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Don’t let your Physical Supply Chain get Left in the Dust

Don't let your Physical Supply Chain get Left in the Dust

We all like new gadgets. Whether it’s the latest phone or the fanciest car or the smartest smartwatch, we love having the newest and flashiest device on the market. And this isn’t limited to our personal devices – companies also love being on the cutting edge, implementing the newest and smartest technologies their industry has to offer. This is particularly noticeable in the supply chain industry. From IoT-enabled systems that can track inventory to e-commerce technologies that enhance a company’s online presence to robots that handle activities on the factory floor, the supply chain industry has been transforming.

As exciting as these new and developing technologies may be, however, there are risks associated with such rapid innovation, especially when it comes to ensuring that your core supply chain functionalities continue to receive the attention they need to perform successfully. With the rapid e-commerce and IoT boom, there are more tools available for supply chain teams than ever before, meaning most are innovating at breakneck speeds. But brands must remember that in order to reap the full benefits of these solutions, they must not forget about what’s supporting them: the physical supply chain.

Imagine you’ve just implemented a new e-commerce tool that completely revamps your brand’s digital presence and capabilities, including allowing you to immediately sell internationally. Great, right? This is a huge opportunity to grow your business. Until you take a step back and realize your physical supply chain – everything from your shipping methods to picking and packing capabilities, all the way down to your product packaging – is not equipped to handle international orders or accept worldwide currencies. Now you’ve lost precious time and money on a system that you’re unable to implement.

To avoid such situations, brands must be sure to think of their physical supply chain throughout the process, taking into account strengths and weaknesses, and evaluating where it is and is not realistic to improve and expand capabilities. To rapidly capitalize on market expansion and e-commerce opportunities, brands should evaluate capabilities of an end-to-end supply chain provider that can take on some of the added responsibility, before investing in a new solution or market strategy.

An important note to remember: the only thing worse than being slow to innovate is innovating too quickly and delivering a subpar customer experience. Thinking about the physical supply chain first will allow brands to have a better understanding of their capabilities, as well as where they thrive and where they need to improve, allowing them to make more informed decisions about new solutions and ultimately to reap the full benefits of whatever new innovation they’re pursuing.

Just as people get excited about new personal devices, it can be easy for brands to get caught up in the newest technology solutions available to them. But brands must remember that, as with most other things, technology is not always a quick fix, and solutions generally cannot stand alone. Instead, brands must think critically about their needs and evaluate their existing capabilities. Here at ModusLink, physical supply chain solutions are our bread and butter, and many customers use us to supplement their physical supply chains where they’re weakest. Learn more here.

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