By Vishal Jain, Co Founder, Roadcast
Today the concept of global-local has truly taken roots all across the world. With the increased connectivity globally and digitization, agility in the supply chain is of paramount importance for any business. The pandemic forced the world to digitize its operations and move online. This change in logistics overnight brought the world to our doorstep. The consumer today is not limited by their geography and has product access from not only different cities but different countries. Supply chain agility has helped them accuse these products in the shorter time possible. In a post-crisis world, the economy continues to be volatile and uncertain and with exponential digitization, consumer demands continue to be dynamic. To storm these variables, Supply Chain Agility is important for a response-based system in place.
A lithe and responsive supply chain gives businesses the impetus to grow and craft a network that supports prompt decisions in a volatile market. Here’s how –
- Scaling up without dead inventory – As a business grows, so do the complexities of processes at the back end and coordination between various personnel and operations to ensure that the customer experience is not hampered. Failing to prioritize supply chain agility will eventually lead to businesses bleeding through a thousand cuts. An agile supply chain ensures that you have real-time insight into the demand and supply to meet any unexpected demands without investing in a large inventory to manage volatility.
- Exploring new opportunities – Taking advantage of opportunities
With IoT, Big data and AI-powered tools at hand, the supply chain agility ensures visibility and insight into changing consumer behaviour. If a business does not have appropriate tech tools and software for tracking delivery time, customer purchase patterns, order furnishing cycle, geographical order placement insight etc it becomes redundant and unable to scale up and enhance supply chains. Without the intricate building blocks of logistics information, there is no way to access demand and supply opportunities. The collection and analysis of information help businesses accumulate priceless insights like which area geographically requires how many riders and if there’s a need to set up micro warehousing to reduce cost and time of delivery. This is how tech-tools help in the agility of the supply chain.
- Building customer loyalty – The consumer today is looking for the best product at the best deal. In times such as these, building consumer loyalty is a monumental task and can only be achieved when businesses are ahead of the curve. Retailers need to ensure that their supply chain offers the kind of experience that the consumers want and were getting from brick and mortar stores. Getting this equation right depends heavily on analytics and insights from the supply chain to understand consumer behaviour better.
- Reduces costs – Cost efficiency while maintaining the best ROI is a dream come true for any business. With end-to-end visibility, pilferages, disruptions and customer feedback can be accessed in real-time by companies thus helping enhance their supply chain. This tech-based approach to identifying possible negative scenarios and taking preventive measures helps in reducing unnecessary costs and building a solid foundation to continuously improve asset utilization.
- The sustainability factor – Post pandemic, a lot of consumers have become more environmentally conscious and support businesses who are championing sustainability. Supply chain management has augmented the use of EVs. Electric vehicles not only reduce the carbon footprint but are also connected and provide enhanced end-to-end visibility to the company, helming the evolution of enhanced customer experience with tech tools paving the way for seamless delivery.
- Automation – Automation is a key factor in supply chain agility and this process not only handles data management but also tedious tasks like incentive calculations, salary pay-outs etc. Besides this, reconciliation especially for returns is a swift process now with supply chain agility. A few years ago, return refunds took 15 days to reflect in the customer’s account but with supply chain agility, this process is taken care of within 48 hours which includes the pickup of the product for RTO. Agility in reconciliation with automation helps in building customer loyalty and a positive long term relationship.
- Promptness – Consumer today is not limited by their geography. With the world becoming increasingly connected, customers want products from all across the globe and within the shortest period. This access to products from all over India especially with E-commerce and Q-commerce growing at an exponential pace, end-to-end visibility has become of paramount importance. From order placement to order completion, each step is accounted for and conveyed to the customer, retailer and logistics companies. This access to the order process in the supply chain through tools like GPS tracking has helped in reducing the delivery timeline and furnishing an order promptly. These tech tools for riders, vehicles and shipments not only keep the customers aware but also keep the company in the loop in case of cancellation so that appropriate logistics action can be taken in real-time.
Software, telematics and hardware are instrumental in very important in supply chain management and are the key factors that aid in agility thus helping in understanding the market and consumer better.