Adaptivity The ModusLink Supply Chain Management Blog
In the 1990s and early 2000s, postponement—the practice of delaying customization of a product—helped many companies respond to the increasing demand for personalization while still driving efficient inventory management.
Sooner or later, everything old is new again—even supply chain strategies.
With this tactic, a company begins the manufacturing process in one location and sends a partially completed, generic product to another location to be further customized or finalized—delaying product completion until later in the supply chain when it is closer to the actual sale (and the consumer).
Brands and consumers often share a similar perspective when it comes to returns: it’s their least favorite part of the buying experience. Even brands with the best products must handle returns, but when it comes to supply chain and go-to-market strategy, returns are typically glossed over. Why is that?
A big piece of returns neglect is that the returns process is not most companies’ area of expertise. Today’s most competitive brands are laser-focused on developing and selling the next ground-breaking product. Few have perfected the returns process, never mind turned returns into a differentiator for their business. Preparing for the product to come back may feel less than productive, even like a failure—which is likely part of the reason returns have long been associated exclusively with loss.
Yet in today’s business landscape, the margin for error, efficiency or complacency is rapidly shrinking. Brands need a tight end-to-end supply chain that not only enables business goals but also meets evolving consumer expectations and buying behaviors.
Today’s brands are up against increasingly steep consumer expectations for immediacy. Companies need to get products in the hands of customers faster, more consistently and without incident (like a missing part)—lest their brand reputation suffer.
To meet these demands and stay competitive in their categories, companies are looking to supply chain innovation to optimize fulfillment.
After companies have secured a steady foothold in the domestic market, it’s time to consider the next strategic growth step: which, for many, is expanding the company’s reach globally.
With so much to gain, companies must make sure their business infrastructure is ready to scale—especially the supply chain.
Outsourcing supply chain management is a vital way for companies to ensure their business translates seamlessly on a global scale.
The benefits of real-time supply chain visibility are undeniable. A quick Google search for the phrase returns 50 million results, all of which seem to extol the virtues of real-time visibility for your entire supply chain.