Supply chains & cloud: A natural fit to understanding the individual consumer

One misstep in the supply chain can have an immediate impact on the way consumers view a brand. And considering the many different options consumers have in making their purchasing choices, one little blip in their experience can make all the difference in generating a loyal customer versus one who turns to your competitors.

An integrated supply chain has become vital to not only meeting consumer demand but exceeding customer expectations. To achieve this, more and more manufacturers are looking to the cloud to make an integrated supply chain a reality for their business.

Putting the supply chain on a cloud-based platform enables instant, real-time visibility across all of your value chain participants with one single connection. The integration of ERP and legacy systems to unite all parties — vendors and suppliers–  around a single version of the truth allows companies to see their own data as well as the data generated from their partners.

From cost and currency fluctuations to supply disruptions , transportation capacity constraints and production recalls – these are the daily challenges of the supply chain. Manufacturers must learn to handle all of this volatility, and more, in a transparent manner.  And clearly, it’s no longer enough to build supply chains that are efficient, demand-driven and transparent. Now, they must also be flexible, real-time, and smart.

Moving supply-chain management into the cloud can make companies more agile. The cloud creates a natural space for companies to collaborate. Supply-chain applications in the cloud would make it a lot easier for companies to add and subtract from a network of suppliers, making them more competitive.

As supply chains grow more global and interconnected, they increase their exposure to shocks and disruptions. The demand for supply chain speed only exacerbates the problem. Even minor missteps can have major consequences in these increasingly complex networks — making it increasingly difficult to respond to challenges, especially with conventional supply chain strategies and designs.

Today, many manufacturers are turning to Managed Service Providers (MSPs) to develop a cloud-based supply chain network that can provide better visibility and collaboration at a lower cost.

With a cloud-based supply chain, manufacturers can now benefit more from globalization. For example, increased visibility from an always on, always connected supply chain will help companies identify and eliminate global delivery and quality problems.

And, decisions about manufacturing locations and suppliers will no longer be dominated by a single cost element like labor. Cloud-based supply chains will have the analytic capability to evaluate supply, manufacturing and distribution alternatives, and then the flexibility to reconfigure as conditions change.

Analytics also can help manufacturers optimize cloud-based supply chains and improve business efficiency. In addition to saving costs, analytics can uncover insights and trends that manufacturers can use to better serve customers, locally and globally.

And it’s this analytic insight that can reveal trends marketers can use to better serve customers, as well as ensure products featured on their Web sites are kept in stock – ensuring a positive shopping experience for the individual consumer.

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