At the beginning of last year, we asked the question: Is 2018 the Year of Supply Chain Networks? We have since established that the answer is not only a resounding yes, but that these growing ecosystems now have a name: multi-enterprise supply chain business networks. They have become such a prominent staple of the industry that Gartner recognized them with a dedicated Magic Quadrant. Toward the end of the year, we ruminated on Why Multi-Enterprise Business Networks Add Value & How to Choose Wisely, which began to touch upon two important queries posed in the former article: What’s the best way to build and connect these networks? And what considerations should we take into account?
The holiday season is a time of giving and receiving; UPS alone is anticipating delivering about 750 million packages. However, if you work in retail, it is also the unenviable time of mass returns and exchanges. According to the 2017 Consumer Returns in the Retail Industry report, “Total merchandise returns account for more than $351 billion in lost sales for US retailers.”
Growth, global expansion, and building complex networks of partnerships are a boon to businesses, but they also come at a price. Greater complexity invites greater risk and room for error, and if companies aren’t careful, they may easily enter into unwieldy processes and systems that are ineffective and inefficient.
Gartner just released their Magic Quadrant for Multienterprise Supply Chain Business Networks. But what exactly are they and how can they help your business?
At its root, the term encapsulates how supply chains have evolved into complex networks involving multiple parties and partners. Across orders, organizations must communicate with everyone from manufacturing and warehousing to transportation partners, freight forwarders, distributors, retailers, and others. While having all these connections is certainly advantageous, the pressing question is: are you really making the most of what you have?
With the rise of online sales, more and more retailers are striving to meet shifting customer expectations. Consider that 45% of consumers have abandoned a basket on a retailer’s website because of unsatisfactory or limited delivery options, according to a MetaPack survey.
No wonder retailers are shaking up their distribution networks and looking for more options.
The world of e-commerce is about to change completely. The United States has indicated intent to withdraw from the Universal Postal Union due to the way the global inter-economy postal tariffs work. These have distorted postal rates so it is cheaper today to ship from China to parts of the US, than within the US itself. This is about to change now, and will redefine competition and competitiveness in e-commerce.
55% of business leaders in supply chain and top bosses in finance plan to invest in Artificial Intelligence in the next couple of years according to a recent Forrester survey. This stat tells us AI is increasingly being seen as a technology capable of driving effective decision making and improving operational processes.
The modus operandi of the ‘sales process’ has changed over the years in both the B2B and B2C spheres; it has moved from being a largely offline to an online process and this transformation has also changed customer expectations vis-à-vis product delivery.
There’s no question that the supply chain is a strategic asset for forward-thinking retailers and brand owners. Getting products from A to Z efficiently while maintaining a positive customer experience is a big balancing act that supply chain leaders deal with every day. So, how can your supply chain have an impact on customer satisfaction levels? How do successful companies view their supply chains and why is it worth investing in them? While the path to success may not be obvious, some recent research gives us some clues.
The volume of data that companies have available to them today has never been greater, but jumping from system to system and combing through it all is easier said than done. To combat demand volatility and successfully anticipate developing events that might impact your business, you need to establish a comprehensive overview of an increasingly complicated network of systems and partners.
The prospect of the two leading global economies, the United States and China, pushing beyond the trading of punitive tariffs and into a full-scale trade war is creating a lot of uncertainty. The potential fall out for organizations engaged in global trade could be disastrous. But the desire for managing supply chain disruption, reducing risk, and protecting future profits also creates the drive for improvement that will lead forward-thinking businesses to pursue real-time visibility and control over their supply chains. By adopting supply chain orchestration (SCO) global organizations may be able to reduce some of the uncertainties that comes with these tariffs.
We've talked about the "Amazon Effect", and the need for agile supply chains to properly handle the increasing expectations customers have regarding factors like costs, availability, and the delivery options of the items they are purchasing. And those increased expectations have also bled into business or B2B transactions as well. After all, business buyers go home at night and grocery shop, go to the mall, and shop online like everyone else.
Establishing maximum efficiency in your supply chain is vital in today’s customer-centric climate. The average consumer is only willing to wait a maximum of 4.5 days for delivery, down from 5.5 days in 2012, according to AlixPartners research. People spend time online researching products and identifying the best prices, but when they order, they expect things to arrive quickly, and to have visibility into its delivery status every step of the way.
The expectations of the average customer have changed a great deal in the last few years. People want products quickly and expect them to arrive in increasingly tight windows of time. Most businesses rely on a complex and disparate network of partners and software systems to fulfill their orders.
The customer demand economy has permanently altered supply chain and in turn, it's forced supply chain leaders to search for answers. From better supply chain visibility to supply chain orchestration, companies are searching for ways to be quicker, more efficient and more agile than ever before. In turn, they have realized that they can't do this alone and have moved toward utilizing strategic partners to help them figure out how to transform their supply chain strategy.