It’s no secret that today’s consumers are increasingly relying on ecommerce to order and deliver goods. This trend is also extending to retail stores as well as FedEx is being added to 500 Walmart stores in the next two years to make mailing goods easier and more accessible. As a result, the logistics industry is under tremendous pressure to keep up with the amount of packages traveling from a retailer’s warehouse into the hands of the consumer. How can the logistics industry leverage technology to keep up with the growing volume of online orders while providing faster and better customer experiences?
The customer is truly at the center of the supply chain, which means that manufacturers and supply chain experts must pay close attention to the trends that are driving customers to buy in today’s digitally-powered world. Technologies like Augmented Reality (AI), Virtual Reality and Artificial Intelligence can enable supply chain modernization enhancing processes and enable manufacturers to hold up against today’s immense competition. For example, by combining AI and sensor data from connected, Internet of Things enabled devices across a supply chain, the insights collected can improve product development, logistics and overall management of the supplier.
But despite the growing use of new and emerging technologies, a study from IDC commissioned by Axway on the The Role of Customer Experience Networks in Delivering Value-Based Digital Transformation (May 2017) revealed that 69 percent of organizations have yet to implement a single, unified view of the customer. This means that enterprises within the logistics industry must not only juggle these new technologies, but also examine the ways to integrate them into their overall customer experience vision.
4 steps to success your supply chain modernization:
With this mind, organizations can follow these steps in order to adapt to emerging technologies and use them to modernize the supply chain process as well as customer experiences:
- Source data to provide an ongoing service. Future-forward companies like Amazon have already mastered this step, which is to analyze data from the supply chain process and use that data to improve the process in the future and derive buyer patterns. Having insights to leverage for future use will not only improve visibility, but will also reduce development costs and save time.
- Implement a digital transformation strategy. Here’s where a digital strategy is truly essential. Adding in technologies like API Management, AI, IoT and machine learning to the supply chain process are extremely important especially in today’s fast-paced world. But it’s important for manufacturers and supply chain experts to choose the technologies that make the most sense for their bottom line by focusing on working more efficiently and with the consumer in mind.
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- Consider transforming from a reactive to a proactive supply chain. Organizations should consider how they can leverage emerging technologies to transform operations to a more proactive process, as opposed to a reactionary one based on subsequent customer feedback. When used correctly, data-informed analytics provide the granular insight needed to create a proactive supply chain that anticipates customer needs and better alerts an organization to possible customer problems before they happen.
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- Develop a customer experience first strategy to meet (and exceed) customer needs. Digital visionaries are now looking at how to transform the customer experience. They leverage an open innovation ecosystem among employees, suppliers, partners and developers to unleash new data and insights. Manufacturers for example, can provide visibility across and beyond the traditional supply chain process, enabling organizations to provide perfect order fulfillment as well as a personalized and predictive customer experience.
Players in the logistics industry have already begun their journey to supply chain modernization. For example, Navistar, a global trucking company, was able to collect information about drivers on the road, such as the services they need and locations where they can get serviced, by implementing diagnostics through a mobile app. The app also includes a social function where drivers can rate truck stops for cleanliness, services, fuel cost and repair quality. The company is hyper-focused on the driver’s experience and has found unique ways to use user data to drive better experiences.
Logistics leaders must always look forward and anticipate the needs of the evolving consumer in order to thrive in today’s competitive environment. Accepting and integrating modern technology trends is the first step to supply chain modernization but one should never lose sight of the end goal, which is providing the best experience possible for consumers. By relying on data to steer a digital strategy, logistics providers will have the best possible outcome in terms of customer satisfaction and business growth.
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