E2open's Top 5 Supply Chain Trends for 2012
With 2012 right around the corner, supply chain managers are reviewing next year’s plans, fine-tuning strategies, making budgets and thinking about possible technology investments. To complete this laundry list before the New Year begins, it is important to have a forecast of what’s to come.
Below are Mark Woodward’s, CEO of E2open, list of the top five supply chain trends of 2012 to help supply chain managers prepare for what’s to come in the New Year.
1. Exceptions are the new normal – Factors beyond our control influence the supply chain- the economy, natural disasters, defective parts. Complete visibility into your supplier, and your supplier’s supplier, is required to respond and resolve issues as exceptions arise. As competition continues to raise the bar, this capability is not just an operational imperative for brand owners, it’s a strategic imperative. As competition continues to raise the bar, this capability is not just an operational imperative for brand owners, it’s a strategic imperative.
2. Shift from “planning is everything” to “execution is key”– The natural disasters that took place in 2011 taught us that no matter how much planning you do, execution is what pays the bills. In 2012, supply chain managers will focus more on strategies to ensure products are being delivered using real-time information, not yesterday’s plan. Collaborative execution is key to this approach.
3. Rapid resolutions driven from trading network partners – Excel spreadsheets don’t cut it for global supply chain networks. More companies will begin investing in technology that can help businesses communicate changes with their suppliers and partners for fast responses to changes in forecasts, orders, inventory and other key data points.
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4. Emphasis on big data –It’s about the continuous monitoring of trading networks. Don’t assume existing algorithms will automatically produce the right answer, if anything we have found that it’s about the people and knowledge in the networks to harness creativity and respond to unforeseen situations.
5. Convergence of digital and physical supply chains – Digital and Physical Supply Chains will continue to converge this year. Integrating the digital and physical supply chains will deliver faster, more efficient execution of products and services. Companies need a plan that considers both components.
Edited by Kevin Scarpati
Cainiao Network Launches Customer-Centric Logistics
As the logistics division of the Alibaba Group, Cainiao Smart Logistics Network has decided to provide its Southeast Asian customers with unsurpassed service during its annual shopping festival. Based on customer feedback surveys, the company will expand its real-time customer service support and speed up delivery times. ‘By expanding and deepening our services, we aim to provide a stronger logistics infrastructure that can bolster the booming eCommerce sector, support merchants’ expansion into new markets and diversify retail options for consumers’, said Chris Fan, Head of Cross-Border, Singapore, Cainiao Network.
Who Is Cainiao?
According to TIME Magazine, Cainiao ‘is far from a typical logistics firm’. The company controls an open platform that allows it to collaborate with 3,000 logistics partners and 3 million couriers. This means that merchants can choose the least expensive and most efficient shipping options, based on Cainiao’s real-time logistics analytics. The company’s goal is to ship packages anywhere in the world in under 72 hours—and for less than US$3.00.
For countless small business owners around the world, from coffee-growers to textile-weavers, this could change everything. Usually, it costs about US$100 to ship a DHL envelope from Shanghai to London in five days. Cainiao aims to change that. Said its CEO Wan Lin: ‘The biggest barrier to globalisation is logistics’.
What’s Part of the Upgrade?
Throughout the Tmall festival, Cainiao’s logistics upgrade will be divided into four critical segments:
- Real-time customer service support. Cainiao has launched a direct WhatsApp channel for customers to receive logistics updates and ask questions.
- Expansion of air freight parcel size and weight limits. Packages can now be up to 30 kilograms or 1-metre x 1.6 meters to help ship large items such as furniture.
- Daily air and sea freight connections. Shipping frequency will almost double to seven times weekly to maintain resilience and efficiency.
- Compensation for lost or damaged packages. Customers will be reimbursed up to RMB 2,000 (US$311).
Where is the Company Headed?
From June 1st to June 20th, the finale of Tmall, Cainiao will ensure that its customers feel confident in the company’s ability to deliver their packages. Despite global shipping delays due to COVID, the show will go on. Said Fan: ‘This series of customer-centric logistics upgrades reaffirms our goal of pursuing value-added services to enhance customers’ shopping experience while mitigating challenges posed by external factors’.
Furthermore, Cainiao has recently expanded its Southeast Asian operations, achieving revenue growth of 68% year-over-year. In Malaysia, the logistics operation has partnered with BEST Inc. and Yunda; in Singapore, the company has partnered with Roadbull, Park & Parcel, and the Singapore Post. And if its recent measures help retain and grow its customer base, the company will be well-poised to lead the industry in resilient and customer-centric global logistics. ‘COVID-19 made everyone realise how important the logistics infrastructure backbone is’, said Wan. ‘And it gave us a peek at what Cainiao should look like in three years’.