Find Your Match

Veenendall Find Your Match

When it comes to supply chain partnerships, there are many fish in the sea, so brands should not settle for anything less than a perfect match.

By Hans Veenendaal

Sooner or later, every relationship arrives at a point that fills partners with excitement or dread – defining the relationship.

Even relationships that are defined still require a status check every once in a while, forcing partners to reflect on success, how things are going and what each partner brings to the table. Brands must do the same, given much of their success is contingent on collaboration across multiple relationships. As digital transformation continues to heighten customer expectations – from seamless e-commerce experiences to two-day shipping – relationships with supply chain partners become even more important. Supply chain partners are the lifeblood of an optimized supply chain and can be the key to securing consumer satisfaction.

Despite cliches, when it comes to supply chain partnerships, there are many fish in the sea, so it's important brands not settle for anything less than a match made in heaven. To help brands determine whether their relationships are not just surviving, but truly thriving, there are a few questions they can ask to see if their supply chain partners are worthy of a long-term love story.

Do We Care About the Same Things?

Meant-to-be partnerships are grounded in a set of shared values. The best supply chain partner cares about what the brand cares about, which, by and large, is keeping the consumer happy by providing excellent customer service – especially along the digitally and consumer-driven 2018 supply chain. By understanding what brands are looking for, supply chain partner and brand goals can align and push one another forward. Healthy partnerships and quality customer service both rely on strong listening and communication, each of which the best supply chain partners can enable with cutting-edge offerings, such as e-commerce platforms equipped with self-service troubleshooting, 24/7 contact center solutions or reverse logistics that guarantee consumer satisfaction. For every question or concern that a consumer has, brands can rest easy knowing their partner takes care of it for them, keeping customers and companies happy alike. The perfect partner will make teamwork easy and second-nature for brands.

Are they working to keep things fresh?

Even supply chain partnerships need to spice things up sometimes. The best partnerships are borne from each partner working toward their best selves – meaning brands don╒t have to settle for what supply chain partners first bring to the table. The most forward-looking supply chain partners constantly keep their eyes on the horizon for new capabilities and technologies that they can introduce to existing customers to enhance operations. This proactivity helps brands stay on top of trends such as IoT, automation or machine learning – the implementation of which not only prove credibility in the market but can also enhance all aspects of the supply chain, from forward and reverse logistics to demand planning and user-friendly e-commerce platforms. By continually incorporating the most innovative solutions and services out there, supply chain partners can keep business opportunities fresh and improve their own value as partners.

Can they meet my changing needs?

Change is the ultimate test of compatibility in relationships. As new technologies continue to complicate and elongate the digital and physical supply chains, changing market needs are both inevitable and constant. To respond to these needs, brands need to adjust their go-to-market strategy rapidly – whether the goal is reaching new international consumers or integrating postponement for built-to-order products. The ultimate supply chain partner will already be aware of these demands and come equipped with the right offerings to enable the flexibility brands need to make changes. Global supply chain partners may offer solutions on an international scale that can shrink the last mile, expedite customization, optimize postponement and account for international e-commerce complexities – ensuring that when brands want to expand their footprint, they need look no further than the services already at their fingertips.

When brands find partners that they can change and grow with, it's safe to say they have found their supply chain soulmate. That meant-to-be supply chain partner will make sure strategy is never stale, business is always aligned and demands are met, not as separate businesses, but as a team. 

Hans Veenendaal is the chief commercial officer at ModusLink. He leads ModusLink's global sales, marketing and client management organizations with a focus on growing revenue and enhancing the company╒s market position as a trusted provider of highly integrated supply chain and logistics services to many of the world╒s leading brands.

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