May 17, 2020

Multiple suppliers: holistic rather than isolated

Supply Chain
multiple suppliers
product suppl
Freddie Pierce
3 min
multiple suppliers
By George Davies, CEO, MooD International Client outsourcing is changing. There is a move away from the one-supplier model to a ‘best of breed. T...

By George Davies, CEO, MooD International

Client outsourcing is changing. There is a move away from the one-supplier model to a ‘best of breed’.

This new multi-supplier approach offers clients flexibility and efficiency but presents a new level of complexity - how do companies best manage the increased numbers of ‘moving parts’ that need to work together to achieve the necessary business outcomes?

How can each supplier be clear on their contribution to those business outcomes? And then, who and how is the ‘white space’ between and across suppliers actively managed to reduce business risk? 

George Davies.jpg

Access to dynamic and up-to-the-minute information across a range of business functions is critical to managing complex contracts and limiting risk.

Supply chains span the globe and a disruption to one part, whether due to loss of production or rise in material costs, can clearly impact product supply on the other side of the world.

The key to managing this complex interplay of factors is having technology which ties the inputs of suppliers into the overall business outcomes of the organisation. No business unit works in isolation; finance affects operations, marketing affects production demand. It is essential to take a holistic view of the business, rather than viewing each unit in isolation.

By linking business processes to the key data of an organisation, the outcomes and effect of any changes can be managed, thus offering suppliers the opportunity to show they are at the sharp end of delivery and give clients confidence that they can manage risk when moving their business from a single big supplier to multiple specialist providers.

When multiple suppliers are then tightly coupled with the outcomes and capabilities sought after; resource, cost and timeline can be completely understood by both supplier and client alike and managed accordingly.

As businesses look to become more agile and respond more quickly to market demands, this brings another challenge for suppliers. In the global environment companies are looking to expand into new markets and want to partner with suppliers who can cope and respond to changes quickly.

To respond to changes it is first important to know the current situation and to benchmark this position. Only then is it possible to know what must be done to achieve the desired business outcomes.

And it’s not enough to have narrow metrics in SLAs, if innovation is one of the aims of an outsourcing agreement then this too must be brought into the agreement.

The truly innovative outsourcing relationships are now going one step beyond what is happening now and into causal modelling, looking at what will happen if one part of the supply chain is changed and the effect this will have on the other parts of the business.

As outsourcing moves beyond the old ‘mess for less’ model, the idea of partnership becomes ever more important. Clients and suppliers must work together to ensure the best business outcomes. An open and ongoing dialogue between all parties is necessary to make sure that each gets the best results from the outsourcing relationship.

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Jun 21, 2021

Pandora and IBM digitise jewellery supply chain

2 min
Jewellery retailer Pandora teamed with IBM to streamline supply chains as sales of hand-finished jewellery doubled across ecommerce platforms

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”. 

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