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How Social Media Can Be Used To Enhance Your Supply Chain

Using social media to improve your supply chain management and efficiency

12Jan

On the face of it, Social Media is pretty far removed from the world of supply chain (aside from obviously being a potential distraction for employees). However, look just below the surface and it's a buzzing hub that those working in supply chain management need to be aware of and utilize extensively. In an interview with Dovetail, Adrian Gonzalez, founder and president of Adelante SCM, even when so far as to state that 'social media can - and should - play a central role in supply chain management. After all, social networking is not really about socializing, but about facilitating people-to-people communication and collaboration.'

In the modern world where IoT reigns supreme, digital technology is a massively important business initiative, meaning faster execution and responsiveness for businesses. Sharing, engagement, immediacy, and transparency are vital to discussions about the supply chain, all enhanced by using Social Media effectively. Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and the many more channels out there are an unrivaled resource that allows access to increasing rates and volumes of information key to an organizations success.

Better Communication with Consumers

According to a survey by Adweek, 88% of US businesses are using social media in some capacity for marketing and communication purposes. When a business sets up a social media base they immediately have an instant, relevant and easy-to-use way of communicating with and understanding their customer base. This helps them to identify and predict product demand, with analysis of the unstructured textual data providing a gauge of the buzz around a new product. You can gauge from this how popular it will be, where demand will be high, and the demographic who will look to purchase it, and adjust supply accordingly.

Increasing Visibility Of Your Supply Chain

A modern customer with heightened concerns about things such as sustainability and ethics demands absolute transparency from organizations and their supply-chains. Social Media is an incredibly easy way to increase the visibility of your businesses supply chain to reassure and connect with your customer base.

Better Relationships With Your Supply Chain

It can be difficult to communicate effectively with the many organizations that comprise your supply chain and often it's hard to keep everyone properly informed. Social networking is an effective solution to this problem, allowing you to stay in touch in real time, thereby driving improved efficiency and increased productivity. It means that collaboration with partners is easier, and allows for transparency in a group conversation. Social media can be used to track logistical updates, monitor progress and share data and knowledge with your supply chain, and improve your relationship with the various groups. The improved communication can improve productivity, with organizations not waiting for you to get in contact via email or another method, time can be used more efficiently, reducing labor hours throughout the supply chain. Speaking to Dovetail, Tony Martins, VP of Supply Chain and TEVA Canada pointed out that 'the speed of the chain is not really related to the systems used by various companies - it's all about people, and people talking to people.' Improving relationships and communication with your supply chain will inevitably speed up your processes and ensure the success of your business.

Sourcing New Links For Your Supply Chain

Social Media can be enormously helpful for you to find new talent for your supply chain. With access to millions of potential suppliers, LinkedIn is probably the most helpful social media site for scouting out new organizations and individuals, as you can look for the skills required and are not limited by geography.

Potential For Innovation

Social networking can solve existing problems in your supply chain management by obtaining knowledge, collective insight and expertise of employees across all level of enterprise. It can also aid in generating more effective ideas for improving supply chain processes. Better communication with those in the industry will give invaluable insights that you can use to streamline your business.

Effective Measurement

Supply-chain management relies on metrics like accuracy, fill-rate, and on-time delivery to provide the needed information about how well jobs are done. But these statistics don't give a holistic view of the customer service that has been delivered. Social Media can be used to generate the data that will give insight into the rounder picture - valuable knowledge for managing your supply chain. 

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