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Managing a Customer Centric Supply Chain Managing a Customer Centric Supply Chain

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Numerous supply chain disruptions are driving the push for supply chain professionals to hone new skill sets. Analytics skills wrapped around a better use of data, for example, are now essential for any supply chain manager to possess. Some of the main disruptors affecting the customer centric supply chain include drastic changes around talent management, technology and consumers’ needs and expectations. We’ve identified at least three impacting companies.

Talent Management

The ability to acquire and manage talent is critical. In an age of rapidly changing demographics, however, it can be a bit more of a challenge. Having a solid understanding of the people you’re trying to recruit and retain is the first step in ensuring that all runs smoothly across the supply chain.

Technology and the Use of Data to Drive Insights

Technology is the most influential disruptor in supply chain management today. While a plethora of sophisticated technology continues to be developed, it is of no use if the data it collects cannot elicit valuable data analytics that drive business insights. You want to be sure that more of your time is spent interpreting the data versus spending time gathering and reporting on data. This can be achieved by purchasing a cost-effective tool that can swiftly turn big data into actionable information. Beyond the tool, the most critical element is developing the right analytics talent. 

The ideal platform does all of the following:

• Captures data through new and flexible technologies,
• Makes useful data rapidly available to customers and stakeholders,
• Provides a clear view of inventory and supply chain activity,
• Helps create responsive supply chains, and
• Creates a connected and skills analytics team.

The Now Economy

Technology advancements over the past 20 years have created what we have come to know as the “now economy.” This makes customers digitally savvier, less patient, and used to having near infinite options available to them.

Consumers want end-to-end transparency, which means supply chain managers have to ensure that there’s more visibility going into each step of their logistics operation. The better this is executed, the greater the chance of succeeding in the marketplace. There are now a number of tools available to provide more visibility, more data and more frequent updates, including tools developed here at Ryder.

While the disruptors we just mentioned - among many others - are making supply chain logistics more challenging, they’ve also managed to create fertile ground to leverage innovation and opportunities as a competitive advantage. Whether that involves developing new capabilities to manage the customer-centric supply chain in-house, or by partnering with a third party that has already developed those capabilities, the new supply chain will require talent, innovative solutions and supply chain managers with new skills to turn disruptive trends into a strategic benefit.

This article was originally published by Supply Chain Management Review.
Technology is the most influential disruptor in supply chain management today.
Gary Allen is Vice President of Supply Chain Excellence at Ryder System, Inc. Mr. Allen for leading sales support and operational excellence functions across Ryder including new offer development, solutions design, program management, quality management and re-engineering disciplines. He has more than 25 years of experience in supply chain management, logistics outsourcing and professional services. Mr. Allen's areas of expertise range from process improvement, logistics outsourcing, new product development, business transformation, systems selection/implementation, operational due diligence, business performance improvement and overall supply chain strategy.