1. Meet customers where they expect to be met
In today’s marketplace, customers implicitly and explicitly expect more than ever before. Your most discerning customers (and those who promise the most lifetime value) want to see into your brand values, they want visibility into your entire supply chain so they can assess its integrity and trustworthiness for themselves. Others who may not be as discerning know a good thing when they see it, so if you can provide them with more visibility, you have the power to give them something they never knew they wanted but quickly learn to love you for providing.
Here are a few examples:
- It’s not important that my kid’s shoes will be delivered next week. What’s important is whether I can track the delivery status in real time, and ensure they arrive before we leave the house next Saturday at 1pm local time to get to their piano recital.
- It’s not enough to know the chocolate chips in my cart are fair trade. I want to know which farm the beans were harvested from in which part of the world, and trust that the farmers employ adults at a fair wage rather than turning to child labor.
- It’s not enough to know that my prescription will be filled later this afternoon. I want to know, beyond a doubt, that the medication was made by a pharmaceutical manufacturer I trust; the drugs are generic, so I don’t have to pay more for brand-name medicine; the pharmacist who filled the prescription is accountable by name or ID in case there’s an error, and how much closer I am to meeting my healthcare deductible for the year.
Supply chain visibility projects are complex and challenging to execute. But, like other projects, you can work backward from your business goals and set key performance indicators (KPIs) that support your strategy and lead to new, improved tactics. (See Figure 1.) Suppose delivering for your customers, shareholders, and brand reputation is important enough. It’s worth championing some explorations into new, innovative solutions you can use to win visibility through fine-grained controls in real-time, multi-party data sharing.
Supply chain visibility needs data. Real real-time data. And because you’re operating within multiple data alliances with suppliers, manufacturers, distributors, and customers up and down the supply chain, you need data you know you can always trust as The Truth.
Up until recently, supply chain data has been forced into silos. And up until recently, it hasn’t been a big enough headache for businesses to address…or, more frequently, when addressed, the solutions haven’t been ideal. DIY is expensive and filled with opportunity costs, plus you may not get where you want to go. Stacking for it becomes complex (and expensive), plus you never get the seamless, scalable solution you’ve wanted.
For instance, if you only need Tier 1 visibility, you can work the data through your ERP software. But, to extend visibility to your entire supply chain, your business will need a more cost-effective and flexible solution that can scale to all suppliers without latency issues. Your solution will also need to empower you to ingest both structured and unstructured data without making a tradeoff on data quality.
Or, if your partners don’t have trust issues with your business or the brand in your data alliance that owns the relationship with the customer, you can use a centralized data lake to provide visibility to serve customers better. (Does any organization not have trust issues, though?)
Invest in a new, decentralized technology like Vendia Share. Our SaaS platform helps enterprises automate and accelerate data workflows across business networks by facilitating secure, trusted, and controlled data exchange between multiple parties. Brands like BMW and others in the manufacturing, travel, healthcare, and supply chain industries are using Vendia Share to build unique and proprietary data applications that unlock new revenue, cost savings, and innovation.