2016: the year of the seller and how businesses can increase productivity even further in 2017
Ian Smith, General Manager, Invu discusses our previous article on 2016 being the year of the seller and how businesses can increase productivity even further in 2017
2016 was indeed the year of the seller and Amazon has helped many growing businesses to achieve more than 100 percent growth in sales. At the end of 2016 many SME’s were hit with the biggest retail weekend of the year with Black Friday, followed by Cyber Monday.
Packaging and shipping orders can be demanding but there are also major purchasing challenges. These include the control of, and visibility of over spending, as well as the amount of time and human resources consumed by the process; the ordering and then receiving and paying for goods and services. Maintaining a balance between control, visibility and efficiency is a critical success factor in the purchasing process.
In 2017, the time (human resources) consumed by the process of ordering, receiving and paying for goods and services will be decreased by the digitalisation of documents. Savvy businesses should look more at how they can take their whole business forward and benefit from the sophistication of the digitalisation of documents.
There are many more benefits digitalisation will bring than just “digital documents”. Daily functions such as opinions will be driven and underpinned by data. The ‘keep everything’ culture will move to a ‘keep only what I need’ as computer space will be freed up as people begin to see the benefits of central rather than local document storage. Cloud technology will no longer be considered just ‘nice to have’, it is becoming the norm for IT departments for all businesses. Even mid-size companies are moving towards Infrastructure-as-a-Service.
When technology becomes more developed our human input is reduced, particularly at an administrative level. As these trends develop and become more accepted, document digitalisation will help businesses to save time and frustration whilst increasing productivity through busy periods such as those of upcoming festive seasons.
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Pandora and IBM digitise jewellery supply chain
Pandora has overhauled its global supply chain in partnership with IBM amid an ecommerce sales boom for its hand-finished jewellery.
The company found international success offering customisable charm bracelets and other personalised jewellery though its chain of bricks and mortar retail destinations. But in 2020, as the COVID-19 outbreak forced physical stores to close, Pandora strengthened its omnichannel operations and doubled online sales.
A focus on customer experience included deploying IBM’s Sterling Order Management, increasing supply chain resiliency and safeguarding against disruption across the global value chain.
Pandora leverages IBM Sterling Order Management as the backbone it its omnichannel fulfilment, with Salesforce Commerce Cloud powering its ecommerce. Greater automation across its channels has boosted the jeweller’s sustainability credentials, IBM said, streamlining processes for more efficient delivery. It has also given in-store staff and virtual customer service representatives superior end-to-end visibility to better meet consumer needs.
Jim Cruickshank, VP of Digital Development & Retail Technology, Pandora, said the digital transformation journey has brought “digital and store technology closer together and closer to the customer”, highlighting how important the customer journey remains, even during unprecedented disruption.
"Our mission is about creating a personal experience and we've instituted massive platform changes with IBM Sterling and Salesforce to enable new digital-first capabilities that are much more individualised, localised and connected across channels and markets,” he added.
Pandora’s pivot to digital
The pandemic forced the doors closed at most of Pandora’s 2,700 retail locations. To remain competitive, it pivoted to online retail. Virtual queuing for stores and virtual product trials via augmented reality (AR) technology went someway to emulating the in-store experience and retail theatre that is the brand’s hallmark. Meanwhile digital investments in supply chain efficiency was central to delivering on consumer demand.
“Consumer behaviour has significantly shifted and will continue to evolve with businesses needing to quickly adapt to new preferences and needs,” said Kareem Yusuf, General Manager, AI Applications and Blockchain, IBM. “To address this shift, leading retailers like Pandora rely on innovation to increase their business agility by enabling and scaling sustainable supply chain operations using AI and cloud.”
Yusuf said Pandora’s success was indicative of how to remain competitive by “finding new ways to create differentiated customer experiences that protect their enterprises from disruptions to help mitigate risk and accelerate growth”.