.

By offsetting the costs of such a pandemic, insurance companies may be able to help businesses recover from this crisis more quickly. Companies have already reported significant financial losses due to not having sufficient insight into operations in the event of an emergency.

Using real-time visibility to your advantage may assist you in creating a more resilient supply chain by lowering risk and acting more swiftly during times of crisis.

What is the definition of end-to-end supply chain management?

Choose the one that works best for you and your customers. Traditional ecommerce means buying goods online from a single provider, but it doesn’t have to be like this. You can mix and match different methods of distribution so that you can give your clients the service they want, when they need it. 

Here’s a high-level look at the key stages in an end-to-end supply chain.

Purchasing and manufacturing

The conventional thinking is that a company’s supply chain begins once inventory has been sourced and received, with little attention paid to how the finished goods get from the warehouse to the customer.

It’s not just a matter of finding a company that will create your logo and colors for you. It all begins with procurement logistics, which entails sourcing goods from suppliers and manufacturers.

Changes in the procurement phase (e.g., production lead times or raw material costs) can influence inventory management and the rest of your supply chain.

In order to optimize stock availability, you must also consider manufacturing and warehouse receiving lead times. You risk having inventory issues later on if you do not include potential delays during this phase, such as backorders.

Manufacturing inventory pricing varies significantly in the long run, especially if you use a cost-plus model. Because of this, manufacturing costs can rise dramatically following an increase in production inventory. If your chosen supply chain is more seasonally driven or composed primarily of seasonal items (such as fruit or flowers), you may need to adjust product pricing and/or

Distribution in Supply Chain 

At this point in the supply chain, you’ve already sold all of your available inventory. It’s now time to move goods through the supply chain and deliver them to your client’s front door.

Distribution management is an essential component of the supply chain since it involves distributing products across sales channels and distribution centers in a way that is beneficial to both the company and its customers.

The greatest advantage of a hybrid fulfillment center is the convenience it provides for end users—both customers and employees. You can use our simple warehouse design to set up your own Express or National Home Store location, which gives you turnkey solutions for managing all your orders from one place.

A well-designed distribution plan can help you earn greater profits and expand your brand more quickly. Everything from how to get items in front of the appropriate audiences to how rapidly you can deliver items to consumers is part of administering a distribution strategy.


While the items are being stored, when close to filling up an order, it’s important that storage solutions be chosen and implemented so that picking and packing operations can move forward.

There are a number of ways to keep your inventory safe and secure: self-storage, renting a warehouse, or using a 3PL’s fulfillment center. Despite the fact that all solutions are reasonable, it is down to what works best for your company.

Keep in mind that storage might be a significant expenditure if not handled correctly. The price of merely keeping or warehousing inventory may be expensive, particularly if it is a variable cost. The more items you have, the greater your expenses will be.

Many businesses save money on storage during the early phases of their business by utilizing in-house fulfillment, but they’ll be spending more time fulfilling orders, which can be a significant opportunity cost.

When companies begin to manage a large number of orders or when more orders arrive, outsourcing your storage and delivery requirements to a 3PL places your inventory exactly where it needs to be when sending items to clients. This ultimately speeds up the process, lowers logistics expenditures, and improves order accuracy rates.

Shipping & last-mile delivery

Ecommerce delivery entails organizing orders for delivery to the customer and optimizing last-mile transportation.

When it comes to keeping customers loyal and pleased, reliable and inexpensive shipping is one of the most crucial phases of the supply chain. If your clients are not receiving their items in a timely manner, they may look for them elsewhere with improved delivery alternatives.

Shipping incentives are used as marketing tools, such as 2-day delivery and free shipping. Fast-growing ecommerce businesses invest a lot of energy in their shipping plan by providing several delivery options and collaborating with a range of shipping companies to ensure a timely delivery.

However, controlling numerous carriers and providing low-cost delivery may be a time-consuming, laborious, and complex process.

Because of this, many firms team up with a 3PL like Launch Fulfillment, which works with all major carriers as well as regional parcel transport providers to save money. 3PLs negotiate bulk shipping rates and pass the savings on to you and your consumers.

Sales & customer service

As your company grows, providing high-quality basic services becomes increasingly important. The retail supply chain is dependent on how well you cooperate with your firm and might influence client loyalty. To do so, you must provide excellent ecommerce customer service that is in line with your supply chain, from knowing the shipping policy to being able to monitor purchases.