September 2018 | Commentary | Viewpoint: Logistics & Supply Chain Analysis

Tuning Into Supply Chain Orchestration

Tags: Inventory Management, Customer Service, Logistics, Supply Chain

Martin Verwijmeren is Co-founder and CEO, MP Objects, 646-520-0841

In both the B2B and B2C markets, customers demand speedier shipments, greater flexibility, and more transparency in the order lifecycle.

Only by innovating to establish real-time visibility with the power to make changes can companies achieve the agility required to meet customer needs and stand out from the competition.

Let's dig into five trends you can harness through Supply Chain Orchestration (SCO) to transform your supply chain and provide the best customer service at a cost-effective price.

1. Establish end-to-end visibility. A complete, holistic picture of your supply chain, coupled with the ability to act, allows you to optimize every individual customer order. You must be able to dig in granularly and weigh costs against customer satisfaction to find the perfect sweet spot that enables the maximum volume of on-time, in-full orders.

2. Get real-time control of your inventory network. Inventory distortion, including out-of-stocks and overstocks, costs retailers $1 trillion globally, according to IHL. That's an enormous sum of money to be losing. Little wonder that forward-thinking businesses are pursuing complete visibility of not just internal inventory, but the whole network—warehouses, 3PLs, suppliers, and in-transit stock.

Dynamic planning trumps high-level static planning based on forecasts, cutting down inventory that is always depreciating, and ensuring customers get orders swiftly. SCO can show you precisely where stock is at any moment, and enable you to ship directly from different locations or even reroute stock in-transit.

3. Remember that customers are buying an experience. Customers have a choice of vendors for any given product; what determines their loyalty in the long term is the experience they have ordering from you. Repeat customers order more, spend more, and refer more people. In short, they bring in more business, so it's vital to create great customer experiences.

Eighty-six percent of consumers are willing to pay more for a better customer experience, found an Oracle-sponsored study. Conversely, 89 percent of customers switched to a competitor after a poor experience. Investing in your supply chain represents a real opportunity to gain a competitive edge.

4. Build an actionable ecosystem. Growing supply chain complexity has proven to be a real challenge. In a PwC survey of 209 global companies, 74 percent said that the number of entities in their supply chains had grown in the past three years, and 95 percent agreed that discrepancies between those entities had also increased.

Coordination is far from easy when you have to integrate a disparate group of internal and external systems.

5. Optimize your micro supply chains. The path to a truly customer-centric approach comes through optimization for specific orders. Factoring in everything from stock availability to delivery time, and tailoring every step to achieve a great customer experience without overspending, requires SCO.