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Written by Dave Food

Reimagine Business with Flexible Supply Chain Thinking

How are adaptive organizations leveraging disrupting circumstances caused by the pandemic? Flexible supply chain thinking may be a solution.

thinking supply chain

Being more elastic and developing a flexible oriented mind-frame can help us see different angles of the same disrupting events. Then you begin seeing problems as challenges, and figure out new possibilties to move forward. This proactive thinking will permeate our lives, organizations, employees, customers, suppliers, technology and much more.

The most remarkable and disruptive changes of tomorrow will demand a total shift in how we figure out current issues and challenges, such as how we perform tasks, how we activate change, how do we innovate new propositions, how we identify the technology we apply in our businesses, and which resources we can leverage.

Below are ideas of proactive ways to practice flexible supply chain thinking:

Do you think you can predict customers’ behavior? Predictive Logistics is there to support you. It is an approach concentrating on your customer’s buying trends, searches, and demographic features and places the product nearer to them by predicting their requirements before they do, as Amazon is currently doing, putting the product required more closely to the consumer in advance. You need flexible supply chain.

Offer your clients a Business to Customer experience – the B2C approach has the customer in mind. Your business can add another version of your services, just like Airbnb that offers specific standards for travellers, business travellers, travelling packages, locations with Wi-Fi, a working space, self-check-in or cancellation policies. This flexible approach to doing business will make your brand more attractive.

Try going the extra mile to surprise your hotel guest with an excellent present, a positive reception message, or a replica of a local art craft box to deliver your hotel bracelet. These are examples of the 101% customer service that Ken Blanchard talks about in his book Raving Fans.

Turn your products into appealing experiences as Starbucks does. It transformed the coffee market by developing a simple product, coffee, into a whole customer’s experience, making you feel cosy when adding your name to the cup and providing you with Wi-Fi and a comfortable experience.

Automate your goods and services and offer your products through unmanned stores, as several shopping or convenience stores do. For example, hotels count on self-service reception desks or Banks deliver services without the need for human attendance.

Make Cloud your ally, track personal data generated by your customer’s behavioural activity. Use trackers to combine Big Data management with other tools and correlate the information to give users insights into their activities.

Add Artificial Intelligence to your services. Companies use AI for many reasons; they benefit from workers taking extra time to attend to customers’ claims, trying to give them a satisfactory answer.  AI solves these issues automatically, gaining time to please customers.

Education about process flexibility in supply chains

There are plenty of things to re-think around Education; for instance, learning a new language can be reframed into bite-size modules, making activities quick, fun, and rewarding, shorter-easy-mini lessons to avoid long-boring ones. Your brand can do that and more!

What if your customers could customize each feature of your product or service and personalise it considering their preference on shape, color, or texture, whilst getting lower prices, producing it cheaper and delivering it free of charge.  Online stores allow a member to do that, giving entrance to mass customisation.

The implementation of ‘voice’ to interact with users will become a virtual interface among humans and machines, like Siri or Google Assistant, now a mass-market service helping users in their daily lives.

You can offer a bank account at every location and accept payments in all currencies, charging minimal fees or none; it can be opened online everywhere in the world. It is being flexible!

An elastic network to the top! – What can you do to help the trans-national individual become a citizen of the world, the so-called ‘digital nomad’? – An increasing number of individuals moves from country to country – for work, visiting, or simply touring—hundreds of third-party broadenings yours and their communication platform.

Leverage external providers into your service delivery and extension – Have you thought about other organisations integrating their services into yours and allowing them access to your group of users? Both parties enriching and enhancing the brands, adding the best each one has.

Why not go global? – Take advantage of information systems and technologies keeping the world interconnected, creating a parallel digital world, now a process offered at a bit of cost. More and more brands are currently global, virtually stretching every country worldwide; for instance, Netflix is producing and distributing content practically to every corner of the planet, becoming a successful social reality.

Decentralising your company – You can decentralise transportation by car-sharing services which move more users in collaborative rides; leasing your assets, like your house or rooms, machinery, offices, the way Airbnb, Uber and many others started.  What about P2P capabilities of shared spaces and services, such as Logistics as a Service? Flexible thinking supply chain can take you to the other side of your economic disruptions.

There are multiple ways to tackle these disrupting times. But keep in mind to do it by being elastic, with a flexible-oriented sense.

Do you look at disruption as a failure or a challenge? What steps will you take to transform your business’s current state into a new possibility? Check out supply chain planning training!

Dave Food is an innovative educator, consultant and advocate for innovative and disruptive supply chain thinking. He divides his time between educating and inspiring future leaders, his business and consulting. His focus is on developing a core purpose for all involved, to transform supply chains, leadership and businesses for the greater good, both locally and globally.

Dave Food

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