3 Ways Supply Chains and Commercial Teams Can Partner to Win in the Delivery Economy
Becoming a member of the C-suite in a large retail company is no small feat, and one that cannot be achieved without building strong relationships with colleagues and department leaders. The ability to collaborate and work efficiently to find solutions that realize the goals of not just of a single department, but the entire organization, is a vital skill.
Nowhere is this fact more apparent for executives than when they try to meet growing customer demands for faster, lower cost and more transparent delivery capabilities. C-suite executives must find ways to work across their organization if they hope to keep pace with their competition and meet customers’ rising expectations in today’s new delivery economy.
This need for greater collaboration is one of the key takeaways from the second report in a series exploring the Delivery Economy, “Aligning the Supply Chain In The Age Of The Delivery Economy,” that highlights key issues plaguing supply chains. Using a blind survey of 300 supply chain professionals, 73 percent of respondents said they're experiencing pressure to improve and expand their delivery capabilities as a result of the delivery economy, proving the challenge is felt by every stakeholder across the supply chain.
Crucially, their responses identify three critical areas where they can improve their intracompany coordination and performance to meet growing customer demands.
1. Upgrade legacy processes that hold everyone back.
Fifty-seven percent of executives surveyed said they're experiencing pressure to improve and expand their capabilities as a result of the delivery economy. Legacy and manual systems simply aren’t built for the speed necessary for companies to collect, share and act on data in a real-time, collaborative fashion.
Yet, many executives still say their companies depend on these legacy systems to manage transportation processes. For example, the following percentages of respondents stated their company uses these systems to track processes:
- 52 percent use email;
- 42 percent use spreadsheets and PDFs;
- 36 percent use paper documents; and
- 40 percent use disparate software systems for different parts of the supply chain.
2. Adopt the customer’s perspective.
Executives need to adapt to the mind-set of their customers to understand where these new expectations are coming from. Customers made it clear in the first delivery economy survey that delivery features made popular by apps like Grubhub or Uber, such as real-time tracking, are something they now expect — 70 percent said it was an important feature. Of concern, 73 percent of supply chain professionals said they don’t currently have the capabilities to provide real-time tracking for their customers. These increased expectations for delivery are not exclusive to just end-customers: 94 percent of people who make purchases for their company said they expect the same level of customer satisfaction as when they’re making personal purchases.
Supply chain professionals also need to understand that a poor delivery experience impacts the customer’s view of the company — 74 percent of customers said that when a package isn’t delivered when expected, it hurts their impression of the company.
3. Foster more open lines of communication.
In order to meet customers’ expectations for delivery features like minute-by-minute and mile-by-mile tracking, supply chain executives realize they need to work more closely with their customer-facing teams to better understand and serve their customers. Seventy-nine percent acknowledged the need for greater collaboration between supply chain and marketing teams.
In addition to greater horizontal communication, executives need to work more closely with the managers who live and breathe these issues every day. Eighty-two percent of supply chain managers reported feeling pressure to improve and expand their capabilities as a result of the delivery economy, a 25 percent higher rate than their executive counterparts. This disconnect between parties needs to be addressed to achieve the alignment necessary for retail companies to meet the growing needs of the delivery economy.
In the modern era of delivery, no one party is responsible for the entirety of the process. Better collaboration between executives in the supply chain, marketing department and customer experience teams is crucial if companies are to succeed in the delivery economy.
Tommy Barnes is the president of project44, a supply chain visibility platform.
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