Transform Your E-commerce Business with Supply Chain Excellence

Today’s e-commerce landscape looks vastly different from what it was a few years ago. New technology and innovative thinking have revolutionized the sector introducing new opportunities from mobile commerce and omnichannel retail to services that specialize in making last-mile deliveries of virtually any product, including automobiles.

Supply chain excellence is no longer an afterthought. As services and technologies advance and the competition heats up, supply chain excellence is a competitive advantage that helps businesses succeed. Why? Because customer expectations have changed. Simply offering a great product at a reasonable price is no longer enough to satisfy today’s demanding customers; customers also want their orders to arrive quickly, predictably, and in a personalized manner. 

While there are many advantages of e-commerce, any e-commerce initiative’s success depends on a connected supply chain and supply chain automation. Let’s explore how e-commerce businesses can leverage supply chain excellence to stay ahead of the competition and boost their bottom line.

The State of the Customer

Today’s shoppers are more connected, informed, and have higher expectations than ever before. With modern technologies, they can easily search for products, compare prices and get answers to their questions. Gartner[1] reports that product quality expectations have risen by 36% and experience quality expectations by 24% in the past 24 months. Both are expected to increase again in the next 24 months by 32% and 24%, respectively.

Greater expectations mean increased pressure to perform – and that’s where supply chain management makes an enormous impact. Supply chains that are merely adequate cannot understand and respond to customer expectations; they are unable to pivot and adjust.  Supply chain excellence requires a strategy that responds to changing customer trends, can report repurchases, and can react to customer satisfaction, keeping one step ahead of competitors. 

The Keys to Supply Chain Excellence

Achieving supply chain excellence requires more than just supply chain managementsupply chain excellence takes thoughtful planning and execution. Supply chain excellence means a connected supply chain and supply chain automation that is advanced, integrated, thoughtful, and, most importantly, easy to use.

Here are a few points to consider when pursuing excellence in your e-commerce supply chain management.

1. Automation and Scalability

The supply chain automation market is booming and for a good reason. Supply chain management in e-commerce requires a level of sophistication and flexibility not seen in other industries. Automating processes allows a business to speed up operations, scale efficiently, and increase velocity. According to McKinsey research, 74% of companies plan to invest in supply planning technology to increase visibility and reduce manual errors.

The best way to automate your supply chain operations is to invest in software and systems designed to serve the e-commerce industry. While supply chain management tools differ depending on capabilities, available services, and providers, they typically include supply chain automation capabilities on supply (Buy Side) and demand (Sell Side).

  1. Sales Order Processing (Sell Side)
  2. Purchase Order Processing (Buy Side)
  3. Inventory Management
  4. 3rd Party Distribution Management
  5. Warehouse and Fulfillment Automation
  6. Logistics Integration

2. Analytics and Business Intelligence (ABI)

Today more than ever, companies are embracing Analytics and Business Intelligence (ABI) and applying advanced analytics to supply chain management. Analytics and Business Intelligence (ABI) enables supply chain excellence and fosters a better understanding of customer behavior. Analytics and Business Intelligence impacts supply chain management in a positive manner by allowing companies to make more intelligent decisions about inventory, forecasting, and delivery. 

Analytics and Business Intelligence (ABI) delivers powerful insights into:

  1. Cycle times (the time it takes to fulfill orders)
  2. Capacity utilization (how much inventory is available for fulfillment)
  3. Demand forecasting (anticipating customer demand and stocking accordingly). 
  4. Risk management (identifying potential risks and mitigating them)

PartnerLinQ leverages Analytics and Business Intelligence to deliver predictive analytics to clients, enabling them to optimize their supply chain. PartnerLinQ delivers structured and unstructured data to core systems and systemically normalizes and stores transaction data so supply chain management teams can leverage this data in near real-time to enhance connected supply chains, which can better use supply chain automation to predict customer behavior.

3. Strong Partner Collaboration

One of the biggest challenges in supply chain management is managing complex trading partner relationships across multi-enterprise networks. When a business grows, the business complexities also grow. Expanding a single-source supply chain to one that relies on multiple suppliers and vendors increases the load on supply chain management teams, and often, the business grows exponentially.

Poorly managed collaborations lead to issues like duplicate orders, incorrect orders, and lengthy delays. To ensure your customers remain satisfied and you do not lose business due to inefficiencies, it’s important to have a comprehensive solution for managing partnerships.

A leading employee-owned supplier of baked goods in the US was looking for a way manage their growing partner network that included mills, warehouses, and distributors – a network that grew organically over many, many years. We implemented an end-to-end solution   to help the company a) more efficiently process transactions, b) troubleshoot and resolve errors, c) track crucial KPIs, and d) manage everything from a cloud-native iPaaS platform.

What’s Next?

The journey to supply chain excellence is not about technology; it’s about understanding the client, their challenges, and opportunities. It’s about identifying opportunities for improvement and delivering supply chain automation that makes sense. It’s about finding the right partner and solutions that are advanced, integrated, thoughtful, and, most importantly, easy to use.

We make it easy… we keep it simple…and it’s all in one place.

Request a demo to transform your business with a connected supply chain ecosystem, energize it with supply chain excellence, and leverage supply chain automation to overcome challenges and optimize opportunities.

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