Shifting supply chains to become driven by IT means businesses can standardise their processes and become less likely to run out of stock, says Dominic Regan, EMEA director of supply chain applications at Oracle.
With brands today shipping more goods than ever on an increasingly global scale, the margin for error in managing their supply chains has never been slimmer. Out of stock situations, failure to meet evolving compliance regulations, and shipping delays can have massive financial implications for companies causing serious damage to their reputation with customers.
To complicate things even further, many organisations have built very intricate, multi-channel supply chains that connect a large number of suppliers all over the world. Whilst this allows brands to provide customers with the best products, it also opens the door to many more opportunities for costly setbacks as goods travel from origin to destination.
With so much at stake, it is hard to believe that 79% of businesses still use nothing more than spreadsheets to process supply chain data and manage their portfolios (according to Oracle Innovation Management Survey, 2014). This could be one reason why IDC states that 80% of new product introductions fail to achieve the desired performance levels.
The time has come for businesses to make the transition to an IT-fuelled supply chain so they can better serve their customers and drive innovation in a cost and time-efficient way.
Working with empowered customers
The dynamic between brands and customers has shifted. In an age where consumers that experience disappointing service from a brand actively share their experiences with their large social media communities, businesses that cannot adapt to these market conditions risk alienating potential customers and focusing all their attention on putting out fires rather than promoting growth.
The transition to IT-driven supply chain management solutions allows businesses to standardise their processes and gain increased visibility over a large volume of products as they make their often complicated journeys around the world and, eventually, to their customers’ front doors.
Just as importantly, moving away from manual data processing to automated analytics on a large scale can enable brands to better plan their supply chain operations and avoid delays or costly out-of-stock situations.
With an effective IT infrastructure in place, businesses can also stop playing catch-up, which means they can reduce the number of expensive expedited shipments they need to make and instead focus on streamlining their operations and successfully introducing products to market.