Mass Communication

Mass Customization

By Tony Donofrio

As consumers, our buying decisions increasingly center on logistics. We may use Amazon's Alexa to trigger shipment of everyday items such as paper goods and toiletries, or do all our holiday shopping online – freeing us from trips to the mall but also from wrapping, boxing and shipping gifts to far-flung friends and family.

Nearly every product is a commodity these days; competition for customers is no longer won with product alone. Service is critical. Already the norm for online retailers, this trend is now seen even with raw materials, parts and finished goods throughout the supply chain.

What makes it all possible is transportation management systems (TMS). Suppliers, manufacturers and retailers are using data in conjunction with apps, GPS and other tools to give customers increased visibility into the movement of goods to their doors.

Changing Dynamics

Changing Dynamics

By Shamanth Shankar

As a retailer, manufacturer and distributor, when we look at a product we also see the information that goes under the hood. Right product data not only powers delivering the right product at the right time to the right customer but also guides the customer throughout their purchasing lifecycle. From personalized marketing through a sale, managing product data is a key business objective for retailers, manufacturers and distributors.

Brian Monahan, co-founder and chief evangelist of NewCo, and former top marketer at Walmart.com says, “We grew sales by a couple of billion dollars powered by personalized marketing. It works.” Boston Retail Partners in its 2016 Special Report says, “As retailers are scaling up their digital strategy, ‘faux omnichannel model that doesn’t execute as promised and risks disappointing customers.” In A 5-Point Best Practice Process to Improve Product Data Accuracy, 1WorldSync states, “The persistent problem of inaccurate data shared between manufacturers and their trade customers is an enduring and significant problem that demands industry resolution.”

Agility web photo

Agility: The Foundation for Supply Chain Success

By Ajay Chidrawar

As we see more large retailers such as Macy’s and Sears shuttering their brick-and-mortar operations, it’s becoming increasingly clear that consumers’ shopping preferences have shifted. Customers now expect a unified, personalized and “see now, buy now” shopping experience. This reality, along with models like Amazon that offer customers the right product at the right price with direct-to-consumer shipping, is pushing retailers to focus more on e-commerce. In fact, according to Forrester Research, online sales in the United States are expected to reach $523 billion by 2020, a 56 percent increase from 2015.

Rethink Sourcing web photo

Onshoring Profits: Rethinking Sourcing Strategies

By Lisa Anderson

Seventy percent of manufacturing and distribution executives think near-sourcing strategies will increase in the next five years, according to LMA Consulting Group’s proprietary research study on outsourcing, insourcing and near-sourcing. This is a reversal of prior trends towards outsourcing. In our experience with clients across all sectors and sizes of manufacturing and logistics, this is not uncommon. Executives rushed to outsource, following the in-crowd and have realized that they need to evaluate before jumping off the deep end of the pool when they haven’t learned to swim.

Although executives noted on the survey that they jumped on the bandwagon to outsource with an eye on cost, they are re-evaluating. Several compelling factors are driving this re-assessment:

Room to Grow web photo

Manufacturers have significant room for supply chain improvement.

By Jeff French

These are exciting but uncertain times for manufacturers. They are optimistic about the prospects for lower corporate taxes, reduced government regulation and greater domestic production and job creation. But that optimism is tempered by talk of trade barriers, tariffs and border taxes, issues that could challenge their global supply chains.

Concerns about supply chain management represent the broader issues manufacturers face in today’s global economy — improving quality, increasing efficiency, cutting costs, speeding delivery and enhancing customer service.

These topics surfaced in a recent supply chain survey conducted by Grant Thornton LLP for the National Association of Manufacturers. Some 120 domestic manufacturers discussed the effectiveness of their supply chains, and ways they could innovate and improve the flow of goods from supplier to customer.

Spring Cleaning web photo

Three keys can bring your supply chain efficiency, prepare you for innovation and mark you as an industry leader.

By Vishy Visweswaran

With the shifting seasons, many consumers are renewing their commitment to the fresh, whole and sustainable foods that are trending within the food industry today. To best serve their needs, it is critical to take this season to “spring clean” your own supply chain protocols. Ensure this year’s supply chain practices help inspire innovation, promote transparency and manage unpredictability, as well as profitability.

From quick service and casual dining restaurants to institutional food service, a strong supply chain and well-developed risk management strategy can put you in the position to lead your category this season. These top three agenda items should be on your spring cleaning list for a quick and fruitful reboot this year:

Gartner Sping 2017 web photo

The Bimodal Supply Chain

Supply chains in the 21st century are faced with a wide range of complex issues. There has been an increase in risk levels, with data from supply chain intelligence provider Resilinc showing an 118 percent increase in disruptive supply chain events from 2014 to 2015. Meanwhile, companies are also having to meet the needs of ever more demanding consumers, with 24-hour delivery now expected.

In order to meet these challenges, supply chains must be faster and more responsive if they are to retain a competitive edge. However, many organizations’ supply chain technologies and processes are simply not capable of supporting the necessary level of risk and response management to operate in this world, and the gap between what the supply chain provides and the requirements of the enterprise is only widening. Even companies traditionally held up as shining examples of best practice like Dell and McDonald’s are having to radically update their supply chain processes to remain viable. It is no longer enough to be efficient, they need to innovate too, integrating disruptive technologies such as Internet of Things (IoT) and artificial intelligence to avoid being left behind.

RICHMOND EVENTS web photo

Richmond Events’ supply chain forums enable suppliers to easily develop relationships with senior-level industry practitioners.

For 27 years, Richmond Events has been leading the B2B conference world in most every vertical imaginable. It’s no different for the upcoming Logistics & Supply Chain Forums.

Apart from the fact that The Logistics & Supply Chain Forum is held at a luxury resort, one of the reasons it is so different from other industry events is Richmatch. This is the proprietary piece of software at the heart of the appointment system. It is the most sophisticated system of its kind in the industry.

All participants – whether they are delegates, speakers or suppliers– follow an agenda that they themselves have chosen in advance. All attendees decide with whom they wish to meet, and which conference sessions they wish to attend. This happens several weeks before the event. This information is then processed and personalized itineraries are formulated.

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