3 Ways Consumers Are Transforming Supply Chain
Supply chain management once revolved simply around ensuring that you had the correct supplies to manufacture and deliver a product, within the expected time. However, a lot has changed over the years in this global industry.
Consumers are quickly becoming a major influence in the world of supply chain management. Read on to learn more about how consumers are transforming the future of supply chain management.
Traditionally, consumers did not have access to information such as where products were made, who made them, under what conditions or when to expect delivery. Now consumers have this information at their fingertips. This awareness has a major influence on supply chain management procedures.
As a result, consumers are now also more concerned with ethical and sustainable practices. Often, this is a major factor in whether they choose to purchase a product. Some consumers prefer to spend more to ensure that they are not supporting corrupt work environments. If a company’s supply chain engages in questionable environmental or labour practices, consumers may be deterred from this supplier.
Conversely, this can provide a great opportunity for supply chains to appeal to new customers. If a company can incorporate sound practices, this will give them edge on competitors. Consumers favour brands that are open and honest about the manufacturing process, so this is a great opportunity to appeal to a wider net. If you are interested in learning more about sustainable practices, consider studying a Diploma of Logistics onlineto expand your knowledge.
Consumers are now able to access information far quicker in regards to delivery, with the option of order tracking. Order cycles have changed dramatically over the years and there is a greater expectation on company supply chains to get orders packed and shipped out in a timely manner. Companies using methods that are slow or inaccurate for order processing may find themselves losing sales, revenue and potential customers.
What this means for companies is that they must consider their competition more thoroughly. Consumers want products in the most timely and efficient manner possible. Companies that offer 2-3 day delivery times are generally favoured over ones that have larger delivery time frames. Studying a Diploma of Logisticscan help you further understand the shift in order cycle time periods, as well as provide you with new methods on how to shorten your delivery times.
To avoid falling behind their competitors, supply chains need to be more accurate with their inventory management, so that they do not fall short when they receive a high volume of orders. Partnerships with reliable suppliers must be made so that stock is delivered on time and you are not losing the valuable customers.
Shipping from nearby stores, rather than warehouses may need to become an option so that consumers are receiving their items in the most time efficient manner. Some retailers have already started exploring this option by offering customers the opportunity to place orders by phone at their nearest store. However, shipping prices are still quite high for options like these. In the future, supply chains should look into optimising this process so that consumers have a wide range of cost-efficient options available to them.
Certain retailers offer consumers the opportunity to join their membership programs which can allow them to receive certain perks such as free shipping all year round. This is an excellent strategy to attract more customers and secure your consumer base.
Unfortunately, membership programs with perks can often bring about financial implications. However, as supply chains evolve, it is likely that companies will need to begin offering advantages such as free shipping to consumers, in order to remain on par with their competitors.
This poses a problem for smaller supply chain companies who cannot afford to take such a financial hit. There are, however, certain alternatives that smaller companies can implement in order to still compete with larger organisations.
Small companies can employ optimised procedures for the supply chain, such as communicating with a consumer through social media. This also allows for one-on-one feedback with customers, which can provide great insight into the improvements your consumers are looking for.
Consumers will continue to be at the forefront of supply chain management. Companies must take into consideration the many changes that consumers are looking for and optimise their supply chains practices to achieve this. If you are considering updating your knowledge on supply chain management to learn more about the future of the industry, consider studying a Diploma of Logistics online.
Helen Sabell works for theCollege for Adult Learning. She is passionate about the logistics industry and the evolving role of adult learning. Helen has developed and authored many workplace leadership programs, both in Australia and overseas.