In the era of the Digital Retail Revolution, adaptive supply chain management is imperative amid the surge in online retail and the social commerce boom. Notably, social commerce entails direct buying and selling on social media platforms.
According to a recent report by Global Web Index, modern shoppers distribute their attention across multiple social platforms and are increasingly likely to purchase products on their mobile devices. The complexity of the e-commerce landscape is compounded by the presence of multiple sales channels, posing challenges to efficient management. In addition to the ever-changing marketing landscape, the supply chain often fails. The digital retail revolution can help in this area by digitizing all processes of receipt and tracking of goods.
The Importance of Adapting Supply Chains and Omnichannel Supply Chain
Customers now anticipate a smooth experience across channels like online marketplaces, social media platforms, or physical stores. You need to integrate your supply chain management systems to meet this demand. This integration ensures the visibility of inventory, efficient order processing, and synchronized fulfilment across all channels. By embracing omnichannel fulfilment, you can offer a consistent shopping experience that spans both digital and physical realms, enhancing customer loyalty and driving incremental sales (and profitability if done right and with the right partner).
Having clear visibility into inventory is critical for omnichannel fulfilment. Businesses must have access to real-time inventory information across all channels to prevent shortages, avoid overstocking, and meet customer expectations. Precise inventory and retail data empower businesses to efficiently fulfill orders from the most suitable location (such as a warehouse/fulfillment center, a retail store, or a drop ship partner). This approach enables faster order processing, reduces shipping expenses, and enhances customer satisfaction.
Customers demand the convenience of choosing their preferred order delivery method, be it home delivery, in-store pickup, or even same-day delivery. Offering multiple fulfilment choices allows companies to cater to diverse customer preferences. It also opens up more opportunities for businesses to sell goods. By the way, if you have a problem with Instagram unblocking, you can quickly solve it with the help of a reliable VPN and expand your influence on this social network. Having an Instagram page will strengthen customer trust and create an additional communication channel with them. This, in turn, leads to increased sales and customer loyalty.
Facts and Challenges Before Supply Chains to the Digital Retail Revolution
Research from PwC reveals key issues and challenges associated with digital supply chains. It quite accurately shows the current situation in the world:
- Executives prioritize immediate challenges in their supply chains, neglecting actions and investments that can transform supply chains and create long-term value.
- Despite the potential of technologies, only a few executives plan to automate and enhance their supply chains using them in the next 24 months.
- When investing in supply chain technology, increasing resilience is not a top objective for most executives.
- Regarding risk, 86% agree that their company should invest more in technology to identify, track, and measure supply chain risk, with 35% strongly agreeing.
- Respondents expect that digitizing the supply chain will require upskilling of employees, but only 7% consider digital upskilling their top priority.
- The most commonly cited challenges to integrating ESG into company supply chains are the lack of digital skills among employees (80%) and the availability of data and digital tools (73%).
Digitizing your supply chain offers numerous benefits, but it also presents a set of challenges. Consider the following common challenges:
- Cost: Implementing a digital supply chain can incur substantial expenses, requiring significant investments in technology, training, and infrastructure.
- Integration: Integrating new digital systems with existing processes and technology can prove a complex and time-consuming endeavor.
- Data security: Safeguarding sensitive data and ensuring compliance with privacy regulations poses a formidable challenge in a digital supply chain.
- Talent: Acquiring the right talent with the necessary skills to manage and maintain digital systems can be challenging, particularly in industries facing a shortage of technical expertise.
- Resistance to change: Some employees may resist the implementation of new digital systems, hindering adoption and causing friction in the transition.
- Technical glitches: Technical issues and downtime have the potential to disrupt supply chain operations and negatively impact customer satisfaction.
Traditional vs. Digital Supply Chains
To truly understand the transformative power of supply chain digitization, one must appreciate the differences between traditional and digital supply chains.
Traditional Supply Chain:
- Manual and Paper-Based: Traditional supply chains rely on manual, paper-based processes that often require significant labor.
- Limited Visibility: These supply chains have restricted visibility, with real-time information being scarce.
- Reliance on Humans: Human intervention is heavily relied upon in these supply chains, which can lead to delays and errors.
- Slower Response: Traditional supply chains are less agile and respond more slowly to market changes.
- Tracking Challenges: Tracking and tracing products can be challenging and time-consuming.
Digital Supply Chain:
- Automation and Digitalization: Digital supply chains leverage automation and digital documentation, reducing the need for manual effort.
- Real-Time Visibility: These supply chains provide real-time visibility across the entire supply chain, enabling better decision-making.
- Automation and AI: Automation and AI play a significant role in digital supply chains, streamlining processes by minimizing the need for human intervention.
- Rapid Adaptability: Digital supply chains can quickly respond to market fluctuations and changing conditions.
- Advanced Tracking: Digital supply chains have enhanced capabilities for tracking and tracing products.
Trends in Supply Chain
#1 AI and Automation
Artificial Intelligence (AI) is currently experiencing a surge in popularity. According to our State of Manufacturing Report for 2023, 85% of surveyed companies have already integrated AI solutions, with supply chain management functions expected to be impacted by 45% of them.
Utilizing AI and automation is key to accelerating your supply chain and remaining competitive in your specific industry. Even if you choose not to adopt AI, streamlining your supply chain is crucial because your competitors are already doing so. This report highlights that 97% of respondents anticipate AI impacting product development and manufacturing.
The Internet of Things (IoT) is a network of digitally connected physical objects, accessible wirelessly from anywhere. According to Dataprot’s research findings, there will be over 25.4 billion operational IoT devices by 2030.
IoT offers enhanced supervision in operations and transportation while improving various areas such as warehouse management, fleet tracking, inventory control, and technological and mechanical maintenance. Its value cannot be overstated, and it continues to grow. According to McKinsey Digital, every second, 127 devices connect to the internet for the first time, and the 2023 State of Manufacturing Report reveals that 54% of respondents already use Industrial IoT (IIoT) digital manufacturing technologies, with an additional 33% implementing them.
Creating digital manufacturing ecosystems can significantly impact businesses’ bottom line. This emerging trend, known as e-SCM or Electronic Supply Chain Management, is gaining relevance. Recent research indicates that 60% of respondents already utilize digital supply chain analytics and visualization platforms, while 31% are currently implementing them.
To maintain a competitive edge in 2023 and beyond, businesses should segment their supply chain and devise tailored strategies for each segment. Consider customizing your manufacturing services, such as CNC machining and injection molding, to fabricate prototypes and expedite production while upholding quality and precision.
To simplify the management of personalized customer orders, automate your order processing system by distinguishing between standard and customized orders. For seamless custom manufacturing, explore Fictiv. We provide prompt, efficient, and accurate custom-manufactured parts precisely when you need them, and we oversee the entire supply chain on your behalf!
#5 Cloud-Based Solutions
Around 78% of respondents, companies like yours, are currently evaluating technology solutions to enhance operational efficiency for new product development. Supply chain management can greatly benefit from software-as-a-service (SaaS) models. SaaS not only ensures reliability and security but also offers high efficiency and convenience. Given the global and digital nature of supply chains, the efficiency of SaaS solutions becomes critical.
#6 Risk Management
You should take on the responsibility of mitigating risk to maintain a stable supply chain during times of uncertainty. For instance, consider sourcing raw materials from a geographic area that is more politically stable if you currently source them from a volatile area. By doing so, you can quickly adapt and minimize the impact of any disruptions. In 2023, companies are exploring various approaches to reduce supply chain risk, such as investing in technology to enhance efficiency and strengthen supplier relationships.
#7 Speed of NPI
Economic uncertainty, inflation, and geopolitical instability pose obstacles to companies introducing new products (NPI). According to our latest State of Manufacturing Report, 94% of companies encounter barriers and 49% prioritize speeding up NPI. To meet the rising demand for faster NPI, companies must transition to supply chains that are more resilient and high-performing, enabling rapid prototyping and innovation.
#8 Collaboration and Partnerships
Collaboration and partnership with different stakeholders play a crucial role in customer-centric supply chain strategies. This involves closely cooperating with suppliers, manufacturers, logistics providers, and even customers. By sharing information, aligning goals, and fostering strong relationships, you can create a seamless and integrated supply chain ecosystem. Collaborative partnerships enable streamlined operations, enhanced visibility, and efficient coordination, ultimately benefiting the end customer.
Digital technologies are transforming industries through supply chain digitization, optimizing operations, cutting costs, and improving customer satisfaction. Businesses can position themselves for success in the competitive global marketplace by understanding the principles and benefits of supply chain digitization, as well as staying up-to-date with emerging trends.