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Supply Chain Collaboration and Social Media

One of the key factors contributing to the success of a supply chain is the collaboration between the supply chain members.  Research has proved that the use of social media can vastly improve the sales, lower costs of procurement and bring about innovation in the supply chain

 In today's competitive environment, it's difficult to find new customers. Hence, it's getting increasingly important for companies to increase revenues with existing customers. The only way this can happen is to collaborate effectively with existing customers to turn them into big accounts. Social media can be a wonderful tool to bring about this change. A study has revealed that employees are able to interact more effectively with their suppliers and attain the latest information regarding the latest trends and technologies through the use of social media. Interaction through social media with suppliers can help bring about better service and on-time deliveries. This, in turn can help the vendors as well, since the customers start trusting these vendors and start giving them bigger business based on their reliability and sustenance. This eventually can turn into a symbiotic  relationship since longer vendor collaboration leads to lower costs.
Today, customers are influenced by reviews and comments of supplier/company posted on social media. Also, since the amount of people using social media today is so huge that the number of likes/dislikes on a product/company can greatly influence a customer's perception. If data from such social media can be integrated to supply chain, it can prove to be a great tool to attract customers.
Today, companies are trying to consolidate suppliers to service all points of their operation. Social media can again help in this front since the company's strategic vendor partner can refer its own partners to supply the company. This helps bring about strategic alliance between companies and their suppliers by which the supplier can help to serve its customer through its partners. This also results in optimal costs from customer's point of view. Social media can also be used to collaborate internally. For example, an internal social media application can help the purchasing team collaborate more effectively with the payables team. Today, tools are being developed to send notifications to all concerned users when the risk profile of a vendor changes. This helps better decision making by effective collaboration amongst internal team members.
Today 91 percent of working adults who are linked in any manner to any company's supply chain use social media regularly. Imagine how interesting the workplace would be if these people start using social media in workplace

Comments

Social Media plays an important role in increasing sales and achieving Economies of scale(lower costs), In today's competitive world as said in the post, it is hard to find customers for business, for this purpose, social media plays an important role, One can create fanpages on facebook, Sign up for twitter panels and place the company information and profile on linkedin and other Social Media Sites and drive visitors from there.

Social media can actually be used to let you know about a hiccup in your supply chain before you normally would find out! Let's say a shipment was supposed to be delivered on a Tuesday. Well come Thursday your customers still haven't received their product so they take to social media asking questions and looking for answers. This gives your company a headsup that something is awry!

There are also, however, some obvious disadvantages to social media in business that we have to remember. Consider for a moment how quickly news spreads across the internet. It can reach tens of thousands of people in minutes.

This, while good for advertising, can also have negative implications for your customer base.

All it takes is one bad comment or review which really does make your organisation look bad and undoubtedly word of mouth will go into overdrive. Remember, human nature encourages people to focus on the negatives and take the positives for granted. I feel that for social media to be optimally used to create and maintain a customer base to drive demand the organisation who is using this medium must ensure that their page/site is closely monitored and all complaints or negative reviews are quickly either removed (Unethical, undemocratic but sometimes completely necessary from a business point of view) or answered. If there is one thing which is more influential than a public complaint, it is to publicly address the complaint. If possible, show the world that yes - there was a problem and yes - you made a mistake but on the other hand you are willing and capable to compensate for it or make amends in some other way. This will show you off to be a well-meaning and ethical business, and that at the moment is what the public are looking for just as much as cost value.

I look forward to hearing your thoughts.

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