A lot of where Supply Chain Management is by 2020 depends on things like the Cloud. Right now we are in the early days of cloud computing, with many companies taking their baby steps. But by 2020 Cloud will be the heart of the enterprise computing infrastructure. We have already told the story (Vision 20-20) of what will happen in Procurement by 2020. Collaboration will become more important as supply chains share data with customers and vendors. They will start acting like the virtual extended enterprise which they are.
When it comes to supply chain management execution, we have all sorts of great tools (ERP, EDI, SCM). They are mostly designed for traditional manufacturers who own their factories. But we may be ignoring a new reality: the “virtual manufacturer”, one who outsources production. For them, the “tool of choice” is sometimes an Excel spreadsheet.
Managing to meet customer expectations is not like what ERP vendor’s glossy brochure say. In reality, it is not only spreadsheets, but is phone, FAX, email and lots of sweat. Some of these folks who shepherd global supply chain operate with complex “jury rigged” routines.
Social media make the customer more powerful than ever. Companies must re-learn how to listen and react. The customer is always right is one of the two ”commandments” of a super market chain in Connecticut. Their second commandment is “see rule number one”. Anyone who does not take this seriously will not do well on social networking platforms where customers have not only a louder voice, but also can be heard around the World in minutes.
Social Customer Relationship Management (CRM) is real time. It is not only complaints and questions, it is compliments and sales leads too. Over the last few years, we brought conventional CRM into the world of technology: alignment of help desk, marketing, customer service and business policies. We are able to attract new customers and satisfy current customers. Social CRM is just continuing what we do now, but adding in social platforms. Social CRM just forces everything out in the open. So all we really need to do is add social technologies to our tool bag.
I started out looking for ways the Cloud can help someone with an international supply chain. I reviewed numerous slide shows and white papers then hit on the idea of finding a “best of breed” Cloud provider who is already offering SCM services to international supply chains. Then we can see for real what is possible !
The role of Supply Chain Management is important: it is all about “ business continuity management”. SCM is the key to protecting the business operation from unplanned risks that can do things like shut down a whole assembly line. Key SCM players are Procurement and In-Bound Logistics.