Putting Customers at the Center of Your Supply Chain

Nowadays, if a consumer wants or needs something, buying it is just a click or two away—and then, in a day or two, what they ordered lands on their doorstep. As customers become increasingly used to this kind of seamless experience, they will demand it, more and more, and will quickly become dissatisfied with service if a company doesn’t deliver speedy results.

In addition to rising expectations, larger numbers of customers are taking advantage of online shopping opportunities. Consumers that once headed out to stores often stay at home now and swipe—and, because of COVID, this is more true than ever before. When comparing YoY online sales from June 2019 to June 2020, for example, there was an increase of 76%. And, it’s expected that, by October 5, 2020, annual online sales will have already surpassed those of 2019, and that’s before holiday sales have really kicked in.

Then there are today’s delivery options, which include same-day delivery, in-store pickup of online orders, and even curbside service for consumers who don’t want to walk into stores. Plus, consumers can track their orders on their smartphones, every step of the way. While all of this is incredibly convenient for customers, it can put plenty of pressure on supply chain and logistics professionals.

So, what should you do? How can you get products and parts to your customers at this increasingly accelerated pace? The answer lies in your supply network model.

Faster, More Flexible, and More Resilient

That’s what companies and their supply chains need to become to compete and innovate in today’s rapid, consumer-driven world. This shift, which was already in progress before COVID—and continues to grow—is overturning supply chain practices that had served companies well for a long time.

In response, forward-thinking companies are replacing their older supply chain systems, turning to platform-enabled networks that facilitate seamless collaboration. These robust networks can support today’s consumer experiences through high visibility and digital capabilities, and they allow for free flowing information between the customer and each of the components along the supply chain.

In turn, companies can get fast feedback that empowers them to adjust and pivot, as needed, to optimize the customer experience. To understand what customers need, they can integrate social media channels into their supply chain ecosystem, and then monitor what consumers are saying about their products and customer service.

Outpacing Consumer-Centric Change

To stay ahead of the curve, companies are shortening their product life cycles, focusing on becoming more efficient and responsive to customer demand. They must accelerate their time to market and avoid supply chain bottlenecks that can cost them dearly. To make that happen, they need technology that streamlines the process.

Modern forecasting is also crucial, with Cloud-based solutions allowing companies to dovetail production with customer demand and optimize their inventories. Logistically, goods can be delivered with unprecedented visibility and speed, thanks to automated fulfillment systems and IoT-based tracking technology.

The ultimate result? Companies that use smart technology have the ability to satisfy the enhanced expectations of today’s tech-savvy customers.

Collaborative Supply Chains

Today’s modern supply chain is consumer driven, and it’s also collaborative. That’s because, when you put the consumer in the center of yours, your customers can directly impact any part of it, with all participants in the supply network receiving communications about their demand in near real time.

The bottom line is that, for your company to compete and innovate in today’s world, the crucial first step is understanding the behavior of your customers and then designing a supply chain with them at the center, leveraging technology to maximize impact.

How CSS Can Help

First, you can read more about this topic by CSS’s Howard Engle on the Oracle blog. Engle’s post on the Oracle site is the first in a series of posts of his that focus on the supply chain and how it is agilely empowered in the Cloud. Other topics in the series include:

  • how supply chains have changed from linear to demand-driven
  • how businesses have adapted and why legacy systems can’t keep pace
  • supply chain visibility
  • transformational technology to fight fraud and improve planning
  • better data management to produce clean data
  • global trade and the volatility with taxes and tariffs
  • how businesses can prepare for changing customer demand & governmental regulations
  • sustainability – i.e., waste management in the food and beverage industry and reducing carbon footprint caused by logistics/transportation

Besides gleaning key information from these blog posts at Oracle, you can leverage the in-depth experience and Oracle wisdom of CSS and our SCM Cloud migration services.

With CSS, you can benefit from tomorrow’s supply chain—today. To talk about how this can benefit your company, we invite you to contact us online to set up your complimentary, no-pressure consultation call.

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