The holiday season often provides a wake-up call for companies regarding the importance of supply chain management. This past holiday shopping season has seen stories of companies that failed to deliver on time and the consumer backlash that results. Social media, company websites and blogs all provide public forums for distressed consumers to vent their frustrations.
To improve brand reputation, companies need to keep in mind the importance of the supply chain and how minor disruptions can quickly impact an organization's social profile. One hiccup this year was a lack of proper staffing in some distribution and sorting warehouses. Demand became overwhelming and many packages were not delivered by Christmas day deadlines.
U.S. News & World Report said in a recent article that the holiday package delays highlight the importance of supply chain management. The magazine reported that while delays related to weather can't be planned for, proper staffing levels is something correct supply management teams can fix.
With older paper systems, it could understandably take time before sudden increases in demand were noticed. It was also a longer process to track down missing packages and incomplete orders by following around a paper trail. With the boom in e-commerce over the last decade, distribution and delivery companies are dealing more directly with the average consumer. As was seen this holiday season, that means they can face the same harsh, public criticisms usually reserved for retailers. Relying on outdated systems for tracking products, orders and packages is no longer a viable option.
Data Collection Can Help Protect Brand Integrity
To stay ahead of fluctuations in demand and prepare for unexpected delays, supply chain managers should utilize advanced data collection solutions. Increasing the number of data points both inside and outside of the warehouse can assist supply chain managers in building detailed reports of productivity. Mining data constantly and in real time can help forecast sudden increases in demand like the one that was seen this holiday season.
Mobile data collection software can supply information related to products that are still in transit. Whether the delay is from the supplier or to the customer, the ability to provide real-time location updates can improve customer service. Data collection can also mitigate risk and litigation in the event of a recall by expediting the process. Companies that are not utilizing new technologies are failing to take advantage of tools that can greatly improve efficiency, productivity, error rates and an understanding of the supply chain.