Platform enabled ecosystem: The future of supply chain?
Platforms are on the verge of revolutionizing the Supply Chain. With increasingly more complex Supply Chains, the only way for CIOs, CFOs and Supply Chain managers to manage the entire process is by relying on the interconnection of value chains between different stakeholder.
What is the driving force behind the collaborative platform trend?
The Supply Chain has stepped into the collaborative platform era: an era that connects different stakeholders, platforms and applications mobilized throughout the distribution chain to create smooth-running operations, physical and information flows. This trend gets all stakeholders in the value chain involved, from industries to logistics service providers (3PL/4PL) and distributors. Thus, in order to tackle logistics processes that are increasingly more complex, companies in the sector have extensively invested in collaborative platforms. Various factors explain the driving force behind the collaborative platform revolution in the Supply Chain:
Increasingly demanding consumers. The rise of mobile internet has caused time and space to contract: to fulfill today’s “anything, anytime” demand, carriers and distributors need software that is capable of optimizing their Supply Chains so they can deliver orders quickly and at the lowest costs. To do this, they are relying increasingly more often on the capacities of their partners.
The arrival of new-comers on the market whose methods are turning conventional methods upside down. Today, Supply Chain companies must compete with online services that put shippers, logistics coordinators and road carriers in direct contact and in real time via platforms and SaaS models. As soon as the client and/or order becomes digitized, logistics must then be able to offer online digital services such as parcel tracking and appointment scheduling. These collaborators are not always equipped with the same service platform and some do not even use these types of tools at all. Thus, the difficulty lies in managing the interconnections between each platform and sharing your ecosystem with unequipped structures.
As a result of these new challenges, the digital transformation of companies has naturally become a strategic axis in the Supply Chain. Within this context, the platform revolution moves the traditional customer/supplier relationship towards a real collaborative approach— collaboration and pooling.
What benefits does a collaborative platform offer you?
Collaboration, today an essential step in the digital transformation of your company, has become vital if you expect to compete with increasingly more dynamic and connected competitors. Through this transformation, the design of the Supply Chain must be revisited: we can no longer work separate from our collaborators; rather we must create a real convergence by merging the processes. All this with increased productivity, agility, efficiency and a new customer experience in mind.
Using a collaborative platform offers you many opportunities for development:
- A significant reduction in costs and increased automation of processes. Merging all applications into a single SaaS platform guarantees companies will make significant savings. Aside from IT considerations, automating processes that were once manual and time-consuming allows collaborators to reach unparalleled levels of productivity.
- Improved communication among Supply Chain stakeholders. By providing continuous access to information, the collaborative platform injects life into the ecosystem made up of a company and its collaborators (vendors, carriers, etc.). Efficiency and reactivity are thus stronger than ever and companies can also ensure data is managed according to regulations.
- Significant strategic gains. A platform-enabled Supply Chain boosts collaboration and offers new opportunities to both companies and their customers to successfully undergo their digital transformation, to create a genuine partnership with vendors, to improve working capital, to improve customer experience by developing unique services… a competitive edge that adds to your brand standing.
What benefits for the stakeholders involved in this approach?
Broadening the horizon of your partners is beneficial for all parties involved in the collaborative platform, from Brands and distributors down to retailers.
- Brand-side, implementing a interactive ecosystem provides better visibility of sales so brands can optimize their production and adapt inventory based on distributors’ real needs. In addition to this added value we can throw in a reduction of regulatory risks and stockouts thanks to the reliability of the data exchanged.
- Distributors involved in this collaborative approach can optimize their distribution processes by setting up consumption and use strategies. Benefiting from the dynamic exchanges with their principal brands, they see a drastic reduction in their stockout rate and replenishment times. This increased efficiency gives them a greater margin of negotiation with their vendors.
- For retailers who sells to the end customers, who are ever more demanding, have access to a quick and powerful service that adapts to their needs. The free flow of information in the collaborative ecosystem means that distributors can offer products with better descriptions, uninterrupted availability and unbeatable prices. All this while benchmarking your performance in real time— an additional factor to customer satisfaction!
- The collaborative platform incorporates data integration and transformation fields but also the execution of physical flows, storage (supply, transport, warehouse management), collaboration and visibility of all stakeholders in every step of the Supply Chain.
- Deployed in the form of functional bricks, the ZONO Platform gives your company the freedom to subscribe only to the services it really needs, at the time it needs them and to adjust your consumption without having to worry about fluctuations in volumes. In short, a customized platform that changes with you to give you added flexibility.