Why supply chains must be customer centric

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Raanan Cohen, founder of on-demand and last-mile delivery management platform Bringg, explains why the end consumer should be at the forefront of thinking when it comes to shaping current and future postal operations.

In years past, consumers tended to have little-to-no power compared with businesses. They had few ways of researching competition or getting objective reviews of products before purchasing.

However, the power balance has shifted almost completely. We now live an age of empowered consumers – with the advent of the internet, and e-commerce in particular, consumers have expectations that far exceed what traditional supply chain models have been able to provide.

In order to meet these new expectations, there are two big challenges that postal and parcel companies must overcome:

1. More supply chain efficiency

2. Greater visibility – both internally, and for the end-customer

In order to overcome these challenges, a customer centric supply chain must be implemented.

What is a customer centric supply chain?

In the age of empowered consumers, the end-customer must be at the forefront of thinking when implementing any business process.

In short, it’s about moving activities that were once ‘back office’ to the front office. They must engage with customers throughout the process, from the ordering of goods or services all the way until the item is delivered to their doorstep. These activities include:

1. Predicting demand through technology

2. Omnichannel fulfillment and multiple channels for deliveries

3. Move non-sales activities up the supply chain

4. Better forecasting, more centralized forecasting

5. Greater visibility – both internally and for customers

As a business that delivers goods to consumers, it is incumbent on you to think first about the end-customer. This, first and foremost, means that customers must feel engaged in the process.

Engagement is a critical part of creating a competitive advantage in what is now a hyper competitive shipping industry. Just as Amazon seems to be positioning itself as a fully fledged shipping company, it’s important to focus on the technological tools that will enable you to engage with the end-customer during the last mile of delivery. This includes letting them see, in real time and on a map on their mobile phone, exactly where their driver is and when they will arrive.

Additionally, an open line of communication between the customer and the driver will decrease friction and improve efficiency. On the efficiency side, it’s important to reinvent the way the last mile is managed. Examples of this include:

1. Turning trucks into ‘warehouses’ by scanning each item as it is loaded, so that a central dispatcher can monitor where all packages are at any given moment.

2. Tracking drivers at all times to have visibility over things like when they are on shift, idle or on their way to make a delivery.

3. Centralizing management of all fleets, including third parties.

As we continue to grow in this time of incredible innovation, there is one force that is driving innovation in the logistics industry – visibility.

As mentioned earlier, visibility relates to both internal visibility (over your own supply chain) as well as giving the end-customer visibility over the last mile. It is in this area, visibility, that competitive advantage will be most attainable.

Given that fact, it’s important to first accept the fact that ‘traditional’ supply chain models are no longer enough – they were created when the expectations of the market were entirely different. We now have more empowered consumers and greater competition due to innovation.

Parcel and postal companies need to know where all packages and all drivers are at all times. They need to be able to manage both owned fleets as well as third party drivers, all from one centralized system. And, most importantly, they need to provide a superior delivery experience to the end-customer.

To read more from Bringg’s white paper on building a customer centric supply chain, click here.

Bio:

Raanan Cohen founded Bringg in 2013 with the vision of changing the way businesses deliver in the on-demand era. Raanan is a seasoned entrepreneur. He was the founder and CEO of MobileMax, leading the company from concept to multimillion-dollar international sales and IPO. With Bringg, Raanan is one of the industry’s foremost speakers and bloggers, a respected authority on logistics and supply chain market trends and disruptions, and speaks at conferences and forums around the globe.

July 27, 2016

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