In its most basic sense, a supply chain is the process of exactly how a product goes from an idea to a tangible object in a customer’s hands. Of course, it’s 2018 and the world has gone digital, so it’s necessary for your eCommerce agency to follow suit and digitise your supply chain as well.
As a McKinsey study reports, “companies that aggressively digitise their supply chains can expect to boost annual growth of earnings before interest and taxes by 3.2 percent—the largest increase from digitising any business area—and annual revenue growth by 2.3 percent.” In other words, businesses should absolutely transform their supply chain strategies because doing so will result in major growth.
The Impact of Going Digital
There are many advantages of eCommerce in supply chain management. In the case of the customers, the use of a digital supply chain will deliver products much more quickly and effortlessly, and will allow them to get in touch with a customer service representative quite easily. On the business end, digital supply chains allow you to minimise your costs in manufacturing and shipping, and allow you to identify problems early on the in the process instead of dealing with them once they’ve already caused major issues down the line.
Customers Want Their Purchases ASAP
eCommerce agencies know that customers have less time and patience than ever before; they want to be able to do their shopping only online, specifically on their mobile devices. You’ll have to make sure your website is formatted for mobile use and that your company is optimised for designing, manufacturing and delivering goods to your customers efficiently.
eCommerce supply chain models do exactly that; they ensure that the customers can track their package every step of the way, and be assured that it’s still on the fastest route possible. In the end, you will have more satisfied customers and less questions about estimated days of delivery.
Internet of Things (IoT)
One of the most crucial aspects of digitising the supply chain process is combining IoT with your business applications. This means making sure that sensor data will be compatible with your company’s management apps so that all information derived from IoT devices is actionable within applications, such as transport management systems (TMS). In practice, this means that if a sensor tells your company that a package has been lost or shipped to the wrong address, it can be rerouted or canceled automatically.
It’s important to note that there will be a vast and consistent influx of data, so it is imperative that your software be able to support so much material. IoT platforms must be able to sift through large amounts of information and then decide which statistics are actually important and worth pursuing, and which are negligible. If the platform cannot efficiently siphon through information, the entire manufacturing process will be hindered, causing bottlenecks along the supply chain and the use of resources where they aren’t really needed.
Going digital will also enhance your analytical capabilities and allow you to solve major issues within seconds. For instance, Joe Vernon, a senior manager of Capgemini, explains that if a refrigerated package has gotten lost or delayed, advanced software calculates if the product has already spoiled (or how long before it will spoil), and the nearest location from which a new product can be shipped. Such intelligent technology will eliminate slow and costly human labor, while still producing the same result.
Moreover, analytical capabilities will lead not only to reactionary decision making, but also predictive comprehension. With IoT technology, data is collected and displayed in a variety of formats, including charts, tables and visuals. After being processed and converted, that data can predict future scenarios such as the cause of an impending problem or the most promising consumers for a certain product. This type of predictive ability is extremely useful for minimising loss and maximising profits.
Robots Are Taking Over the World… Or Warehouses, at Least
With the use of smart automated guided vehicles (AGVs), you’ll be able to get more work done in less time, while using less resources. AGVs are essentially mobile robots, so they can assemble and transport products throughout the warehouse, reducing the need for human labour. In the past, there have been misgivings about the cost effectiveness of actually developing and programming even a few of these robots, but as the use of artificial intelligence (AI) has become more accessible to the masses, AGVs are increasingly practical.
The importance of supply chain management in eCommerce is monumental. As a dynamic and interconnected web between manufacturing, shipping and the customer, it allows for complete transparency and a long-term view of the entire ecommerce process. Your customers can track their packages and communicate with you easily, and you’ll be able to see ahead a few steps and identify potential issues before they become disastrous problems. In addition, transforming the supply chain into a high-functioning digital process will increase your creative agency’s innovation, efficiency and cost-effectiveness because it predicts and automates problem-solving situations.
In short, digitising your supply chain strategies will undoubtedly optimise your business for the newest consumer trends, and ensure that you remain profitable in such a fast-paced and competitive economy.