Oliver Wight Highlights Importance of Supply Chain Excellence
June 19 and 20 marked the 14th European Supply Chain and Logistics Summit, sponsored by Oliver Wight. The event was held at Berlin’s luxurious Maritim Hotel, with over 650 delegates and suppliers packing the location to discuss the most recent global supply chain developments.
Keynote speaker Stewart Kelly – a partner at Oliver Wight – spoke to over 120 senior supply chain executives from the US, Europe and Asia during his presentation titled, “Supply Chain Excellence – Why it’s Now Business Critical.”
“Supply chain optimization is an absolute necessity as we face up to a double dip recession, and supply chains are drained and struggling to meet performance requirements,” he says. Easier said than done, he admitted, adding, “Processes need to be excellent and that’s not easy. In fact it’s an astonishing statistic that 75% of businesses struggle to deploy their strategy because they just don’t have adequate processes in place.”
Kelly points to the importance of giving due consideration to who your customers and suppliers are. An emphasis on organization from the ground up is also of the utmost importance.
“You begin with the market and product strategy, which defines the supply chain strategy and in turn, the supply and logistics strategies,” he says. “The supply chain design flows from this.”
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While considering customer and supplier relationships, Kelly says every supply chain manager must recognize “power players” throughout the supply chain, acting accordingly during business transactions.
“If you have an 800 lb gorilla in your supply chain, it will determine whether you move forwards or backwards along the supply chain on your improvement journey,” he says, “and you need to confront that before you can begin to build closer relationships with customers and suppliers.”
Concluding his presentation, Kelly highlighted the importance of remaining agile in a way that best serves the customer, resulting in cost effective strategies, and segmenting supply chain responses.
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’.