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Can A Supply Chain Be Both Efficient and Customer-Centric?

It goes without saying that the supply chain industry is due for a transformation. Many organizations are still using ancient management systems, keep all of their data sources siloed. And generally, are not fully embracing digital innovations yet. A 2017 survey by Deloitte and MHI found that 80% of respondents believe a digital supply chain is imminent, yet only 16% have embraced it now. This is bad news for an industry where customer satisfaction — getting products where, when, and how they want — is so paramount to the success of every trading partner involved. I’ve learned firsthand that going digital doesn’t have to come with huge price tags or extensive onboarding/integration times. Focusing on an efficient, cost-effective, and customer-centric supply chain is key.

So, how can your supply chain be efficient and cost-effective while staying customer-centric in today’s “on demand” economy?

Find business partners more quickly.

Yelp.com helps you find everything from restaurants to nightlife spots to home repair helpers. What if an online platform like this existed for supply chain professionals? Finding the “right” supply chain partners can be a daunting task. You need someone to help you create, test, package, distribute, warehouse, and ship your products. Not to mention, someone to help you understand how your product is selling and how to overcome compliance issues. The list goes on.

Onboard business partners faster.

Finding business partners quickly is just the beginning in building a more cost-effective and customer-centric supply chain. Onboarding trading partners can also be the difference between winning a contract or letting it slip away to the competition. A recent Ovum B2B integration survey revealed that 40% of respondent enterprises take more than 30 days to onboard a new trading partner. IBM reports that their Partner Engagement Manager Enterprises can reduce trading partner onboarding time by up to 75%. This is credited to centrally-managed contact and certificate data which eliminates time-intensive onboarding tasks. There are integrated platform products coming soon.

Gain insight into your and your trading partners’ performance.

With in-depth, real-time visibility into supplier and partner performance, you can make it significantly easier to conduct partner profiling and benchmarking. You can also drive innovation such as milestone predictions (i.e. see which suppliers are holding you back and which are growing your business).
Additionally, having all your operational data aggregated in one system can help you cut costs and time. A single spot to track order details and statuses makes it easier to manage your operations. And more importantly, your cash flow.
Proper supply chain execution is all about finding the ‘sweet spot’ of cost efficiency in a world where shoppers get what they want, where they want, when they want. In this world, supply chain professionals with well-connected networks and agile systems built for end-to-end visibility will be the winners.

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Updated on August 6, 2020

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