The unprecedented and unexpected rise of technology over the past few years has had a massive impact across industries. While incorporating newer methods has its own set of challenges, the change that has been brought about by the technology has had far-reaching effects. The biggest impact has been on the consumer mindset and expectations in terms of service. Innovative companies that are re-inventing the supply chain have changed the game for every company in every industry with the consumer expecting more than ever thought possible.
The inability to deliver on any front will immediately lead to customer dissatisfaction followed by a beating that the brand takes across social media. While the changing customer experience could be an evident change that companies are able to identify, it is just the tip of the iceberg.
By combining physical and digital, organizations can open doors for incredible opportunities.
It should be hardly surprising that several aspects of the business are undergoing rapid changes, but one key department that keeps everything running smoothly is the supply chain. Industry 4.0 and Internet 3.0 have changed the supply chain from a purely operational function to an independent function that can impact the fundamental survival of the organization. By combining the digital and physical aspects of the supply chain, organizations have the opportunity to leverage the most innovative technologies and transform their supply chain completely.
What does this integration mean?
Organizations across the globe today use holograms or QR codes as a mechanism to prevent counterfeiting and empower the end-user to be able to identify the fakes. What if the same technology could be used to integrate traditional overt anti-counterfeiting techniques with new-age digital technologies and help you create an entire ecosystem? The cost of implementation would be negligible when compared with the endless possibilities. What exactly would be the digital supply chain? Well, the digital supply chain will leverage the physical technology already used by the organization to create an eco-system that is always online. Using data points that are inserted on the QR code or hologram, a network can be created with a live supply chain giving real-time data of all the products enabling analysis at every step of the process. So, in essence, it simply means using the physical aspects of the supply chain to create a complete digital eco-system.
Why is it the Game ChangeFuture of Supply Chain?
This question can answer itself if we look at only a few possibilities that arise when organizations start using digital and physical methods for improving their supply chains.
- Complete Visibility – Using the datapoints embedded on the QR code or Holograms, organizations can track every product, every minute, and at every location. This helps in optimizing the supply chain to eliminate the inefficiencies across the supply chain. Complete visibility across the supply chain will help in improving product life cycle tracking, measuring value loss analytics, compliance tracking, product movement monitoring, and reporting, etc. The increased visibility significantly reduces the chances of disruption. End-to-end visibility of your supply chain gives the organization a 360-degree view of their supply chain.
- Predictive Analytics – Organisations can track every single product that reaches the end-user at any given point in time. Organizations can get real-time data of stocks at each of the distributors and retailers, along with the sales data of each stakeholder. This gives the organizations enough data over a period of time for implementing artificial intelligence and machine learning to predict demand. This predictive analysis enables the organization to undertake decisions that helps the supply chain stay a step ahead of the competition (moving from a backward-looking approach to forward-looking approach). Until now, the shipment is released when the retailer or distributor runs out of supply or is about to run out of supply. Using predictive analysis, the product will reach every node in the supply chain just before the demand is generated.
- Customer Engagement – Today, the greatest distinction brands can create is through sustained customer engagement. With attention spans getting shorter, organizations need to innovate to keep their customers engaged. Using the physical QR codes and combining it with digital technology, a new eco-system can be created. Brands can deliver targeted messages to customers based on their past purchase history. So, when a customer scans a QR code to get the information of the product, a targeted campaign can be delivered to the customer. Brands can also offer loyalty programs to customers to improve customer engagement. Basic features such as product information, e-warranty, additional information, etc. can be shared with the customer using the integrated solution.
- Improved Efficiency – The combination of physical and digital anti-counterfeiting solutions will drastically improve the efficiency of the supply chain. Without making any significant changes to the current manufacturing process, brands can incorporate the latest technologies such as blockchain or machine learning in the supply chain. It also prepares the organization for the future by making the it more robust and open to changes. As per a PwC study, companies with a highly digitized supply chain can expect an efficiency gain of 4.1 percent. At the same time, the boost in revenue due to an efficient supply chain is anticipated to be around 2.9 percent.
- Customer Experience – Since we started our discussion with changing customer expectations, let’s shed some light on the positive customer experience that can be delivered using this combination. The end-user can scan the QR code using a mobile camera, and verify if the product is authentic. While this instils confidence in the customer, it also empowers companies to battle counterfeit products. Using this combination delivers a message to the customer that the brand thinks for them, and they are valuable. This helps brands build a long-lasting relationship with the customers transforming them from customer to brand ambassador.
As the competition gets fiercer, brands who are a step ahead will survive. The rigid ones not ready to accept the changing technological landscape may end up being side-lined and forgotten. It is vital for organizations to leverage the latest technologies with the existing framework to develop an end-to-end visible supply chain and develop an edge over the competition.
Get in touch with us to know more about the possibilities for your brand.