October 9, 2018
Technology often affects supply chain management structures. One development in the past 10-20 years shaping the way supply chains operate is the increased use of Internet shopping. Will wholesalers and retailers keep up with SCM Changes?
Overview of Supply Chain Management
A supply chain is the path that goods or services travel, which is a journey that supply chain management oversees. For tangible goods, this process usually begins in a factory where items are built and ends with those pieces in customers’ hands. Service SCM often starts at a place of business where customers will have access to help they need, and these customers also might use online or telephone communication to make service requests. Some businesses choose to have an internal team handle SCM, while others hire outside experts.
Latest Trends in SCM
Because of the increase of online shopping, companies now strive to make delivery times as short as possible for as inexpensive as they can. This initiative involves the use of visualized data for tracking orders and shipments. To shorten delivery times, some businesses also have planted factories and warehouses closer to where customers live.
Along with data visualization and localized manufacturing facilities, current SCM practices seem to demand the use of the Perfect Order Index indicator. A company with the best POI is the one who ideally ships all orders on time with no damage or loss occurrences — or at least does ship perfect orders nearly 100 percent of the time.
Artificial intelligence technology including the use of drones, which also can speed up delivery, is another new SCM trend. Automation of purchases and orders works in conjunction with this recent SCM development. In some cases, this includes automated transaction procurement at both the business-to-business and business-to-consumer levels. It may also include automated invoicing along with immediate delivery of payment receipts.
Current SCM trends might seem impersonal to some shoppers. One challenge that both wholesalers and retailers face right now is providing the one-on-one customer service experience many consumers still crave. B2B clients also might still demand VIP, face-to-face service.
Offering the best of both worlds, which includes the efficiency that technology can provide combined with a physical presence near delivery destinations, could bring back the hometown feeling many people remember and miss from their younger days. For instance, local grocery stores delivered milk straight from a nearby farm to homes at least once a week. This took place at least until the early 1980s and is in a way happening again with online ordering being the major difference.
Combining digital order fulfillment technology along with the “mom and pop” feel of local pickup that some customers prefer could put a company ahead of their competitors.