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 delivery speed and timing are so important that many customers will switch to another retailer if they can’t get what they need. Shippit found that 50% of shoppers have abandoned a basket because of unsatisfactory or unavailable delivery options and 29% have altered the delivery address while the order was in transit. These kinds of options are attractive to shoppers and can differentiate your business from the competition.
Modern consumers expect a high degree of flexibility and the only way companies can hope to deliver that is by establishing not just real-time visibility into every stage of the cycle, but also the control to tweak things.
Wrestling with Complexity
As organizations expand, they typically outsource so they can increase geographical coverage and scale up. It’s normal to rely on multiple services and partners to get products to customers in a timely fashion. Mergers and acquisitions complicate things further, because disparate systems must be integrated without causing too much disruption to the day-to-day running of the business. Factor in the need to adopt cutting edge tools and integrate them with legacy systems and you have a challenging level of complexity to contend with.
To tackle this effectively, organizations need to identify the metrics that determine how long orders take from conception to completion. Gaining real insight into manufacturing lead times, warehousing considerations, cross-docking, and servicing and repairs is going to enable you to make a solid assessment of how you can improve your supply chain.
Orchestration is the Way Forward
In looking to harmonize this varied collection of internal and external software and services, you need an accurate big picture view of what’s happening. It’s crucial to be able to see available inventory wherever it may be, to understand your internal and external capacity, and to dig into SLAs (service level agreements). Bringing it all together allows you to make smart changes to tailor every order journey specifically for every customer.
“By 2019, 80% of supply chain interactions will happen across cloud-based commerce networks, dramatically improving resiliency and reducing the impact of supply disruptions by up to one-third,” IDC predicts.
Establishing visibility and control allows your planning team to carefully optimize every little detail. Issues will be flagged immediately as they develop, the team can reroute stock, determining at a glance what’s possible and what it will cost to fulfill every order on-time and in-full (OTIF).
A flexible, configurable software layer that sits on top of your supply chain structure allows you to pull the right strings for the best balance of customer experience and profit.