4 Surprising Trends Driving Change in Manufacturing Supply Chains

Industrial Manufacturing, Supply Chain
January 12, 2016

Part Three: Take care of your customer’s customer

In Parts One and Two of this series, we explored two major trends affecting manufacturing supply chains: The Industrial Manufacturing Renaissance and Nearshoring and Re-shoring.

Industrial ManufacturingIs your business model B2B2C? Or are you still B2B? Business to Business to Consumer (B2B2C) is an emerging commerce model that combines Business to Business (B2B) and Business to Consumer (B2C) for a complete product or service transaction. Although it was originally conceived within an e-commerce context, B2B2C is meant to be a universally applicable collaborative process. It creates mutually beneficial service and product delivery channels for all businesses/individuals who partner in the process.

This means that every organization along the manufacturing supply chain has the potential to impact customer/end-user expectations. So, to effectively work the B2B2C model, you need to think about your customer’s customer as a business/individual partnered with yours in all of your transactions with your customer.

Why are companies moving to this customer service focus? We’ve always known that customers are king. Now, their customers are more savvy. Well-informed, yet brand-agnostic consumers are driving the “speed of business,” forcing manufacturers to realize they no longer have a grip on consumer loyalty they once had. The rapid proliferation of competing products and distribution of information that moves prospects to become customers has redefined purchasing patterns. Therefore, consumers’ accelerated and specific expectations are pushing manufacturers to become customer-centric and use their supply chains as efficient strategic advantages.

This often requires companies to deliver more customized products to consumers faster than ever before. To meet the challenge, many manufacturers have been decentralizing their networks to move goods closer to the point of consumer consumption.  Across markets, new warehouses and distribution facilities are opening to hasten the delivery of goods to customers and further solidify B2C relationships. All these moves are being made with the end user of a product in mind – thus the B2B2C focus.

To be part of the B2B2C success story from manufacturing and distribution perspectives, these three strategies should be employed:

LEAN Processes – With roots in the Kaizen method of continuous improvement, LEAN techniques integrated into your supply chain will allow you to meet the challenges of a deliver-on-demand market and create long-term value – plus outstanding business performance – quarter after quarter and year after year.  LEAN practices improve quality and productivity in your process by taking cost and waste out of all facets of your operation. With LEAN, every step in every process must add value for you. If it doesn’t add value, you strive to eliminate it.

Automation – Automating your warehousing and distribution processes is undoubtedly the way to cope with all of the challenges to your supply chain now and in the future. Consider exploring the options to do this if you haven’t already.

Technology – Make sure that you have harnessed the power of the right technology to provide the real time transparency you need to keep products flowing through your supply chain. With the right technology, you can make critical adjustments the minute they are required – and sometimes even before.

In the final part of our series on 4 Surprising Trends Driving Change in Manufacturing Supply Chains, see why Disruptions are No Longer Interruptions in the Supply Chain.

Authored by Darcee Scavone

Ms. Scavone is Vice President and General Manager of Automotive, Aerospace and Industrial Supply Chain Operations for Ryder System, Inc. Ms. Scavone joined Ryder in 2005 and most recently served as VP and Chief Financial Officer for the Supply Chain Solutions segment.  She has over 25 years of corporate and divisional finance experience with special emphasis on operations analysis, business development, and commercial strategy. In addition to chairing the Michigan hub of Ryder’s Women’s Leadership Forum, Ms. Scavone is an active mentor and women’s advocate, as well as a past member of Ryder’s Diversity and Inclusion Council. In 2012, she was named to the Profiles in Diversity Journal’s “Women Worth Watching” list.

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